I love it when a band releases a cover. Sure, they’re not always great, or even good, but I’ve always found it to be a great way to connect with a band by hearing what they’re in to, and possibly discover a new band in the process. If it weren’t for Metallica covering Diamond Head (several times) I probably wouldn’t know that band existed, and I really love them.
Croatia’s Animal Drive have been around since 2012, but have only just now popped up on my radar due to their new covers EP, Back to the Roots, released on April 5th through Frontiers Music.
Back to the Roots includes four cover songs, for an overall running time of seventeen minutes, and it ticks all the boxes.
Opening with their take on The Look from early 90’s pop sensations, Roxette, they have turned a huge pop hit, into a hard rock banger. It’s a very hook driven track, with some fantastic guitar work, a huge drum sound, and exceptional vocals from Dino Jelusic. This will have you singing along in no time.
There lies the beauty of a covers record. I’ve never heard Animal Drive until now, but I’m singing along as if I’ve been a fan for years… A connection has been made. I will be going through their back catalogue at my earliest opportunity.
Next up is their take on Whitesnakes Judgement Day. It’s a heavier version than the original, but remains just as epic. The vocal delivery lives up to David Coverdale perfectly, while the rest of the band absolutely make this song their own, yet never stray too far from the original. This is without a doubt the best performance by the entire band on this EP.
Monkey Business sticks very close to the Skid Row original, which is understandable. It’s such a widely recognised hard rock anthem that you simply couldn’t improve on it. Animal Drive nails it here though, clearly having fun paying tribute to a band they idolise, and I imagine that this will be a live staple for the band for a while.
Closing out the EP is a ripping version of Warrants classic, but underrated gem, Uncle Toms Cabin. Again, Animal Drive are sticking relatively close to the source, yet giving it a 2019 update. While Keller (guitars), Rokindja (bass) and Zvonimir Miheljavic (drums) all do a fantastic job of bringing a huge sound musically, the star is once again Dino Jelusic’s vocals.
Back to the Roots is a digital only release, available on all of the major platforms. I strongly suggest that you all devote seventeen minutes of your time to give this a listen, and then go and check out Animal Drives back catalogue.