REVIEW: Steph Honde – Covering the Monsters (2017)

STEPH HONDE – Covering the Monsters (2017 Musik records)

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.

4/5 stars

 

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26 comments

  1. I’m not much of a covers album guy, either (I was very disappointed by Hollywood Vampires when I got around to it), but you’ve got me intrigued by this one, Mike… Saxon, GN’R, Iron Maiden, Danzig and Sabbath tracks? I’ll at least have a listen to this.

    Liked by 1 person

        1. Fair enough but they played the songs on tour, so I thought that would be enough of a reason.

          Also heard that they’re adding a Thin Lizzy, an AC DC and a Tom Petty song to the set list.

          I also really want a live album

          Liked by 1 person

        1. Yeah, I would expect as much. Perhaps he’ll look around the room and think to himself “so, do I hang out with Jeffrey there or Johnny Depp, Joe Perry and Alice fuckin’ Cooper?”

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        1. Just been reading the online gossip! By all accounts Alec only ever played on the first two albums? They had Hugh playing on the rest uncredited.

          And I think money probably figured into it too eh? Pay him less if he’s just an unknown side guy.

          Liked by 1 person

        2. Yeah I have read a lot of those stories too. I don’t doubt that he played minimally on Keep the Faith. I really don’t know what to believe. I think they probably had both guys on most of those albums. Maybe Hugh played more, who knows? Or, Hugh knows?

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        3. The Jovi organisation makes sure everyone keeps shtum about stuff so I doubt we’ll ever know for sure. Seems to be consensus that he played on songs like Livin’ On A Prayer and Born To Be My Baby. Apparently Hugh had the albums listed from Slippery onwards listed on his website discography at one point. But then it got taken down haha. Wonder why?

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