Halestorm unleashes a turbulent torrent of infectious hard rock on their self-titled Atlantic debut. The band-guitarist Joe Hottinger, bassist Josh Smith, drummer Arejay Hale and singer/guitarist Lzzy Hale-churn out uncompromising rock n' roll anthems. Drawing from an arsenal of songs that she's penned since she was 13, Lzzy examines love and life on the edge.
Lzzy and her brother Arejay formed Halestorm in 1998 while in middle school. They immediately began playing local shows and garnered a following across Pennsylvania. The band line-up was solidified with the addition of Joe and Josh. Further honing their sound, Halestorm began showcasing for labels in 2005. Lzzy explains, "We were doing a show at Don Hill's in NYC. Don Hill himself loved the show and asked us to come back on a regular basis to help us build a buzz in the area. It was snowing hard in New York on the coldest night of the year when Atlantic Records first saw us perform. From there it was only a matter of time until we solidified our relationship, and put ink to paper."
Halestorm signed with Atlantic and released the live EP, One and Done. The band immediately hit the road, touring with Shinedown, Seether, Flyleaf, and Trapt. Playing more than a thousand gigs, they cultivated a captivating live show, while appearing on various festivals and the annual Sno-Core tour.
In 2008, Halestorm entered a Los Angeles studio to record their debut album with Grammy-nominated producer Howard Benson (Three Days Grace, Flyleaf, My Chemical Romance) and mixer Chris Lord-Alge (Underoath, AFI, Green Day). The album's a fiery flurry, and Lzzy describes the bandâ€™s sound best: "It's powerful rock'n'roll. We have a lot of classic rock influences, but the music never feels dated. It's got an old school feeling with a modern edge."
The record's first single, "I Get Off," blends a sexy hook with a rough and tumble groove. "On that song," says Lzzy, "I reach outside of myself and explore sexuality. It also has this crazy metaphor of me getting off on the crowd getting off on me."
Lzzy casts a hypnotic spell on stage. Drawing from influences as diverse as Pat Benatar, Janis Joplin, and Metallica, she has a dark sensuality that's undeniable. Her sultry side comes through on the moody "Familiar Taste of Poison." "That track is an amazing journey for me," she explains. "It's very low key, but it's a bit of a performance piece. It shows a different side of this band."
Lzzy's dynamic voice cuts across genre boundaries. "I approach my timing and singing like a blues singer," she says. "I'm very influenced by blues and soul. For me, it's always about making sure I have feeling in my voice." The soaring standout, "Bet U Wish U Had Me Back," highlights Lzzy's range as her voice oscillates from a sultry croon to a massive hook.
She exudes that feeling on stage and in the studio, because she's not afraid to be herself. She laughs, "As a kid, when a lot of my friends were into Backstreet Boys, I attached myself to Alice Cooper, Cinderella, and Van Halen. I want to give the audience a ride and connect with them."
Ultimately that connection will be tangible, because Lzzy and co. were meant to be in a rock band. "My brother and I were very fortunate to know what we wanted to do at an early age. When I was 13 and he was 10, we got together and wrote five songs. We wanted to be in a band together, we wanted to make music, and that was it. Everything came second to that."
In the end, that philosophy will ensure Halestorm's longevity. "This album has been a long time coming," says Lzzy. "There's been a lot of dirty work that went into making it. Creatively, we went to rock'n'roll college through the experience. It was crazy, raw, down and dirty. Our blood, sweat, and tears went into this thing."