Halestorm’s covers EPs between albums are always an interesting exercise. Covering rock royalty in the past like AC/DC, Guns N’ Roses, Skid Row and Judas Priest, they lovingly cover the songs whilst putting their own spin on them, and to boot, it’s often not the most obvious songs by these artists. You have the more left-field, less rock material and surprisingly, they work excellently with artists like Lady Gaga and Daft Punk being covered.
ReAniMate 3.0, the third set of covers, is perhaps the strongest one to date, following the same formula with the less-than-obvious songs from artists you’ll know and love or perhaps just have heard of. Acts like Whitesnake, Joan Jett, Soundgarden and…erm, Twenty One Pilots get the Halestorm cover treatment.
With songs like “Still of the Night” and “I Hate Myself for Loving You”, Whitesnake and Joan Jett receive the most faithful adaptations, sticking as close to the originals as possible with the latter being tweaked ever so slightly to transport it into the 21st century. Featuring the typical crunching and grinding guitars of Lzzy Hale and Joe Hottinger, it’s here where the band can best represent their own take on two of rock’s staple songs.
“Damn I Wish I Was Your Lover” and “Heathens” moves into the questionable portion of the EP (a feature of Halestorm’s previous cover EPs). Both of these tracks are the tamest songs to appear but Halestorm rework them into songs which sound like they wrote them. The former finds the Sophie B. Hawkins track moulded into a song that could have appeared on Halestorm’s debut album, melding a deft mix of rock and pop. With the latter, I had to find out who (or what) Twenty One Pilots were. Taking an eerie hip-hop song featured in last year’s Suicide Squad, somehow Halestorm have made this far creepier with Lzzy’s drawling vocals and funeral march drumming from Arejay Hale.
Closing out the EP is “Fell On Black Days” and “Ride the Lightning”; the highest points in a great and varied EP. Both are pretty faithful to the originals with the band going full-on grunge for the Soundgarden song, Lzzy Hale tackling the vocals in her own inimitable way rather than attempting to copy Chris Cornell’s unique style. This downbeat number shows the versatility of Hale’s vocals and that she can handle most things thrown at her. Meanwhile, “Ride the Lightning” ditches the Halestorm gloss found elsewhere and shows that the band can manage thrash metal. It may be a touch slower than Metallica’s but Arejay Hale and Josh Smith handle their parts with ease.
Boasting far better production than their last full-length effort, Halestorm have shown for a third time how a collection of cover songs should be done. It’s varied, it’s not the most obvious tracks from the featured artists and they find the delicate balance between faithfulness and originality. Between the three they’ve released, this may be their best one yet.