Reviews

This topic has 32 voices, contains 90 replies, and was last updated by  thismusicsux 321 days ago.

February 4, 2012 at 10:35 pm Quote #3608

PT5150
(5509)

mrmojohalen: Listen to HONEYBABYSWEETIEDOLL, at 3:18 you can hear a dog bark.

Russell’s in da house!

——————————————————————————–
RUSSEL AND SHERMAN CAN HAVE A BARK OFF ON THE NEXT VH 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 4, 2012 at 11:56 pm Quote #3610

ron
(8929)

On Second Thought: Van Halen — A Different Kind of Truth (2012)
Posted by Fred Phillips
February 4, 2012 8:44 am

I stand corrected — and pleasantly surprised, too.

When I went into my first listen of Van Halen’s A Different Kind of Truth, I was expecting a steaming pile of mediocrity. After a few spins, I think the team in charge of promoting the record has done a big disservice to it in the clips that they’ve allowed to dribble out to the public. Those clips, with the exception of “The Trouble with Never,” which I’ll get to in a minute, have largely been forgettable and often not even the best parts of the songs.

Take “Stay Frosty,” for example. The clip out there makes it sound like a weak attempt to recreate “Ice Cream Man.” It is, of course, an attempt to recreate that song, but by the time you get to the turbo-charged hard rock section later in the tune, you don’t really care. It’s great stuff, and it’s what Van Halen should sound like.

Then there’s the lead single “Tattoo.” Granted, the song is a bit of an earworm after a few listens, but it hardly represents what this record is about. It’s not the kind of track that makes you want to run right out and get the record when it hits shelves on Tuesday. Which brings me back to “The Trouble with Never.” It seems like the obvious track to launch this record. It shows in its opening moments what just about every fan of early Van Halen wants to know — that the band is back and rejuvenated. It opens with this funky, rocking guitar riff that leads into David Lee Roth’s inimitable, over-the-top delivery. It has swagger. It has attitude. It’s an announcement that this is more than a cash-in on Roth being back in the band. There’s real energy here that I haven’t heard in Van Halen in a while.

That spirit carries throughout most of the record. It’s loaded with big, crazy riffing from Eddie Van Halen. My personal favorite is the slightly middle-eastern flavored bit on “Honeybabysweetiedoll,” which leads into a crunchy, heavy, metallic verse lick. It’s not the best song on the record, but it’s my favorite guitar piece. That heaviness returns again on the opening of “As Is,” another favorite, before it busts out into a classic swinging Van Halen run. “China Town” opens, as many classic Van Halen songs do, with a tapped lead lick from Eddie, then kicks into hyperdrive with that classic driving Alex Van Halen drum beat. It’s one of a number of high-energy, low BS songs that includes “Outta Space,” which rocks hard on the lines of “Atomic Punk.”

Eddie Van Halen’s licks on this record have more personality than they’ve had since probably Fair Warning. Look no farther than the opening of “Beats Working” to hear it. There’s some soulfulness in “Big River,” and “She’s the Woman” feels like something that would have been at home on their first record. There is, of course, a good reason for that. Much has been made of the fact that the band dug back into its archives to resurrect some old tunes and redo them for A Different Kind of Truth. So what? When “As Is” or “The Trouble With Never” comes blasting out of my speakers, I couldn’t care less if they were written yesterday or in 1976. I’m just glad to be hearing them, glad to have a Van Halen record that I can crank up to start the party again.

As I listen to the record, I keep coming back to one word — swagger. That could be a complete review of this album in itself. It’s something that the best work from Van Halen has always had, and something that, for me, was often missing in the post-DLR version of the band. Regardless of what the actual dynamic in the band is these days — and I have little hope that EVH and DLR can coexist on a permanent basis — A Different Kind of Truth sounds like a band that is reenergized and having a blast.

Eddie is shredding away at his best, Alex is laying down some classic Van Halen beats and David Lee Roth is, well, David Lee Roth. He’s zany, over-the-top and sometimes a bit cheesy, but all of those things are what we loved about him in the first place. He’s not and has never been a better singer than Sammy Hagar, but this is rock ‘n’ roll. The best singer isn’t always the best guy for the job. As for the new addition to the band, Wolfgang, I think he’s a better player than original bassist Michael Anthony, who wasn’t really known for his chops (see “Runnin’ with the Devil”). But I do agree that this record really misses Anthony’s vocal harmonies, and it just would have been nice to have all four guys back together. That, however, is about the only thing I can find to complain about, and given how good the music is, I’m not likely to complain about it long or often.

In the coming weeks, a lot of people will have a lot of things to say about this record, and I’m sure not all of them will be good. I probably won’t hear them, though, because I’ll have A Different Kind of Truth on and my stereo will be cranked up to 11.


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February 5, 2012 at 1:47 am Quote #3614

steecoe
(1953)

“….the slightly middle-eastern flavored bit on “Honeybabysweetiedoll,….” That was the exact description I thought of!!
I had a religious experience to this song friday night @ 10:08 pm. I had ADKOT playing on the ipod dock clock radio thingy in the bathroom, I knew that if there was anything that could motivate me to clean the nastiest room in the house it was going to be brand spanking new VAN HALEN 4.0 :-P :mrgreen: :lol: :-P :!:
So while scrubbing the toilet you kind of put your mind in outta space anyway as a distraction from the nasty, well, I totally got lost in honeybabysweetiedoll & had a “HOLY FUCK” moment more than once, so intense it brought tears to my eyes! When was the last time I did something for the first time? 10:08 pm Friday February 3rd 2012 8)

I love this VH album so much I wanna have sex with it. If ADKOT was a woman, her pussy would taste like a warm sweet buttered honey roll & her ass would taste like minty bubble gum & you could bet your assless chaps I’d be going to town baby :twisted: :evil: 8-O :mrgreen: :mrgreen:
Van Halen 4.0 is like Viagra on crack & I am addicted to the hard on it’s giving me. Just enough of the old & familiar well balanced with the new & amazing!

Damn it’s a good time to be a Van Halen fan. 2 weeks to Louisville!


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February 5, 2012 at 2:14 am Quote #3619

Wes
(6114)

I’m with ya, Steve….except for the toilet cleaning thing. That’s woman job shit right there, bro…just don’t tell my wife I said that. lol :oops:

I just got done listening to ADKOT from start to finish for the first time (with a 12 pack nearby), and I have to say….I fucking love it! Not sure what is my favorite track yet, but I’ve always dug Big Trouble (Big River). There is a nice mix on this album of heavy, blues, pop, old rock, new rock, big cock….oh wait, not the last thing. I was thinking of Randy again. :mrgreen:



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February 5, 2012 at 5:34 am Quote #3624

guitard
(7354)

Wes:
There is a nice mix on this album of heavy, blues, pop, old rock, new rock, big cock….oh wait, not the last thing. I was thinking of Randy again. :mrgreen:



Whoa motherfucker – don’t even try that! Guy is the one who posted the pic of the big cock.


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February 5, 2012 at 12:27 pm Quote #3643

Wes
(6114)

LOL….. :mrgreen:



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February 5, 2012 at 12:49 pm Quote #3647

mikeyV
(335)

The Fred Phillips “Second Thought” is EXACTLY what I have thought of this record. They never release the good clips of the songs, people have got to listen to this CD it fuckin rocks. And who cares if it was written it 1976 or last year, its still VAN HALEN blastin down the doors.

MikeyV


The Ultimate in Van Halen Vinyl

Proud Member Since the First Year– Both VHTrading and the Band


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February 5, 2012 at 1:09 pm Quote #3650

dokkendude
(3018)

don’t give a fuck if it’s new or old this shit just rocks!! 8)



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February 5, 2012 at 1:50 pm Quote #3652

radikal
(3892)

guitard: Whoa motherfucker – don’t even try that! Guy is the one who posted the pic of the big cock.



“What you talking about ..Willis?” I just posted a rock I dont know where you guys are heading with that cock thing? That is where Sammy got his inspiration for Top of The world and right now he is actually sitting on top of that rock listening to ADKOT and loving it !!!!


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February 5, 2012 at 2:29 pm Quote #3657

VAiN
(2767)

Honeybabysweetiedoll is my favorite so far.. the playing on that is just nuts. It’s all over the place and very ‘live’ sounding – note the lack of a rhythm guitar under the solos – beautiful! I feel like this is the ‘Girl Gone Bad’ of this album – a pure jammer.

Feb 18 can’t come soon enough! I hope they play the bulk of this album in concert.


Resident dickhead. I will hurt your delicate feelings.


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February 5, 2012 at 2:51 pm Quote #3660

ron
(8929)

Van Halen – A Different Kind Of Truth full album review track-by-track
Eddie blazes, Dave bellows in smashing comeback
Joe Bosso, Sun 5 Feb 2012, 5:54 pm UTC

MusicRadar rates rock’s most-anticipated comeback CD

It’s been nearly three decades since the Van Halen brothers and David Lee Roth made an actual album together. During that time, they’ve split up, played with other partners, traded barbs, come together and broke up again, traded more barbs, and what have you.

In 2007, however, the VH landscape changed dramatically: Roth rejoined – for a real tour, not just a quickie track for a “best-of” collection – and founding member Michael Anthony was jettisoned in favor of Eddie’s son, Wolfgang. All looked set for what might be some new music…and then it didn’t. After a successful (and trouble-free) run of arena dates, the Van Halen camp went silent.

Early last year, though, word came out that Van Halen were recording an album, which sent naysayers and even an ex-band member (Sammy Hagar) into brickbat-mode. They’ll never finish it. They’re just recording old songs, they can’t write new stuff…and on and on.

Well, that sound you hear, the one rising up to meet Eddie’s chainsaw guitar, is of Van Halen – three guys in their late 50s (Ed, David and Alex) and a 21-year-old upstart (Wolf) – having the last laugh. A big reason for their glee might steam from the fact that what they’ve done here is unprecedented, actually, using demos of old, unused songs for the basis of a good portion of the new material, re-inventing and re-imaging themselves in the process.

It’s a genius move, of course (“Hey, we can’t write young, so let’s take songs from when were young!”), and it makes you wonder why other acts haven’t done it before. What’s remarkable, though, is that rather than sounding like three AARP subscribers strolling down memory lane with “the kid,” the Van Halen of 2012 comes off as age-proof, confident monsters, chewing up the scenery with the top down and flipping the bird to anyone who’s got a problem with that.

Oh, and get this: there’s not one wimpy “power ballad” to be found. You can place this album right alongside Women And Children First and not feel as though you’ve just committed audio sacrilege. A Different Kind Of Truth will be released on 7 February. On the following pages, we deliver the track-by-track verdict.

1 /13
Tattoo

You’ve got to hand it to Van Halen: Most bands sneak their wobbly (or just plain lame) tracks towards the end of a record, hoping somehow that no one will notice, but Eddie and co. front-load A Different Kind Of Truth with Tattoo, the weakest four minutes and 43 seconds on the disc, one which many fans will skip right over or edit from playlists altogether.

Interesting, and somewhat shockingly, the tune sticks in your head, especially Eddie’s sassy, greasy guitar hook line which rides atop a mid-tempo, chugging rhythm, a recognizable VH strut.

Roth hams it up in a variety of voices, groaning like a Don Cornelius impersonator one second and bellowing like his hand is caught in a car door the next. Eddie rips a spirited, “best-of-me”-type solo, one which would ordinarily qualify for greatness were it not for the fact that true awesomeness is just around the corner.

2 /13
She’s The Woman

The doozy that is this album officially starts here. Smartass guitar squeals, hyperactive bass, walloping drums and Dave chortling lines like “I wanna be your knight in a shining pickup truck” – it’s classic attitude that burns a hole in everything the band has done since 1984.

Revisiting one’s youth is easy when you have crib sheets, and in the case of She’s The Woman, the track began as a demo in 1976 – a section was lifted and used for Mean Street from Fair Warning, and what’s left shares that song’s vicious thump. But what some have attacked as lazy songwriting is a canny stroke, once which allows the band to reference their past, do a fresh update, without the embarrassment of Old Timers day at the stadium.

The pre-solo breakdown sees the players volleyballing parts impressively, but when it’s Eddie’s turn to spike he devastates, sparking up the fretboard with genuine A-game gusto. It isn’t hard to imagine him smirking with this massive win.

3 /13
You And Your Blues

Eddie’s tone is strident, and he’s chopping down trees with a staccato riff that delivers real kicks to the chest. Dave matches him move for move, tossing out pissed-off parting shots to a once-cool woman whose 19th nervous breakdowns (yes, he throws in that title) have become a major drag.

Halfway in, the feverish musical groove changes up and Ed, Al and Wolfgang lock horns, wrestling a snakey pre-chorus run to the ground right as it bursts open, revealing the guitar god in full flourish. YouTube teachers: you’ve got some work to do with this baby.

4 /13
China Town

Thirty-two years ago, Eddie Van Halen had guitarists scratching their heads with his nutso tapping that introduced Mean Streets, and he beguiles again here in a video game-like opener that bears repeated listens.

China Town is fast-paced stuff; indeed, the galloping bass-and-drum pattern is more classic Iron Maiden than VH, but it’s one that Eddie lays bold claim to, accentuating Roth’s shouts and wails with tantilizing wah treatments.

Alex keeps the breakneck pace cooking (this guy is 58? Unbelievable!), right on through a wiseacre chordal workout that brings the tune to a sudden, definitive end.

5 /13
Blood And Fire

Here’s the real single for you, a rousing, hey-let’s-pat-ourselves-on-the-backs-for-getting-here victory lap that shucks corn and schmaltz and hits all the right marks.

After a Little Guitar-ish, clean-toned plucked start, Blood And Fire does a Back To The Future jaunt, rocketing us to Diver Down-era VH, with cymbals splashing, dirty chords popping and gang-sung backgrounds rising from the mix. It’s all a bit wistful, and for a moment one imagines what Michael Anthony could have brought to the proceedings, especially when Roth drops the deadpan lines, “Told ya I was comin’ back. Say you missed me.”

For guitarists, the highlight of most Van Halen songs – their raison d’être, in point of fact – is the solo, and here Eddie stops the clocks, dispatching an age-defying star-turn that crackles with exuberance and purpose.

6 /13
Bullethead

Bullethead is another look at Van Halen’s back pages (1977, to be exact), and fittingly, it feels a bit like the band is providing a West Coast metal-funk answer to Queen’s Sheer Heart Attack. Check out Dave doing the rock-stutter: “Ba-ba-ba-ba-ba-bullethead!” Great stuff.

The whole thing sprints past in two and a half minutes – Eddie uncorks a liquidy, phaser-enhanced solo, while uncle and nephew keep all hands on the throttle – and during that time, reflection feels like reinvention. A ripper.

7 /13
As Is

At first, As Is might just be the guys applying fresh paint to Everybody Wants Some – the reverberating, tribal drums summon up a wall of sludgy, ornery guitar squalls – but at the snap of a finger, they attack a Byzantine progression that hits peaks and valleys at vicious speeds.

It’s striking to note how uptempo everything is. Throughout the whole of the album, Van Halen sprint out of the blocks and keep right on going. The only change-up here is at the three-quarter mark, when Eddie throws in a rough and ragged, drop-dead blues riff. But it’s a momentary water gulp that dashes off madly, culminating in a demented E-Bow exploration into the outer limits.

8 /13
Honeybabysweetiedoll

No, it’s not an homage to Band Of Skulls, but it’s just as au courant, smacking you upside the head with radio waves battling Eddie’s pick scrapes and various and sundry scarifying sounds.

The album’s a keeper – this is what you’re saying to yourself right now as the guitarist plays off a massive, red-hot rhythm with stomping, grinding chords that epoxy their way into your senses.

Structurally, the song is free-form – Roth dives, dodges and claws his way through it all with hysterical, light-on-his-feet agility – but that hardly matters when the band works up such a lather, playing their own game and thumbing their noses at convention.

9 /13
The Trouble With Never

Roth-era Van Halen always brought a little bit of funk – the singer’s get-down-and-par-tay! sensibilities were neatly tucked inside Eddie’s flanged, pelvis-aimed chords – and the band gets into a proper groove with this modern-day, wah-riff knockout.

Loose, spiraling guitar lines fly out like sparks, but Wolfie and Alex catch them all, rising and falling with each hairy twist in the narrative. Eddie’s moment at the podium is another wood-burner, a goosebump-inducing, Red Bull-soaked thriller that works as a song-within-a-song but doesn’t overwhelm Roth’s hip trip.

10 /13
Outta Space

Beginning as the song Let’s Get Rockin’ from 1977, Outta Space has been fattened up and hydrated. What’s interesting, however, is that, fter all these years, it’s something of a vocal vs guitar battle between Roth and Eddie – where the two butting heads even way back when?

There’s a bit of On Fire flavor, but now it’s made amorphous. Despite recognizable flashes, one can’t easily detect standard songcraft – and that’s not a knock, either; it’s thrilling to revel in the ways Van Halen burn up the road behind them.

And hey, is that a Hot For Teacher nod? Absolutely. It’s there in the ascending pattern Alex and Wolf dig into that underpins Ed’s solo.

11 /13
Stay Frosty

Can referencing one’s own work get a little too close to the bone? That’s the question when it comes to Stay Frosty, an off-kilter, bleary-eyed reboot of Ice Cream Man, but one with some baroque touches to match its barroom blues.

And like its predecessor, Stay Frosty spins around from acoustic swagger and bolts into a souped-up electric boogie, one that easily could have come from ZZ Top. No, the wheel hasn’t been re-imagined, but the gettin’ there’s still fun. When Alex rat-a-tat-tats rim clicks, even the most cynical of listeners has to tap his toes.

12 /13
Big River

By now, most bands would be lobbing softballs, but Van Halen still pack a punch and deliver reasons to keep listening with a riveting curiosity piece that begins gently enough and turns something vaguely demonic.

Rig River just might be the most original piece of music on A Different Kind Of Truth, and although there’s a dash of Runnin’ With The Devil here and there, and at times it sounds as though the group is tipping their hats to early Fogerty, it’s a hard nut to crack. But the frenetic pace at which the gang paddles down this “River” wild is what makes it a journey worth taking.

13 /13
Beats Workin’

The embers are still red-hot on this coulda-been-a-first-track album closer. Eddie’s amp emits Eruption-ish gales to accompany a smoking wah riff, one which puts most guitarists to shame.

While taking in all that’s special about Beats Workin’ – and despite its cavalier title, it’s pretty clear that these dudes put in the hours – one has to give a shout-out to background vocals, always a hallmark of VH recordings, and the tradition is upheld here. Like flipping through pages in a yearbook, there’s a glimpse of Beautiful Girls one second, and then we’re onto Feel Your Love Tonight, but as much as this is deja vu comfort food, it’s being served up fresh…disarmingly so.

In the end, Eddie stretches out for a luxurious guitar solo, and it’s a pisser, too – the guy’s earned his moment in the sun, and he’s going to reach down between his legs, ease the seat back…you know how the rest of it goes.

The extended feedback wail at the end recalls several seminal Van Halen moments, but hopefully it’s one we’ll be revising soon. Twenty-eight years might work for Classmates.com, but as for the rest of us… C’mon, guys, give us a break!


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February 5, 2012 at 7:31 pm Quote #3692

JasonA
(1010)

http://www.examiner.com/music-in-boise/cd-review-van-halen-a-different-kind-of-truth-retread-or-reinvigorated-rock-review

CD Review: Van Halen – A Different Kind of Truth, retread or reinvigorated rock?
Rustyn Rose
Boise Music Examiner

For Boise fans, this coming Tuesday, February 7, will be your first taste of the mighty Van Halen in 28 years. The classic Van Halen line-up you know and love returns with its first full-length studio effort since 1984′s aptly titled, 1984. The first things fans should expect is a significant amount of media backlash and harsh criticism. A large part of that will have to do with the band’s admitted revamping of cast off tunes from their heyday back in the early 70s. The rest will simply be the need to judge the fact that they have reunited after all these years. Is this about money or are they serious this time? Let’s face it, Dave and Eddie have not been able to stay on speaking terms for any length of time in years. How long this lasts will be a measure of how much the guys have grown over the years. That said, A Different Kind of Truth should simply be taken at face, er, ear value for what the band has given us today.

In fact, it is disingenuous to call this the classic original line-up. Stalwart bassist Michael Anthony is still hanging out with Van Hagar compatriot Sammy Hagar in Chickenfoot. In his stead is Eddie’s son Wolfgang. Wolfie is a stellar guitarist in his own right, and while bass is not his true passion, he does a very solid job on this album, and his playing really vibes with that Anthony groove.

The album kicks off with the debut single, “Tattoo”, which led to many people writing the album off from the start. Yet there’s no denying the song has a certain addictive charm, and it sticks with you. Roth’s trademark humorous lyrics are in full swing here. The song is said to be a reworked take on their 70′s unreleased track “Down In Flames”.

“She’s The Woman” is a revitalized track from the band’s 1976 Gene Simmons (KISS) funded/produced demo (entitles Zero in many bootleg circles). With a modern production, this is a solid track, that would have fit well on any of the band’s early albums. So nothing to complain about here.

Next up is “You and Your Blues”, a track that harks back to the band’s early 80′s era. In fact this may have been based off an instrumental Eddie had written for a film score circa 1984 (Wildlife). This is a fun number, with Roth’s lyrical play on the Rolling Stones’ “19th Nervous Breakdown”. Classic Eddie riffing and solos.

The intro to “Chinatown” takes us the farthest away from the classic VH signature we are used to. But it ultimately jumps into some serious heaviness, and gives us sense that this is something new, whether it is or not. A fresh feel and arguably the heaviest track on the album.

The aforementioned Wildlife soundtrack resurfaces on “Blood and Fire” with a track once called “Ripley”. The band sounds wonderful here, with great harmonies and a hooky chorus.

The band pulls out an old school 70′s riff for “Bullethead”, another decent track that could have fallen off the Women and Children First album.

Alex kick’s off “As Is” with his big drums, before the band jumps into a rollicking signature Van Halen romp. Nice breakdown guitar solo followed by some classic Roth talk-rock fills. Think “Hot For Teacher” revisited.

Eddie and Wolfgang get funky on “Honeybabysweetydoll”, with grooving playful track. Eddie’s trademark experimentation surfaces a bit, and his son shines on this one.

One of the album’s standout tracks is “The Trouble With Never”, which finds Roth once again playing tongue-in-cheek with the lyrics, while the band chugs along with that trademark VH style. I don’t recall this riff from back in the day, so this may be all new. Regardless it’s a great track, that reminds us what we fell in love with these guys for.

From the Gene Simmons demos comes “Let’s Get Rockin’” retrofitted for a new era into “Outta Space”. Not bad, but nothing to hang your hat on.

The “Ice Cream Man” is older and wiser these days. He’s living a chill, laid-back life now, and reminds us all to “Stay Frosty”.

“Big River” once again goes back to the Zero demos with a track originally called “Big Trouble”. Good stuff. Classic VH that’s hard not to like.

After a big building intro, the final track, “Beats Working” closes us out with yet another from the early demos. This one called “Put Out The Lights”. Hey, if you’ve already written a decent song, why write a new one, beat’s working, right? I thought Dave would appreciate that.

So there you have it, 13 retread or reinvigorated tracks, depending on your point of view. So often we bash bands for not sounding like they did in the day, or we bash them for not progressing. There’s no winning amongst the fans or critics at times. Here we have an album full of the classic sound but with modern touches. It’s a very solid album that could have been released in the late 70s or early 80s and it would have gone platinum overnight with fans calling it brilliant. Alex still plays some of the most thundering drums around, Eddie is still a guitar hero for every generation, and Diamond Dave still has that over-the-top charisma and king-of-the world grin. With A Different Kind of Truth, what you get is a new perspective of an old picture. Do you still love it as much? Or is it just nice to look at once in a while? Van Halen has given fans what they have longed for, a true reunion with the classic sound. There’s some excellent stuff here, with some average stuff. Just like all their early albums. This is a very good hard rock record full of blistering guitar work, devil-tongued lyrics, and a ballsy rhythm section all pounding along on a mix of mid-tempo and high energy rockers. Everything you’d expect from Van Halen, but less than you were hoping for.

Rating: 7.2/10


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February 5, 2012 at 7:35 pm Quote #3693

JasonA
(1010)

http://www.hitfix.com/blogs/the-beat-goes-on/posts/album-review-van-halens-a-different-kind-of-truth
Album Review: Van Halen’s ‘A Different Kind of Truth’

Do Eddie Van Halen and Diamond Dave still have it?

By Melinda Newman

Van Halen’s first new studio album with David Lee Roth in 28 years is named “A Different Kind of Truth,” but the Feb. 7 release could have just as easily been called “I Will Not Go Quietly” “Truth” is a heavy slab of rock delivered on a concrete pillow.

As fans already know, most of the riffs/ideas for the new tunes are from never-finished songs of yore: “She’s The Woman” is from a tune originally demoed in the ‘70s, while obsessive fans instantly noted the similarity between first single “Tattoo” and “Down To Flames,” a 1977 song played live, but never released on an album. Roth told the Los Angeles Times that the band sought to link its past with its present by taking the most promising chunks of coal from four decades ago and polishing them into diamonds.

That sets up the challenge inherent in the John Shanks-produced “Truth”: how to create an album that doesn’t sound like retreads. And to Van Halen’s credit, the band largely succeeds, but there are some serious gaps.

The good new (actually the great news) first: Eddie Van Halen lets loose on some riffs on “Truth” that will make longtime fans cry with joy. If he’s no longer in tip-top form, he’s still close enough that there are many moments throughout the album to dazzle Eddie wanna-bes. Plus, there seems to be no style that he doesn’t pull off here. If you’re an Eddie acolyte, you will not be disappointed. Alex Van Halen thumps the drums a plenty: just check out the crunchy opening of “As Is” to hear the brothers VH spreading some of that genetic magic that siblings seem to mysteriously share (and check out Eddie’s solo around 2:20). Roth’s voice is not the soaring, singular rock wonder that it used to be, but he’s still got plenty of horsepower under the hood and he’s not afraid to unleash it.

The bad news is the songs are largely hookless. There are great hints and ideas that trail off into nothingness or into guitar solos to distract from the fact that the song is on a bullet train to nowhere. For example, “Blood And Fire” opens to exciting promise with light, very catchy playing by Eddie and a strong verse filled with harmonies, but there’s never a sturdy enough chorus to hang any of it on, so instead, Eddie shifts into a ripping solo. It’s exhilarating, but can’t they do both any more?

Too often, in what perhaps is emblematic of their relationship, Eddie and Roth seems to be working on different songs and competing with each other instead of complementing. For example, Roth’s first words on “China Town” are a take-off on the most famous New York Post headline of all time: “Headless body found in topless bar,” but the rest of the song is all Eddie’s, from his mad-scientist opening to breathtaking solos. Roth’s words never fit in with the song. They don’t need to be a lockstep on each song—for example, on “Outta Space,” Roth is going on about this Facebook page (yeah, that’s not going to sound dated), but whatever Eddie and Alex are doing around that works just fine, instead of fighting against it.

Many of the songs, including “Tattoo,” “The Trouble with Never,” “As Is,” “Frosty,” and “honeybabysweetiedoll,” feature spoken interludes by Roth. It reaches the level of parody on “The Trouble With Never,” an otherwise fine song (one of the album’s best), when Roth drops his voice down an octave to talk about his “wicked, wicked ways.” Sure, his talking break worked to iconic effect in “Panama,” but that’s not a device that wears well generally.

“Big River,” the album’s penultimate tune, sounds like everyone’s finally rowing the same way, plus it has a “Flirtin’ With the Devil” opening vibe. Great vocals by Roth, inspired playing by Alex, and guitar wizardry by Eddie all meld into something strong.

The Van Halens and Roth throw every guitar lick and vocal yelp that made someone love the band 30 years ago in here, but they’re competing with a mighty, mighty past. As I wrote earlier this week when reviewing Van Halen’s show in Los Angeles, the three new songs played that night fit in perfectly in concert as glue between the past hits and I don’t mean that as a diss. In some ways, that’s the very best they could have hoped for. Given all band’s past dramatics, “Truth” could have been a train wreck of epic proportion and it’s far from it, but it just has enough flashes of past brilliance to wish that the same care that seemed to go into the performances had gone into the songs.


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February 6, 2012 at 4:10 am Quote #3710

animal
(786)

I simply love the new album. After listening it over and over and over again, it gets better every time.

Have to say they saved the best for last. oneybabysweetiedoll, stay Frosty and Big River are my favorites. Bullethead is my least favorite.


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February 6, 2012 at 6:10 am Quote #3713

vhroxu2
(1789)

animal:
I simply love the new album. After listening it over and over and over again, it gets better every time.

Same here.


Vhtrading member since 2004.


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