“Back From the Dead” by Halestorm (Atlantic)
Lzzy Hale, the lead singer and guitarist for the heavy metal band Halestorm, is that rare breed of wild child whose path you cross at your own peril, and her aggressiveness soaks through her music.
The band’s new album, “Back From the Dead,” is not for the faint of heart, or anyone with even a trace of a headache: it’s a full-on sonic assault of screams, wailing guitars, pounding drums and booming bass.
And yet Hale manages to pull it off with a deft songwriting touch and a surprising sense of melody that belies the bombast.
The title track is the band’s likely concert opener on this summer’s tour, and begins with a roar (as many of Hale’s songs do.) She’s got a great scream, and she’s not afraid to use it, multiple times, on most songs.
Yet she actually has a beautiful singing voice that can tend to get overlooked amid the shrieks. The ballads “Terrible Things” and “Raise Your Horns” feature her tender, sultry vocals that are 180 degrees from many of her other vocals, particularly those on “Wicked Ways.”
“I Come First” sounds at first blush like a brilliant double-entendre. But there’s only one entendre at work here; the song is about exactly what you think it is.
“The Steeple” is an infectious anthem/ode to the fans, a made-for-the-concert-hall singalong with lines like “This is my church, and these are my people.”
And try as I might not to see it, Hale looks a LOT like Twisted Sister’s Dee Snider on cover of an album that will definitely be in the running for the best hard rock/metal album of the year.