Halestorm has become one of hard rock's more successful bands, and they have paid their dues to get to where they are. They have toured relentlessly over the past decade, and in between studio albums have issued numerous EPs along with a live album. Each album has done better than its predecessor. Their sophomore release, 2012's The Strange Case Of… spawned their first number one single and they won a Grammy award. 2015's Into The Wild Life had four top ten singles, including two chart-toppers and the album was their first to land in the top five of the Billboard 200 chart. This all leads to heightened expectations for Vicious, their fourth studio album.
This time around, they worked with producer Nick Raskulinecz. He has a great track record, having worked with everyone from Alice In Chains and Korn to Mastodon, Evanescence, and Ghost. This is the first full-length original Halestorm album he's produced, but he also worked with the band on last year's covers EP ReAniMate 3.0.
It's a very catchy collection of hard rock/pop metal songs. They don't stray far from the path they've blazed on previous albums, but it's a formula that has worked extremely well for them. Lzzy utilizes some different vocal patterns on tracks like “Skulls” and “Conflicted” that add some variety without straying too far from their trademark style.
Vicious is not a quantum leap, but it is a step forward for Halestorm as they continue to refine and hone their songwriting with another batch of well crafted and memorable songs. Even without many risks, there are plenty of rewards as they continue to establish themselves as one of hard rock's elite.