Saturday, 2 November 2013

Halestorm "ReAniMate 2.0"

I’ve written two articles on Halestorm by now, one on their TheStrange Case Of... album (the first album I ever gave a 10/10 to) and then one on their debut, so there really is no need for paragraph after paragraph on the history of the band. Hence this article may be shorter than most (at least pretend that’s a bad thing for my sake).

I do however want to touch upon their most recent release, an EP of six cover songs titled ReAniMatE 2.0, a sequel to their 2011 release ReAniMate: The CoVeRs eP. The first of the EP’s also contained six covers of varied genres ranging from the Beatles to Skid Row to a rock rendition of a Lady Gaga song. Though I was already a long time fan of Halestorm and Lzzy Hale’s vocal capabilities at the point of that EP’s release, it was when I heard her belt out Slave To The Grind by Skid Row that solidified my opinion that she is among the absolute best singers, both female and male, in modern music. The reason being is that she sang that song with more balls than Sebastian Bach did on the original Skid Row version of the song.

On the recently released sequel to that EP, the band chose six relatively different songs compared to the first EP. Instead of picking late 80’s, early 90’s metal/alternative rock songs, the band chose early 80’s hard rock, even some 70’s classic rock, some songs stayed true to the original arrangements, some were altered slightly.

The first song on the EP was an interesting choice; Judas Priest’s Dissident Aggressor. The lifelong Judas Priest fan that I am is thrilled that the band didn’t pick a rather cliché song by the band to cover such as the obvious choices, You’ve Got Another Thing Coming or Breakin’ The Law, but I’m also surprised as to how popular Dissident Aggressor seems to be. I mean, Halestorm aren’t the only band to have copied the song; Slayer have a thrashing good arrangement of the song on their 1988 release South of Heaven. Priest’s live version of the song was even nominated for a Grammy a few years ago, decades after its original release, which baffles me, not because I think the song is bad, but because I don’t see how it gets recognition over such songs as Tyrant or Sinner etc. Anyway, Halestorm stay rather true to the original recording of the song, with the music being played rather similarly, despite the added fade in intro. The difference is merely the fact that a female is singing the song, and doing one hell of a job.

Just like on the first ReAniMate, the second song is a hard rock re-working of a lamestream, sorry I mean mainstream hit. This time around is a cover of the Daft Punk song Get Lucky. I have referred to the original recording of this song to be a modern day Song That Never Ends. I don’t know about other listeners but I find the song just goes on and on and on. Luckily Halestorm’s hard rock rendition is great, and not because of Lzzy’s voice, but Arejay Hale’s heavy beating drums, and even the blues-boogie guitar solo by Joe Hottinger, at least I’d think Joe plays the solo, Lzzy has been known to have guitar solos too. This song doesn’t drag on like the original, but it was clearly meant to be just a fun experiment for the band, as was the whole EP in general.

The EP seems to go back and forth between songs that stay true to the original renditions and songs that have completely new renditions. The third track, a cover of AC/DC’s Shoot To Thrill, just like the first track, stays very true to the original recorded song, just with Lzzy’s balls to the wall voice taking the place of the original. In this case, if you’re a fan of AC/DC (which I’m not, but that doesn’t mean I’m not open minded) and Halestorm, you’re sure to love the song. The song is arguably the most popular of the songs chosen to be covered on the album, which is a bold move by the band, but as previously mention, the band isn’t looking to do anything totally groundbreaking with this EP, just like any cover album by any band, it was released for the bands amusement.

I was thrilled when I saw the band was covering Pat Benatar’s Hell Is For Children. I’m not a HUGE Pat Benatar fan, but I do like most of the healthy amount of songs that I know by her, and this song specifically is a favourite. This is one of the songs that Halestorm somewhat made into their own, by making moments of the song heavier than the original recording of the song, making it sound even darker. Hearing Lzzy sing in the place of one of the greatest females in hard rock history is quite the delight as well. The same could be said for the next track as well, a cover of Fleetwood Mac’s Gold Dust Woman. While this track is very true to the original recording, hearing Lzzy singing in the place of the great Stevie Nicks further shows Lzzy’s capabilities and her place in modern music.

The album ends with one last original rendition of a song out of the bands element. This time it’s a Marilyn Manson cover of their song 1996. While I’m not a fan of Marilyn Manson, I’ve very aware of the Antichrist Superstar album, in which the original version of 1996 was released, and I know that if Halestorm attempted anything on that album, they would have to change it a bit, and that’s exactly what they did, not so much with the music but with the vocal approach, making it far less scary and disturbed sounding that the original. Fans of the original song who aren’t fans of the band will NOT like this version of the song, but it is an interesting inclusion nonetheless.

As mentioned previously, this album was made for no one’s real benefit. The band were likely not looking to make too much money off of the album, they just wanted to have some fun. Maybe they even wanted an excuse to play some of these songs live, or to show that they haven’t gone anywhere, either way this is surely for fans of the band, and is not really meant to make new fans, though if it does I’m sure no one would complain.


Hell Is For Children” –­ It’s a covers EP, picking a highlight is not really logical, but I do for every article, so for this EP I pick the Pat Benatar cover, because fans of Halestorm will love Lzzy’s voice, and fans of both Halestorm and Pat Benatar will not only love the song selection, but also the job the band did not changing it too much, but making it different enough from the original so that you can have both songs on your song library and not feel weird about it.


8 (Out of 10)

Track List:

Dissident Aggressor  
(Judas Priest Cover)
Get Lucky  
(Daft Punk Cover)
Shoot To Thrill  
(AC/DC Cover)
Hell Is For Children  
(Pat Benatar Cover)
Gold Dust Woman  
(Fleetwood Mac Cover)
(Marilyn Manson Cover)

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