Steph Honde is a French guitar player, best known for his work with Paul Di’Anno (Iron Maiden) and Hollywood Monsters (including such players as Don Airey and Vinny Appice). He’s rocked with Jim Crean and Danko Jones. He can write and play multiple instruments. And he can sing!
Honde’s 2017 album Covering the Monsters takes on a diverse batch of rock and metal. He plays everything but drums, and does a damn fine job of it. What makes the real difference is a unique selection of covers. Saxon’s “Waiting For the Night” comes from 1986’s Rock the Nations, which garners a lowly 2.5/5 over at Heavy Metal Overload. Yet from a so-so record comes a stunning pop rock track! Honde’s vocals will divide listeners, but his playing should stun everyone.
“Turbo Lover” is a slick choice, and “Bring Your Daughter…To the Slaughter” unexpected. Vocal cords are shredded on “Bring Your Daughter” just like Bruce did on the original. There are also ballads. “Edie (Ciao Baby)” has to be one of the most underrated of the 1980s. It’s fun to just listen blindly awaiting the next track. Danzig’s “Mother” leads into Guns N’ Roses (“It’s So Easy”). Not just Danzig, but also Michael Graves (“Crying on a Saturday Night”). Love and authenticity are poured into each one.
The best track is the one you’d think would be toughest to cover — the epic ballad “Take Me for a Little While” by Coverdale-Page. Honde captured what makes it a powerful song.
We exeunt to some Nazareth (“Not Fakin’ It”), obscure Sabbath (“Zero the Hero”), a little Ramones (“Something to Believe In”) and epic Winger (“Headed for a Heartbreak”). It’s a very satisfying mix of song choices, though Honde really has to stretch for notes on “Zero the Hero”. Mission accomplished.
Great covers album, and that’s saying something, because covers albums are often not.