Reviews

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February 1, 2012 at 10:14 am Quote #3224

ron
(8931)

Van Halen Come Out Swinging on ‘A Different Kind of Truth’
By Johnny Firecloud
Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Van Halen’s first new album with David Lee Roth on the mic in nearly 30 years arrives February 7 on Interscope, and the results are disarmingly good. A Different Kind Of Truth is a true return of the ’80s cock-rock overlords, a screaming triumph for the feathered-hair dreamers who held on through a cinematically epic series of lineup changes, band implosions and shifting tides of musical fashion. That old familiar feeling has returned, the unique flare of excitement that comes from a muscle car rhythm section led by a six-string wizard and a singing sexual megalodon with an ego that made Kanye look like a kid flaunting his new Spider-Man underoos — and the pipes to back up the strut.

Yes, Van Halen is back, and we’re not faced with a group of veterans simply trying to make sounds that their old selves would respect; A Different Kind of Truth is almost entirely culled from unpolished, unfinished and unreleased work the band had written in their heyday. Guitarist Eddie Van Halen has said several times over the years that he has over half a dozen albums’ worth of unreleased material in his archives from the band’s career, and former singer Sammy Hagar told Rolling Stone not long ago, “I heard this record is old outtakes from the old days. I mean, stuff from before I even joined the band. Because from what I heard, they aren’t working with new material. Ed and Dave didn’t actually write new songs.”

It’s an arguable copout, but a genius insulation nonetheless — pulling from a song sketchbook more than three decades old provides guidepoints to safeguard against the worn pathways of aging acts molesting their own legacy. Thankfully, these songs do not sound like old men putting on the smelly old spandex and combing over the strays. Fresh is the operative word here, a supremely confident swing for the fences in an understandable progression from the obsessively romanticized pre-Hagar era.

The choice of Tattoo as the lead single may have more to do with its peacocking pop factor than anything else, because despite being the opener it’s the low point for an otherwise fantastic album. Immediately, She’s The Woman taps into the ebullient ’80s spirit, a strong connection to a nostalgia-free strut and sexy, slick riffage — complete with a classic VH solo. A gem from the archives, the track appeared on a 1976 demo the band cut with Gene Simmons on production.

“I wanna be your knight in shining pickup truck,” Roth juts over a mean little chugging guitar line, and it’s all there — the grunts, the little wailing asides, the random background “Whooo!” and “Yeayaa!” accents peppered around Eddie’s volleying squeals. The rev-up to the chorus is short and, like pulling into neutral before slamming into the next gear. It doesn’t really matter that Dave’s not singing “swamp meat salad” in Tattoo — the song just doesn’t connect with the energy found here, the knockout drive that pulled us in so long ago. Woman’s hot groove catches fire and spins out as Wolfgang (who holds his own plenty fine throughout) rises in the mix, punching along to the beat before Dad rips loose with a solo that races the frantic rhythm back into the final verse.

But You And Your Blues creeps up dangerously amid chopping guitar, Roth’s hushed finger-wagging giving way to an echo chorus, casting out the demons with a had-enough-of-you backhand. There’s a sick little changeup at the two-minute mark, a serpentine acceleration before another screaming solo. Truly, the six-string snobs will have their hands full here, as Eddie brings an airtight assault of fretwork that runs flush with the original glory days.

Van Halen’s legendary tapping channels Beethoven for just a flash to kick off a furiously sprinting China Town, and the neckbreaker’s not alone in its frantic pace or celebratory energy; the fast-funk Bullethead blasts through with enough intensity to make the two-and-a-half minutes pass like a heartbeat, while Eddie’s skittering riff carries us through the labyrinthian As Is with a tenacious confidence — we’re fully in the red, the speedometer’s buried, machine gun heartbeat adding internal percussion while fishtailing down the freeway at impossible speeds. But a Thorogood blues-lick breakdown elbows its way in through a vicious dime-stopping halt, Roth dropping into a smooth-talking Satan-bass tone for just a moment… then we’re off again at a spastic gallop, punctuated by bursts of choral screams.

Known for their dramatic opening flare, the band open several tracks with decorative introductions, often led by experimental stringwork. The back-alley acoustic groove of Stay Frosty explodes into a bar-brawl swagger jam (with Diamond Dave seemingly possessed by the spirit of Dr. Seuss), and the medieval harkening of the onset of Big River sparks a curiosity on what would come of further exploration down that path. A somber plucked intro to Blood and Fire turns into a rollerskating-down-the-boardwalk jam right out of 1984, flashing million dollar crocodile grins at the Aqua-Net queens popping gum and swooning.

“Told ya I was coming back,” Roth deadpans in the breakdown, and you can almost see his told-you-so smirk as the beast breaks through the clouds and into a brief clearing. Then it’s back down into the fray, Van Halen losing his shit in what’s arguably the album’s most exhilarating solo.

Anything less would’ve been eviscerated by all but the blind devoted, but A Different Kind of Truth will be remembered as evidence that a band can endure every cliche in the book and return, with the right focus, obsessed dedication and mojo, to a sweet spot of rejuvenation — one that holds the hand of nostalgia but doesn’t go for the full embrace, leaning instead, wisely, toward evolution.

Welcome back, boys.

Antiquiet Rating: 4 out of 5


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February 1, 2012 at 10:33 am Quote #3231

guitard
(7354)

One word: WOW!!!


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February 1, 2012 at 11:29 am Quote #3235

ron
(8931)

Same review posted on Crave Online with a different rating:
http://www.craveonline.com/music/articles/182299-review-van-halen-a-different-kind-of-truth
CraveOnline Rating: 9 out of 10


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February 1, 2012 at 1:49 pm Quote #3240

steecoe
(1953)

Awesome review!


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February 1, 2012 at 3:38 pm Quote #3249

Gilligan
(1417)

That’s a great review. Just focused on the music and the band as it should be. And, dang, that guy sounds edjumacated! Those were some big words!


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February 1, 2012 at 4:33 pm Quote #3252

ks34vh
(2119)

I am glad to see this for the boys!


Laughing at the Days Garbage Through Loud Volume, This is “Laughing At Reality”..

VHT Member since 2001


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February 1, 2012 at 6:44 pm Quote #3263

mrmojohalen
(5438)

ron:
Van Halen Come Out Swinging on ‘A Different Kind of Truth’
By Johnny Firecloud
Wednesday, February 1, 2012

the ’80s cock-rock overlords

:mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen:


When you turn on your stereo, does it return the favor?


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February 1, 2012 at 6:56 pm Quote #3264

radikal
(3892)

Happy that VH finally get some serious reviews..will be an awesome tour and hopefully will generate another album cause ED has shit loads to fill albums.. :mrgreen:

By the way if ever you wonder about a “Cock-Rock”



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February 2, 2012 at 11:09 am Quote #3378

ron
(8931)

http://www.sleazeroxx.com/bands/vanhalen/adifferentkindoftruth.shtml

VAN HALEN
A DIFFERENT KIND OF TRUTH
Released February 7, 2012 (Interscope)

CD Track List:
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’
Deluxe Edition DVD: The Downtown Sessions Track List:
01. Panama
02. You And Your Blues (Intro)
03. You And Your Blues
04. Beautiful Girls

Band:
David Lee Roth – vocals
Eddie Van Halen – guitar, keyboards and backing vocals
Wolfgang Van Halen – bass and backing vocals
Alex Van Halen – drums

Production:
Produced by John Shanks and Ross Hogarth.

Review:
I can’t think of a rock album in recent memory that has been as anticipated, polarizing and guarded as Van Halen’s first ‘real’ record in almost 30 years. I say that because, in my opinion, Van Halen began and ended with David Lee Roth at the helm — he brought an unrivaled swagger and confidence to the legendary rockers that was sorely missing upon his departure. Sure the band remained massively successful with Sammy Hagar at the helm, but there is no denying it was a different beast.

The big question now is, can A Different Kind Of Truth match not only its own hype but also compete with one of the most impressive discographies in the annals of hard rock history? The answer has to be no… doesn’t it? Well not so fast, because Van Halen has reworked some old ideas and mixed them with new material for incredible results. Many rock veterans are unable to recapture their signature sound, and while Van Halen may have cheated by raiding their vaults, who really cares when an idea first came to fruition as long as it kicks our asses? So I’m going to completely ignore when, where and how the songs on A Different Kind Of Truth came together and just focus on the now.

When “Tattoo” was released as the first single/video awhile back my high expectations of this CD quickly dropped because it sounded like nothing more than one of Roth’s ill-fated solo ideas. You quickly forget about that misstep though when Eddie Van Halen fires up the fretboard and conjures up his signature sound on “She’s The Woman” — and the boys quickly take you back in time, circa 1979 (for even more Van Halen II memories try “Blood And Fire” on for size). Alex Van Halen pounds away on the drums during the unrelenting “China Town” as if he just had steroids injected straight into his aging arms — this is the Van Halen I remember!

The wicked ride back to their youth continues on “Bullethead”, and anyone who thought Eddie and Dave wouldn’t be able to deliver again can eat their words immediately after playing this scorcher. I started getting worried during the intro of “As Is”, and began to wonder if the band was finally going to attempt being ‘modern’ (that happens later in the forgettable “Honeybabysweetiedoll”), thankfully a full-speed ahead guitar riff kicked in and alleviated all fears — Roth even decided to yammer away in “Hot For Teacher” fashion in a couple spots.

Two-thirds of the way through A Different Kind Of Truth and I have to say I’m very impressed… and things don’t let up. “Outta Space” continues the full-steam ahead onslaught while “Stay Frosty” comes across as “Ice Cream Man” part two. After going out with the 1984 influenced “Big Trouble” and “Beats Workin’” I begin to think back to Sammy Hagar saying he was unimpressed with this CD and wonder to myself what he was listening to? A Different Kind Of Truth may not be the pinnacle of Van Halen’s career but it shines and exceeds every expectation I had (and they were high). To the people who have said Roth can no longer sing, or that Eddie was too fucked-up to once again turn the guitar into a musical weapon — feel free to crawl under your rock now.

A Different Kind Of Truth may be short on new ideas, often sounding like a greatest hits compilation of Roth era songs we hadn’t heard before. However I didn’t want anything ‘different’, I wanted a Van Halen album — and that is exactly what one of rock’s true royalties have delivered. Regardless of how much bad blood has been spilled over the years, of how insane Roth and the Van Halen brothers can act, one thing is certain — when they get together magic happens.

http://www.van-halen.comhttp://www.facebook.com/VanHalenhttp://www.interscope.com

Reviewed by Skid for Sleaze Roxx, February 2012


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February 2, 2012 at 12:17 pm Quote #3382

ron
(8931)

Van Halen, ‘A Different Kind of Truth’ — Album Review
by: Matthew Wilkening

After more than two decades apart, the Van Halen brothers and original lead singer David Lee Roth have turned in a thrilling and terrific new album, ‘A Different Kind of Truth,’ which proves that their chemistry together remains a special and magical thing.

The six classic late ’70s and early ’80s records from the first Roth-fronted lineup of the group set an imposing bar for any Van Halen reunion album. After all the years of traveling separate paths through creative growth and lineup changes, and without original bassist Michael Anthony, it’s very impressive how well Eddie, Alex and David have re-connected with each other.

Unlike the two new Roth-fronted songs on the 1996 ‘Best of’ compilation, which seemed like ill-fitting Sammy Hagar-era compositions (and still had their moments — “Do you believe? / Awww, don’t you trust me?”), you can drop the needle almost anywhere on ‘Truth’ and know instantly who you’re dealing with here.

Of course, that’s partially because the band very wisely stacked the deck a bit by re-working (or sometimes seemingly just re-recording) unreleased songs from as far back as their mid-70s label deal-securing demos into new compositions. If you think this is cheating, and you can keep that silly “purist” scowl on your face while the rest of us are marking out to songs like the electrifying, chill-inducing ‘She’s the Woman,’ well…we feel bad for you.

‘Woman’ is one of three unassailable throwback riff-rockers on ‘A Different Kind of Truth,’ along with the similarly re-purposed ‘Big River’ (which somehow has a touching, melancholy depth) and ‘Outta Space.’ Nearly the whole record is surprisingly aggressive and up-tempo, even newer compositions such as the dizzying ‘As Is’ and the vaguely Iron Maiden-ish ‘China Town.’

In fact, it turns out the somewhat picked-on first single ‘Tattoo’ is about the safest track on the album, and also the only one featuring any kind of discernible keyboards. The only other obvious single candidate would be the sunny, unabashedly sentimental “we made it” anthem ‘Blood and Fire,’ which finds Roth treading the dreaded line of mawkishness but ultimately landing on the correct side.

Van Halen tackles more mature, sophisticated material with ease on one of the album’s early highlights, ‘You and Your Blues.’ The track starts with a staccato, processed riff similar to (gasp!) ‘III’s ‘One I Want’ before heading off into more expansive territory, with some absolutely fantastic group vocal interplay.

Don’t get us wrong, in some cases Anthony’s trademark soaring background singing is missed, but the current lineup (we don’t have album credits, we’re guessing partially Eddie’s son and new bassist Wolfgang) does a great job filling in those gaps sometimes, too. The relaxed tempo of ‘Blues’ is also the perfect showcase for Roth’s weathered voice, which, admittedly, sounds a bit rough and reaching on some of the faster tracks, although not to any enjoyment-dampening level.

OK, we need to wrap this up. Which is too bad, because there’s plenty more to discuss with this record, and it seems safe to say more layers and vocals are going to reveal themselves after a few dozen more listens — are they quoting the Beatles’ ‘Day Tripper’ with that bass line at the end of the album, for example?

But the basic takeaway here is, Van Halen has reunited and made a really damn good comeback album, and there’s going to be very little in the way of automatic “new song bathroom breaks” on their upcoming tour.

Ultimate Classic Rock Rating: 4 of 5


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February 2, 2012 at 4:09 pm Quote #3408

ron
(8931)

BostonHerald.com – Blogs: Guestlisted» Blog Archive » Van Halen’s “A Different Kind of Truth”: A first listen:

Van Halen’s “A Different Kind of Truth”: A first listen

UPDATE: I’m on listen number four now. Wow. These guys rule. Yes, there are problems — production is boring or bad. But there’s almost no filler. Goodness, this is fun.

I’ve listened to Van Halen’s first Roth album in nearly 30 years just once. (Between now and Monday when my Herald review runs — “A Different Kind of Truth” is out Tuesday” — I’ll listen to it another dozen times, but for now…)

Here’s what I’ve learned:

1. David Lee Roth is the Man — OK, I already knew this. But hearing him back with Van Halen doing new stuff is awesome. The album needs a few more “One break, coming up!” moments. But Diamond Dave’s wordplay can still be a karate kick to the groin. Best nuggets are in “Stay Frosty” including “Look beyond the Kung Fu fighting/God is love but get it in writing.”

2. Needs more Eddie solo — Van Halen is 45 percent Roth blabbing and howling and humala bebuhla zeebuhla boobuhla humala bebuhla zeebuhla bopping, and 45 percent Eddie’s guitar (I’ll get to the other 10 percent in my review). The album doesn’t have enough face melting solos. Or maybe it’s just that Eddie’s guitar isn’t crisp enough and pushed down in the mix.

3. Wolfie ain’t half bad — I’d guess dad played a lot of the bass parts on the album but his harmony vocals aren’t that far from Michael Anthony’s.

Time for listen two…


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February 2, 2012 at 10:36 pm Quote #3469

ron
(8931)

LISTENING ROOM:
Not much separates Van Halen 2012 from its 70s, 80s counterpart

Published: Thursday, February 02, 2012

Van Halen
“A Different Kind of Truth”
Interscope

2.5 stars

Van Halen mk.IV — with David Lee Roth, without Michael Anthony — faces an impossible kind of task in trying to better or equal a catalog that’s become legendary in the 28 years since Roth’s last album with the band. If “A Different Kind of Truth” pales in comparison to that iconic output it’s simply because it comes so much further down the road; while it’s certainly not Van Halen’s 1978 debut or “1984,” it certainly fits comfortably in the group’s catalog, and were it released between them “A Different Kind of Truth” would have been welcomed with the same pumping fists that greeted, say, “Diver Down” or “Women and Children First.” Those who like their Van Halen rockin’, riffy and filled with Eddie Van Halen guitar breaks will find an abundance of pleasures in these 13 tracks — some of which were drawn from decades-old demos — including the stomping “Big River,” the beefy “Beats Workin’” and sonic blitzkriegs like “China Town,” “Bullethead” and “Outta Space.” “Stay Frosty” builds from an acoustic, bluesy start into a full-band shuffle and one of Eddie Van Halen’s hottest solos, while “The Trouble With Never” is a funky turn in which Roth asks, perhaps himself and his bandmates, “When was the last time you did something for the first time. The dynamically shifting sonic rides of “Honeybabysweetiedoll” and “As Is,” meanwhile, play to fans of the band’s more adventurous side. There’s not necessarily a great deal here that separates Van Halen 2012 from its late 70s and early 80s counterpart, but let’s be honest — would we really want something that did?


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February 3, 2012 at 3:55 am Quote #3476

animal
(786)

I got my copy of the album today. Damn I have to work so I can’t listen to it over and over.

The first impression after just one time listening to it is simple…………….WAUW……….. it’s loud, it’s heavy, it rocks……….it’s the new Van Halen.

I love the intro of the song “As Is.” I love it when David Lee Roth sings “I Told You I Was Coming Back” in the middle of Blood And Fire. Eddie is kickin’ ass on the guitar. Stay Frosty is my favorite.

Hope this day will pass very quickly so I can go home and listen to the record all weekend long.


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February 3, 2012 at 7:18 am Quote #3481

PT5150
(5510)

Heaviest stuff since Fair Wairning.
All Rockers no ballads.
Ed is on fire solo’s are crazy.Al is doing some crazy double kicking stuff solid as ever.
Wolf awesome job bass right up there in the mix.
Dave vocals are great, singing really well.

Love how heavy HONEYBABYSWEETIEDOLL is, monster guitar…

DVD is great boys loose and having fun.Cool to see Dave’s dog there.

Heaps of promotion from record label..
Think we’ll see a live DVD from 2012 Tour and those spoken videos from the Roxy come out later.

Awesome CD.Sit back with some cold beers and rock out with The greatest Rock’n band ever.

Also loved hearing this from Brett @vhlinks talking to Producer Ross Hograth……”Ross also thought there would for sure be another album.”


EDDIE’S fingers aren’t fingers they are muscle-powered pistons that hammer guitar strings to the fretboard with the force of a rivet gun”.


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February 3, 2012 at 8:41 am Quote #3484

ron
(8931)

Van Halen: A Different Kind of Truth — review

(Interscope)
4 out of 5

Despite the multi-platinum gluttony of the Sammy Hagar era, true Van Halen devotees have never been in any doubt about who they want to front their favourite band. Some 28 years after Jump and Hot for Teacher, David Lee Roth has squeezed back into his old spandex pants, his lascivious yelping at last reunited with legendary guitarist Eddie Van Halen’s nimble-fingered pyrotechnics. In truth, this would have to be a dismal affair to fail to outstrip 1998′s scorned Van Halen III, but once the DLR-related euphoria dies down, A Different Kind of Truth is a frequently thrilling return. These songs crackle, fizz and bulge with priapic exuberance, and not just due to the reliably demented Roth. Seemingly inspired by the presence of his 20-year-old son Wolfgang on bass, Van Halen is on extraordinary form, whether churning out sumptuous grooves on Tattoo and Big River, or gleefully setting his fretboard alight on China Town and the bug-eyed Bullethead. Against the odds, the party metal kings are back and blazing. Fun times.


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