On October 2, 2015, Boston, Massachusetts-based metalcore band Vanna released their EP “Alt”, a collection of cover songs originally by Marilyn Manson, The Offspring, The Smashing Pumpkins, Korn, and Metallica. The band announced the EP in early September, and coupled the announcement by releasing their cover of Marilyn Manson’s “Beautiful People”. Vocalist Davey Muise’s distinct, gritty screamed vocal style coupled with the pounding drums and muddy guitars behind him breathe new life into the song that became a mainstay as a favorite among Manson’s fans. Speaking to AltPress at the time of the release of “Beautiful People” as a single, Davey Muise said, “Manson’s lyrics and attention grabbing ways have always spoken to the anti-conformity in me.”
The second cover on the album, “Self Esteem”, originally by the Offspring, takes a much different approach, appealing more to the original west-coast 90’s punk feel found on the original version of the song. Clean vocalist and lead guitarist Joel Pastuszak takes control of the track, with Muise taking the lead on some of the verses at the end of the song. The clash between Pastuszak and Muise defines the track, as the former has a nasally vocal style similar to Dexter Holland of The Offspring, while Muise’s is much more abrasive.
The next cover, “Zero” by The Smashing Pumpkins, leans stylistically more towards Vanna’s style than The Smashing Pumpkins’, with a much more in-your-face musical arrangement than is found on the original. Vanna actually referenced “Zero” on their song “Personal Cross” from their 2014 full-length album Void, with the lyrics “if emptiness is loneliness, and loneliness is cleanliness, and cleanliness is godliness, then I’m a filthy [expletive] mess.” which is nearly the exact lyric from “Zero” except the last line in the original is “and God is empty just like me.”
The next song, “Got the Life” originally by Korn, is much grittier vocally than the original. Korn vocalist Jonathan Davis is known for having a very eerie and unsettling singing voice, and Muise attempts to mimic this without stepping out of his own personal style. Instrumentally, it’s pretty much a nod to the original without much of the typical Vanna style on it. The bass on the cover is very underdone compared to the original. Fieldy Arvizu’s bass playing on the original drives the track, while Vanna attempts to drive the track through the guitars, which makes the cover fall flat.
The final song is a cover of Metallica’s “Fuel”, which sounds much more like the cover was done by a Judas Priest cover band than a band attempting to cover Metallica. The vocals on this cover are painfully forced and the instrumentation is lackluster at best. While I understand Vanna’s intent to bring their own flavor to the covers without disrespecting the originals, they flat-out failed to do it on this cover. I would’ve much rather hear a cover of one of Metallica’s more straight metal songs than a punk or thrash song like “Fuel”.
All in all, Vanna does justice in places, but fail to make their mark on others.