Ladies and gentlemen, put your seatbelts on, we’re in a time capsule and we’re gonna landing back right to the 80s just as you close your eyes and push play! Our guides for this precious ride are the Van Halen family, Eddie on guitar, Alex on drums and the young refreshment, Eddie’s son, Wolfgang on bass and not at least, the restless lead singer, Mr. David Lee Roth. Although the twelfth studio album by the band it’s the band’s first album of completely new material since 1998’s disastrous “Van Halen III” featuring ex-Extreme singer Gary Cherone, as well as the first since 1984’s to feature David Lee Roth on lead vocals, the long awaited new Van Halen album, “A Different Kind Of Truth” just right fits in between “Women and Children First” and “Fair Warning”.
I am the first to admit, I was 101 % skeptical about this reunion and album. Don’t misunderstand me, I love Lee Roth, some of his bluesy solo releases are absolutely killer cuts, but definitively the best moments of this band were with Sammy Hagar. And well, Hagar teamed up with guitar-God Joe Satriani, Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Chad Smith and classic Halen bass player Michael Anthony to form Chickenfoot, one hell of a successful hard rock supergroup. So, “the other half” already proved vitality, the expectations were pretty high about this and the comparison – unfortunately for both sides – is almost unavoidable.
And “A Different Kind Of Truth” rocks like s*it, eventually this is one of the best Van Halen albums ever released.
And I guess the key word it’s “vitality”, the other it’s “energy” and not at least strength, simplicity and feel-good. This is rock’n’roll, power and soulful, filled with humor – verses like “I’ve got Elvis on my iPhone….” or songs as “Stay Frosty” – but played with guts. It’s not brain-surgery, but pumping, pounding Rock’N’Roll.
Van Halen managed to reinvent themselves without doing anything else, but being themselves again and playing the same old tricks with the same (good) old feeling. It seems the most simple thing to do, but mainly we fail to do the most human, the most honest, the most simple things. Well, Van Halen scored. Again. Magic happened. Again. 13 songs, no fill-ups, only hits.
01 – Tattoo
02 – She’s The Woman
03 – You And Your Blues
04 – China Town
05 – Blood And Fire
06 – Bullethead
07 – As Is
08 – Honeybabysweetiedoll
09 – The Trouble With Never
10 – Outta Space
11 – Stay Frosty
12 – Big River
13 – Beats Workin’
The first single from the album, “Tattoo”, was released on January 10, 2012. One day after its release to iTunes, it was the #1 selling rock song in the US, Canada, Finland and the Netherlands, while charting in Sweden, Belgium, Germany and the UK. It also received over two million YouTube hits in its first week of release. “Tattoo” is ranked #1 on Billboard’s Hard Rock Singles chart, the #1 most played song at classic rock radio in its first week and #1 most added song at mainstream and active rock radio.
And label it “(feathered)-hair-metal”, call it “cock-rock”, this is f*cking ageless as the tattoos.
“Tattoo” is a classic hard rock anthem, so classy that is instantly sounds familiar. Lee Roth seems fresher then ever. Son of a bitch!
“She’s The Woman” definitively a lost and found piece of the 80’s.
“You And Your Blues” have a riff that reminds me of the more recent Halen – “Balance” for instance – , but the song is ageless and classy, pulsing with the careless vibe of the 80’s.
“China Town” brings back the rapid rage of the American heavy metal, unexpected in deed, makes me smile a little bit, but old fans will definitively dig out their “Fair Warning” T-shirts.
“Blood And Fire” is better then “Panama” and “Jump” mashed up. Maybe Lee Roth can jump same high, but he definitively still can kick some asses. This blues rock feel fits so incredible these guys!
“Bullethead” is another heavy metal kick back, better and much more alive then “China Town”, less dusty and somehow much more alive.
In “As Is” I just remembered that Alex Van Halen is one of my favorite drummers: great opening. It’s one of their heaviest song, but it’s bite and scream like fire!
Probably “Honeybabysweetiedoll” is my favorite track of the album. It’s kind of dark, heavy and groovy. If I say alternative rock it’s probably makes perfect sense, Eddie delivered some huge riffs and Lee Roth is filthy and charming simultaneously.
“The Trouble With Never” is another classy pearl, just love it. Might be the next charting single. The last one and half minutes of the song are murderous!
“Outta Space” is another thunder strike of heavy (hair) metal, just like the 80’s, but can not move me anymore.
“Stay Frosty” reminds me of some of Lee Roth’s solo works – “Sensible Shoes” – or old favorites as “Push Comes To Shove”, it’s the best possible blues rock with strong Led Zeppelin vibe. Love this s*it!
“Big River” runs restless with that 80’s hard rock pulse, it could find its place anywhere on the 82’s “Drive Down”.
“Beats Workin’” is another darker, heavier song, have some rock solid, heavy feeling, it’s classy and alive, old-familiar, but breathing and alive, it’s so Van Halen!
I was skeptical, they prove me wrong, and I’m f*cking thankful! This gonna spinning around for a while….
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What you forgot to mention is that it sounds so great and energetic, is cause its stuff from digged up and cleaned from the vaults, old demos, circa 1975-76, not that it’s something wrong with that. IMO Tatoo is the weakest (cheesiest) song and the most Hagar-ish, of course FM potential. Otherwise it’s a great terrific day for all us VH fans, one I’ve been waiting since 1984 !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And I still hope to see them live in Europe !
Far as I read and understand, even if most of the riffs and ideas are blasts from the past, they seriously re-write them. Although, “She’s the Woman” was on their 76’s demo which warranted them a deal with Warner Bros.
Honestly I would skip “China Town” and “Outta Space”, that heavy metal s*it doesn’t fits them anymore so well, but yeah, the rest of the album it’s so 80 and sounds great, they are alive and kicking.
Back in the saddle… wow… David looks good and sounds good man…
Just as I said: son of a bitch! 😆