As any self-respecting fan of Nine Inch Nails will tell you, there is something exciting about a band that has fully embraced the concept of regularly releasing EP’s. Trent Reznor was the master of the extended play, ‘Broken’ and ‘Fixed’ anyone? Grammy Award-winning Halestorm (still feels good saying that) have taken on the mantle of masters of the EP and ‘Reimagined’ is the latest in a long line of releases feeding the flames in between full album offerings from the Pennsylvania rockers.
As the title suggests, ‘Reimagined’ sees Halestorm changing things up, and instead of going with cover versions, they have opted to reimagine choice cuts from their studio albums, as well as one cover version.
The centre point on the EP, the money shot, the big kahuna, is the long-awaited and much-requested collaboration with Amy Lee on ‘Break In’. A highpoint of Halestorm’s 2012 tour with Evanescence, Lee would often appear on stage next to Lzzy Hale at the piano as Ms. Hyde herself would gently launch into the track. Stripped back, raw and emotional, and in the case of the infamous Chicago gig in monsoon-like conditions; very wet. Produced by Nick Rasculinecz, with both vocalists in the same studio at the same time, recorded as a live performance from beginning to end, the result is a tour-de-force from two of the most outstanding vocalists around today. One of those rare moments when all involved must have felt like they had captured lightning in a bottle, and when the song gradually builds and the band comes in around the three-minute mark, it is genuinely goosebump-inducing.
Bookending ‘Break In’ are five other tracks that mean a great deal to Halestorm fans. ‘Get Off’ from the self-titled debut album kicks proceedings off with a lovely, Johnny Marr-like shimmering guitar tone. The song soon develops with a slight Ska touch to the guitars as well as the customary solid performance from bassist Josh Smith. Lzzy Hale sounds as powerful as she always does, especially on the neat vocal effect around 2.16 minutes in which tips a hat (conscious or not) to Aerosmith’s ‘Dream On’. ‘I Miss The Misery’ becomes a dreamy, acoustic gem that is the aural equivalent of Matthew McConaughey on your shoulder whispering “Alright, alright, alright” into your ear. Sheer bliss, and a wonderfully restrained performance from the mad-hatter behind the drumkit; Arejay Hale. ‘I Am The Fire’ was perhaps the standout moment on 2015’s ‘Into The Wild Life’ album and here it excels once again. A great mix of acoustic and electric guitars (the rocket-fuelled riffage midsong is on-point), gentle drums, and a stunning, impassioned vocal performance from Lzzy Hale.
After ‘Break In’ fades out and the listener has time to pick themselves up from the floor, Lzzy Hale floors them again with a cover of ‘I Will Always Love You’. Performed live as a solo piece by Hale for a few years now, most recently as part of a medley that also featured ‘Break In’ and ’Dear Daughter’, here it comes complete with atmospheric arrangements, subtle gospel-like backing vocals, and gentle instrumentation. If you have caught it performed live over the last few years, then you will know that it is indeed rather special, and without any background audience noise, this is amplified a thousand-fold on ‘Reimagined’. What else but ‘Ms. Hyde’ could bring the EP to an end? The live favourite gets a fresh coat of paint courtesy of some warm and fuzzy guitar tones, and lashings of gang-vocals which hint that great fun were had by all during the recording. A fantastic way to bring the EP to a conclusion.
Another strong release from one of the most consistent Rock bands out there.
Review – Dave
Live image – Rob Wilkins
Pre-order ‘Reimagined’ on vinyl here.
Pre-Save ‘Reimagined’ out 14th of August: https://Halestorm.lnk.to/ReimaginedID