Halestorm recently dropped ReAniMate 3.0, the third in their series of covers EPs, which they use to fill stop gaps between albums, and to put it bluntly, it’s pretty damn fine. What you get is an eclectic mix of six covers from the various sub genres of rock and pop, all of which are a nice fit for Lzzy Hale‘s raspy rocker voice.
It all kicks off with live favourite ‘Still of the Night’, which stays true to the original, moody mid section, blistering solo and all. It’s very close to their own style, but they breathe some freshness into the Whitesnake classic.
Much more surprising is the hard rock twist they put on ‘Damn I Wish I Was Your Lover’, the nineties pop classic from one hit wonder Sophie B. Hawkins. Sure, it has a killer hook to the chorus and is catchy as hell anyway, but some laid back radio friendly riffing turns it into a feel good hit for the summer, giving the listener that blaring from the car stereo cruising on LA freeways feel. Joan Jett‘s ‘I Hate Myself for Loving You’ is up next and is everything you might expect; straight forward banging hard rock tune.
It’s the second half of the EP where they really stretch themselves though, nowhere more so than on Twenty One Pilots’ ‘Heathens’. On first listen, it’s not an obvious winner, especially after the radio-friendly rockiness of the first three tracks, but repeated plays reveal it to be truly excellent. Vocally, Lzzy demonstrates surprising versatility as she wraps her chords around the tongue twisting verses, while musically they retain the darkness of the original, but succeed in giving it a harder rockier edge; great track.
Soundgarden‘s ‘Fell on Black Days’ follows in a similarly dark vibe and, like the original, it’s good, but nothing spectacular. Covering Metallica is always a bold move, especially on a raw thrash track like ‘Ride the Lightning’, but they pull it off. Sure, the guitar sound is a little less meatier and as raspy as Lzzy’s voice is, it’s difficult for her to emulate the same naked aggression of the original. Even so, as the song progresses it thrashes along as fast as the original and the solo totally nails it and besides, this is Halestorm‘s version not a copy, so it has to be respected.
It’s testament to the band’s talent and versatility that they can shift easily from rock to pop to grunge to thrash so easily, whilst paying sufficient homage to the original without losing their own identity/style. A lot of upcoming bands could learn from EPs like this; for me it’s a win win situation, you keep your fan base involved between big releases and tours, maybe attract some new fans, whilst also testing your own talents on a variety of styles. Metallica is another band that have long enjoyed a cover, often using them as a way of blowing away the cobwebs in the studio.
So, all in all, a great little release and well worth a listen – fair play Halestorm. Now, about the new album…..