Back From The Dead: Deluxe EditionAtlantic
01. Back From The Dead
02. Wicked Ways
03. Strange Girl
05. The Steeple
06. Terrible Things
07. My Redemption
09. I Come First
10. Psycho Crazy
11. Raise Your Horns
13. Heavy MeNtal (F**k Yeah)
16. You Only Die Once
Ask any modern rock fan to name a few of the most powerful women in the genre today, and Lzzy Hale will likely be high on the list. Not only does she have some of hard rock's most commanding pipes, but Lzzy's guitar playing abilities are uniquely exceptional.
Earlier this year, Hale and her band HALESTORM released a new studio album, "Back From The Dead". Now, they've returned with "Back From The Dead: Deluxe Edition", a bonus version that includes seven previously unreleased B-sides. The set is available digitally, as well as on CD and cassette tape, making this the first time the album has been offered in these formats.
"Back From The Dead" marks a return to the straight-ahead, hard rock sound that HALESTORM are known for following a slight divergence into country-tinged rock. Lzzy and her brother, drummer Arejay Hale, often site the towering, arena rock sounds of the '70s and '80s as inspirations, and that comes through on the release.
Ripping songs such as early single "The Steeple" and the album's title track—tracks from the original release, showcase Lzzy's gutting vocals and precise, powerful guitar work. While bands with strong vocalists sometimes sound as if they're competing against the guitars, in HALESTORM, the two are perfectly married, not clashing but instead working together, supporting one another. "Psycho Crazy" and "Raise Your Horns" are two more ragers, with fist-pumping choruses and an uber-heavy guitar attack. In other spots on "Back From The Dead", HALESTORM turn things down with a stripped-back approach. That's apparent on "Terrible Things", a haunting ballad with Lzzy begging, "And there's a hole in my life / There's a blackness inside that's eating me alive / Leaving me to decide / Do I live with this pain?"
As for the deluxe portion of "Back From The Dead: Deluxe Edition", the new songs on the album should appease HALESTORM fans who are already gunning for a follow-up. "Mine", the first single off the deluxe edition, features a dance-inspired beat, pop vocals and a cheesy sing-along chorus that sound straight out of the 1980s pop playbook. Frankly, many of the additional songs included in the deluxe edition feature an '80s stadium rock aura: from "Alien"'s a cappella, HEART-esque opening, to the flirty delivery and harmonies of "Wannabe" and the in-your-face rock of "You Only Die Once".
Of the new songs, "Legendary" is a standout. The song begins with a head-bopping groove and slightly twangy delivery before exploding into a rock anthem, offering a more modern sound than other tracks on the set. Meanwhile, while HALESTORM aren't known as a band that uses a lot of expletives, that's not the case on "Heavy MeNtal (F**k Yeah)" , which drops quite a few f-bombs. On the scorching track, Lzzy kicks things off by proclaiming, "Tonight I'm going heavy metal," before launching into a grunge-inspired chorus and singing, "If you don't care, then I don't care!"
The original album and deluxe edition both move from track to track well, with a good mix of hard-charging rock songs sprinkled with choice ballads. While HALESTORM stick to their formula of easy-to-digest, relatively short rock songs — most under four minutes — on "Back From The Dead: Deluxe Edition", the songwriting and performance quality is top notch, proving why they're one of modern rock's most popular bands.