This is how a covers release should be done!
Most bands, and the key word is most, will take a song, usually a hit single, of an older band or artist or perhaps a song from one of their many peers and will re-build the song in their own style and from. Sometimes this works really well and is great exposure (see: Crystal Lake and Heaven Shall Burn) and other times it's just not worth the effort. Sometimes making another band’s work into your own can backfire. A great example of an utter shite covers EP was Butcher Babies' ‘Uncovered‘, which felt so stale and watered-down. Memories of its cardinal sin still float through this reviewer’s mind from time to time.
Yet Vanna aren’t necessarily like most other bands, and they’ve decided to show the fans and the critics that they could have easily been a 90’s sounding punk rock band, a controversial shock rock group, a grunge outfit, or even a groovy nu-metal band. The five songs that make up 'ALT' (the cover of which features drummer Eric Gross as a child) are Metallica's 'Fuel', Marilyn Manson's 'Beautiful People', The Offspring's 'Self-Esteem', Korn's 'Got The Life', and The Smashing Pumpkin's 'Zero'. Now, that's some fucking variety right there for ya.
Easily the best and strongest aspect of this release is that this EP shows off such a dynamic flare and creative side from the quintet, who is known best for putting out fast and unrelenting hardcore tunes with a crazy and intense live performance to boot. With each of the five songs, the band channels the original artist very well and these renditions are immensely faithful. So much so that you’d be forgiven for thinking that the bands themselves had remastered or just re-recorded their own hits (well maybe, except for The Smashing Pumpkins one - Billy Corgan's vocals are the complete opposite of that). Every beat and note of the original works have basically been replicated by the band here, and each track is more or less, exactly as you remember it.
The vocals of frontman Davey Muise and guitarist Joel Pastuszak and the effects that have been used on them all help to make the listener feel like they are actually listening to The Offspring or Korn and the like, and not actually Vanna, which is a real accomplishment in this instance. Furthermore, the production and mixing of the EP is really solid, not game changing, but extremely polished. Thus, it helps to breathe some new life into these now somewhat old songs. That's great for not only fans of Vanna, but also for those who have big history with these other five acts.
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Future bands wanting to pay ode to their influences - take note.
Vanna have not only shown off their somewhat wide influences, but also a musical range that a lot of listeners may not have known the band were capable of producing. While some may be waiting for their next inevitable full-length, to follow on from 2014's 'Void', this will easily fill in the gap.
1. Beautiful People (Marilyn Manson cover)
2. Self-Esteem (The Offspring cover)
3. Zero (The Smashing Pumpkins cover)
4. Got The Life (Korn cover)
5. Fuel (Metallica cover)