Halestorm’s recording cycle has been consistent since their self-titled debut record – release an album, tour the hell out of it, find time to record an EP of cover songs and work a couple of them into the set and come back with a brand new album three years after the last one. So Reimagined is the fourth EP to coincide with the fourth album, Vicious, right?
Wrong. Kind of. Yes, it’s the same idea but this time around, Halestorm have looked back at their own catalogue to reinterpret some old favourites and thrown in a cover so they don’t completely break with tradition. So if you’re hoping for a fourth ReAniMated (their name for all the cover EPs), you’re out of luck.
Reimagined does exactly what the name implies. While Halestorm may not look at a varied set of bands and genres this time, there’s still a good helping of diversity on offer. “Break In” has been stripped back even further to allow the vocals to shine even more than they usually do due to the guest performance of Amy Lee. The Evanescence vocalist duets with Lzzy Hale, bringing her own powerful pipes to the song, further elevated by the fact they were able to record together in the studio. It’s driven by keys and light drum work but deliberately lower in the mix to allow the duo of gargantuan to take centre stage without overshadowing the music.
The other real highlight of the EP comes from the cover of “I Will Always Love You”. Taking the same format as their own live version did, the extra reverb on Lzzy Hale’s vocals and stark keys play off well and gives you the eerie, ethereal feeling of one person playing to a massive arena as the sound bounces around the room. There’s not that big crescendo you’d get from the Whitney Houston version but it’s not needed and would, frankly, ruin this one. Much like every other cover they’ve done, it’s Halestorm putting their own stamp on it.
Elsewhere, the self-titled debut album is revisited with “Get Off” and The Strange Case Of… is further represented by “Mz Hyde” and “I Miss the Misery”. They’re all great reinterpretations, remaining faithful to the source material and to simply call them acoustic reworkings would do them a disservice. Rather, they’re stripped back but not all the way whilst adding pinches of new elements such as the gospel-like backing vocals to “Mz Hyde” or the gritty guitar tones on “Get Off”. Meanwhile, “I Am the Fire” (or as it’s also known, the only good song on Into the Wild Life), goes full-on acoustic yet retains the bombast of the original.
While Reimagined isn’t a bad EP, beside “Break In” and “I Will Always Love You”, there’s nothing here which pushes the EP into must-listen territory, other than to check out some old favourites with a fresh coat of paint as a one and done exercise. Unless you’re a die-hard fan of Halestorm, you can let this pass you by. It’s unlikely to convert any new fans and while the band probably didn’t want to simply re-tread their usual path, a fresh set of fun covers wouldn’t have gone amiss.
Header image by Katie Frost Photography
Reimagined is released on 14th August