EP REVIEW: Halestorm – Vicious (Stripped)

Release Date: March 6th 2020
Label: Atlantic Records
Website: www.halestormrocks.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/halestormrocks
Twitter: www.twitter.com/halestorm

Rating:

You know a band must be particularly proud of a record when they give those songs some zhoosh, and re-release them a little while later, but with a bit of a change in style and direction.

This is what has clearly happened with Halestorm‘s latest offering, ‘Vicious (Stripped)’, a five song collection that takes some of the band’s favourites from their 2018 LP ‘Vicious’ and, you guessed it, strips them back to their bare bones.

Halestorm were particularly proud of their original product. ‘Vicious’ gave the band the opportunity to show off their well-rounded, multi-faceted hard rock sound. Pretty much everyone was in agreement, and loved their raw, unapologetic energy previously only captured in their stage performances.

Now, you might think an acoustic rendition would result in a trade-off of depth for minimalism, but you would well be mistaken. Hearing these songs in their rough-and-ready form adds far more than is detracted by a loss of instrumental layers.

Lzzy Hale‘s raw, melodic vocals stand out starkly against the scratch-scratch of the acoustic guitar in EP opener ‘Black Vultures’, giving a far more emotive outcome that the original. ‘Do Not Disturb’ flits between dulcet and impassioned, but never falls far from slightly unnerving.

And before you worry that every track will just be Lzzy wailing over a strumming guitar, worry not, these acoustic versions are a bit more deluxe than that. The good ol’ six string is fairly front and centre, but segues beautifully into balladic piano (see ‘Heart Of Novocaine’ and ‘Black Vultures’), or is delicately supported with just a subtle smidge of bass. Not technically acoustic, sure, but the tonal depth is appreciated.

If ‘Vicious’ captured Halestorm‘s on-stage energy, then ‘Vicious (Stripped)’ captures their on-stage intimacy. Listening to this EP is the closest you’ll get to the band jamming out in your bedroom, and honestly that’s pretty much exactly how it sounds on the record.

If Halestorm fancy doing any more acoustic renditions of their own work, there’s definitely a market for it.