Review of ‘Back From The Dead’ by Halestorm

Ryan Murray | Co-owner | Chief Editor | Contributor

Grammy-winning hard rock band Halestorm is set to release their latest work, and I wasn’t ready for the power and emotion that “Back From the Dead” invokes.

Halestorm came screaming onto the scene in 1998. Not only did they quickly become an icon in the hard rock world, but they created a world where fans could come as they are. Halestorm has consistently gone against the grain, and has been tearing down walls of division while always staying true to themselves in the process.

“Back From the Dead”, the follow up to their fourth studio release “Vicious”, sees Lzzy digging deeper than ever before. Clawing her way through some of the darkest times of Covid lockdown, Lzzy decided to use music as she used to – as a way to get her through the misery and isolation she was feeling during these very dark times. The result of that deep dive is “Back From the Dead”

While Halestorm has always been far from dead, this album sees the band in an even stronger light that they’ve grown into throughout these last two years, and is their way of saying “We’re back!” As a result of being thrown into the heart of lockdowns and a global pandemic, this album is empowering, in your face, really heavy, and most importantly, a relentless anthem to all of those who have been silenced, ignored, hated, and demoralized by the hate that is spreading faster and faster as the days go on.

In a press release, Hale states about the album that it’s “a journey of navigating mental health, debauchery, survival, redemption, rediscovery and still maintaining faith in humanity.”

Not only are Hale’s vocals stronger than ever, you can feel the pain and emotion pouring out of her, whether in her powerhouse moments or even in her softer moments. Very few hard rock singers bring to the table what Hale’s vocals are capable of, but this album sees, for me, her best and most dynamic performance to date. Whether belting out at the top of her lungs during the heavier parts of the album, to the drawn back and more soft vocals for the lighter moments, Hale has yet again raised the bar, both vocally and musically. I also find the band to be more in tune with each other than ever before.

The lead single “Back From the Dead” opens up this monster album with Hale’s insanely amazing vocals screaming, “I’m back from the dead!” This song is a perfect intro for an album that is about confronting and tackling the stigma of mental health, self-discovery, self identification and not being afraid of shining the light that we all have by being who we really are, without fear of being marginalized for it. 

Not only does “Back From the Dead” knock you out with a sonic and vocal assault, it’s an emotional roller coaster. Hale holds absolutely nothing back from start to finish, showing the versatility of one of the most iconic voices in the hard rock world.

The fire that comes from tracks like “Wicked Ways”, “Strange Girl”, “Bombshell” and “Psycho Crazy”, will be enough to leave you scorched, yet coming back for more! 

“Wicked Ways” is a message from Hale saying that she won’t change who she is for anyone. “I burn a flame for every scar. I swore allegiance to the fire in my heart. That light’s a darkness I will never betray.”

“Strange Girl” sees Hale expressing her disgust with those that mistreat others because of their identity and because they live who they are without fear. Could this be the song that Hale referred to in an interview from Loud Wire in February about a teenage girl living at home with her parents and came out as gay? The parents’ response was cold, hateful, and frankly, disgusting. They said that “death would be better.” 

“Would you call me daughter? Would you love me when my halo’s bent and crooked? When you call me malcontent? Sad, sicker than usual. Can’t you be more like the girl next door
instead of little miss misfit?”

“… I’m bulletproof to what you think.” 

“So you can damn me straight to hell, you can crucify my name. You can throw me to the wolves, you can burn me in the flame and say ‘she’s such a strange girl, such a strange girl!’ The world is strange girls, just like me! Kiss me and abandon me, write me off for dead. Ridicule me to feel like I’m your deepest threat, you say “she’s such a strange girl, such a strange girl!” The world needs strange girls, just like me!”

“Bombshell” is explosive and the lyrics are just in your face. “You better suck it up, suck it up! You’re never gonna shut me up, shut me up! Baby I’m a bombshell! I’ll light you up like a bombshell!” 

“Psycho Crazy” is Hale’s expression that she’s sick and tired of people trying to fix her. “If you want a battle, I’ll give you a war. Think you control me, don’t know what you’re in for. Keep coming at me, keep coming, you’ll see. Keep pushing, keep pushing, pushing on me. If you want crazy, I’ll give you psycho. So don’t make me mad. I’ll get sick in the head and show you what you don’t know. If you want crazy, I’ll give you psycho!”

While offering a softer, more mellow side to the album, “Terrible Things” and “Raise Your Horns” see deep emotion, intensity as well as powerful vocals that rip right through to your heart.

“Terrible Things” is a sad but eerily accurate description of the world we live in. A world filled with hate, violence, a global pandemic and the constant selfishness that this world is plagued by. “I’ve seen terrible things. I see a sickness in a world on its knees. It will take what you love like a thief, but in my dreams I believe we’re not these terrible things.”

“Raise Your Horns” is an anthem to all of those who have been hated on, marginalized, spit on, treated horribly, suffer from mental health issues, and so much more. “Raise Your Horns” is a call to action. A call to continue to shine your light and to shine it bright, even when those around you try to put that light out. “Raise Your Horns” started out as #raiseyourhorns in 2019 when Hale took to social media raising her horns and asking others to join in to support breaking the stigma of mental health, as well as to raise awareness about suicide and the need for mental health to be taken seriously. Accompanied by just a piano, Hale’s voice in this song is not only more powerful than ever before, but you can feel the emotion as every last beat of her heart is poured into this song. Hale is heard belting out “Forgive every fear that convinced you to put out your light. Show every flaw, every scar that this world made you hide. From who you are. From who you are, are, are, are

Final Thoughts – “Back From the Dead” is a lot to take in, and it’s a lot to process. It’s hard to hear, it’s in your face and at its core, it’s very real. This album finds Hale once again pushing the boundaries vocally and the band tighter and more cohesive than ever before! The message I take away from this album is that while this world is filled with such hatred, toxicity, and darkness, we all have a light that shines bright within us. Don’t ever let anyone extinguish your fire and your light. The message all throughout is that of accepting who you are, making your well being a priority, and to be accepting of others.

Rating: 5/5

“Back From the Dead” is due out Friday, May 6th via Atlantic, so be sure not to miss it!

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