First Listen: Halestorm’s New Album, ‘Into the Wild Life’

Jon Wiederhorn
Writer
Yahoo Music

The third full-length album by Halestorm, Into the Wild Life, isn’t a natural progression from the Pennsylvania hard rock band’s breakthrough last album, The Strange Case Of…, which featured the hits “I Miss the Misery,” “Love Bites (So Do I),” and “Here’s to Us” and earned the band a 2013 Grammy for Best Hard Rock/Metal Performance.

No, Into the Wild Life is a different beast altogether, one that forsakes everything that has worked for Halestorm thus far (slick production, traditional songwriting arrangements, a radio-ready mix of rockers and ballads) and takes a leap into the unknown.

“In a lot of ways, what we ended up doing on this record was throwing away everything that made us comfortable and that made sense for us as a rock band,” brassy yet chummy frontwoman Lzzy Hale tells Yahoo Music. “We used a new producer [Jay Joyce], recorded in a new town [Nashville], and approached the music with a new mindset.”

Musically, Into the Wild Life covers plenty of ground. Halestorm explores classic rock, metal, folk, chain-gang blues, anything that inspires it, with little concession to what anyone expects. “We trusted ourselves on this record to just go with what we wanted to write when we wanted to write it,” Hale says. “We felt this needed to be our shake-up record, and not because of any type of success we’ve had. Mentally, as a band, we just feel like we’re at that point in time. We’ve been a foursome for 12 years, and 90 percent of the time we’re touring. Now that we’ve had some success we said, ‘Why not run with who we are and err on the side of performance and expressing the human element and making moments and chasing after whatever makes us excited from song to song?’ We wanted to do that much more than aim for perfection and creating lists of songs for radio airplay. It was a bit of a risk, but we’re really glad that we did it. That’s what was needed personally for us as a band.”

The risk of following its instincts has paid off. From the angular, aggressive attack of the metallic “Mayhem” to the plangent piano and aching vocals of the ballad “Dear Daughter” — from the brash, confrontational anthem “Sick Individual” to the offbeat church choir-flavored blues rock of “Amen,” Halestorm has taken conventional radio rock and turned it on its head. Challenging and eclectic, but too catchy to ignore, Into the Wild Life is a spirited and slightly reckless release from a seasoned rock band that has learned the rules only to willfully break them.

Yahoo Music is thrilled to present the international premiere of Halestorm’s Into the Wild Life.