The third studio long-player from the Grammy Award-winning hard rockers led by powerhouse vocalist Lzzy Hale, Into the Wild Life doubles down on the more radio-friendly elements that were introduced on 2012's Strange Case Of…, but it also plays fast and loose with the formula, pouring as many different stylistic elements as it can into each of its 13 (15 if you pick up the Deluxe Edition) cuts. As per usual, Hale's tornadic vocals lead the charge, and she lays down some of her best work to date on stand-out cuts like "I Am the Fire," "Gonna Get Mine," the heartfelt ballad "Dear Daughter," and the blistering, aptly named "Mayhem," the latter of which eschews some of the more traditional hard rock Halestorm tropes (of which there are many) in favor of a nervy blast of pure punk-metal malevolence. Slicker and a tad tamer than previous outings, Halestorm can still put the pedal to the metal, as evidenced by the bruising, vaguely Sabbath-esque "Sick Individual," the meaty, electro-kissed opener "Scream," and the aforementioned "Mayhem" -- they even offer up an unapologetically cheesy and surprisingly ballsy arena rock anthem with "I Like It Heavy" (think an agitated, juiced-up version of Bob Seger's "Old Time Rock and Roll"). That said, when Into the Wild Life goes flaccid it goes all the way limp, and songs like the "Is This Love"-era Whitesnake-inspired "Bad Girls World" and the new country-ready "What Sober Couldn't Say" take a lot of wind out of Into the Wild Life's sails, but the band is undeniably tight and flush with ideas, and Hale is such a force of nature that the occasional foray into AOR snooze-ville can be forgiven.
Into the Wild Life Review
by James Christopher Monger