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Halestorm have taken rather a long time to finally produce a debut album, having formed twelve years ago (albeit while still at school), and only releasing a five-song live EP once signed to Atlantic in 2006. Only one of those tracks survives in the album tracklist. Initial impressions from opening brace It's Not You and I Get Off are that Halestorm's hard rock sound is exactly what over-hyped Brit Lauren Harris should have sounded like. Singer/guiarist Lzzy (no i) Hale has a phenomenal voice and the huge riffs she creates with fellow guitarist Joe Hottinger are immediate and engaging. But that genuine rock heaviness is lost on the remainder of the album until the final track, replaced either with muted modern chord-based riffs, or an Evanescence-style angst. Innocence's riffs borrow from Disturbed, but just aren't as heavy and lose their impact, the Nickelback-ish power ballad I'm No Angel is exactly that - pretty uninspiring - and so is pop-rock anti-love song Better Sorry Than Safe. There are still some good rock songs here. The emotional investment in the excellent build-up of Familiar Taste of Poison is genuine, and there are a couple of solid rocking album tracks to be had in Dirty Work and closer Nothing To Do With Love, but the biggest disappointment here is the immature lyrics which really belong in teenage pop songs. This has not turned out to be the album it could have been on the evidence of the opening two tracks (two of the three tracks being pushed ahead of the album's release, with Familiar Taste of Poison), and not, following their heavier, edgier pre-Atlantic music (see the live EP), what it should have been. They were better then, but this is what will be lapped up by the Flyleaf generation.
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