Four albums and almost 20 years into their career, Halestorm have amassed an arsenal of gale-force, hard rock anthems that howl and stomp, building hurricane-like around Lzzy Hale’s roaring, high drama vocals. Their last album, 2018’s Vicious, was criticised by some for being too polished and chart-friendly, but as Lzzy tells us, for their fifth album, the Nashville-based band went back to basics for their most personal, heaviest album yet.
How has the recording process been this time around?
“A lot of the songs I was writing BC – before Covid – all of a sudden didn’t make sense to what we were feeling. Due to it being the longest period I’ve ever gone without a show, that energy and longing to be in front of an audience ended up seeping its way into the music because that was our only outlet.”
How did the music change as the sessions progressed?
“A lot of this record is me writing about my personal journey, the unknown future, the doubts I had, some of the mistakes I made during the pandemic. There’s so much I had to write for myself, to reintroduce who Lzzy Hale is to the Elizabeth on the inside. I got to know this Elizabeth character, I hadn’t seen her in a while. So, it was a really strange, solitary journey for me.”
What do you mean by mistakes you made during the pandemic?
“When I didn’t have that outlet for music and I was missing the community of the live show, you realise you can’t fill that hole with anything else. There was a period of time when we were all drinking too much or trying to fill the void with other things. When you’re faced with this unknown future, you start digging a hole for yourself and going to a very dark place. I probably visited some places in my mind that I’d never really thought were there before. All I could do was throw myself into writing music and using it as a living, breathing diary.”
Is there a narrative of self-rediscovery running through this?
“It’s this beautiful rollercoaster ride; this reality of where my head was at, how deep I got down that rabbit hole and how I got myself out of it. And also a lot of hope, empowerment and encouragement. There are also a couple of songs on this record that were inspired directly by the conversations that I was having online with our fans and our freak family. It was the most wonderful group of people that would be tagging me every day being like, ‘Liz, we’re checking up on you too and if you need us we’re here.’ It made me very emotional.”
Since the release of your last album, 2018’s Vicious, you celebrated the 10- year anniversary of your debut record [2009’s Halestorm]. Did you revisit any of those songs for inspiration?
“It’s funny you say that. We didn’t necessarily actively go back and try to recreate anything, but after we got it finished and we were listening to it, there definitely are a couple of nods to the beginning to both the first and second record, almost in an even more exciting way. What we’ve found is, I guess that we have a sound. It was a weird epiphany.”
Arejay (Hale, Lzzy’s brother and Halestorm drummer) has talked about how big this record sounds. Would you say this is your heaviest record yet?
“Because we weren’t sure whether we would even be able to play these songs live, we just said we were going to go big or go home. The album is absolutely on 11 performance-wise, technicality-wise, sound-wise. It’s very big, we don’t half-ass anything. To add to what Arejay was saying, I think this is the most ‘Halestorm’ record yet. Instead of deciding to go left or right or experiment, we were more or less experimenting within our own power and what really makes Halestorm what it is.”
Halestorm’s fifth album Back From The Dead is due May 6 via Atlantic