Review Summary: An abstract about the best Van Halen album to date
Van Halen owed to themselves and to all the fans a record like this. It has been almost 30 years of waiting. Now, the question is who did wait? Hard rock and heavy metal surely didn’t. They have evolved. The fans didn’t. Van Halen were forgotten in the 90s and 00s and these are 20 whole years of new music recordings! Of course they will sell out the arenas in the 2012 tour but that doesn’t mean necessarily anything. Nostalgia is a big money spender.
Even if I want to talk more about the feeling of the album and not the songs, I must say that I consider it to be the best Van Halen album to date. It has an excellent single, Tattoo is a song that made instant impact to me, smart ass lyrics, catchy melody, I can imagine me singing along through a kick ass concert. Blood and fire is Van Halen-ish as hell, you can’t resist its charm. Even Bullethead has a heavy metal riff that would make some wannabies blush away their albums.
If I am informed right, this material is based on demos from the seventies but don’t be startled because it sounds modern, the production is bombastic. Don’t expect something innovative, though. Let’s borrow a line from the lyrics, to describe the album. We’ve got the first six albums…(music playing)…”and then something crazy happens and boom!!”…..from 1984, we space travel to 2012.
This is how this album feels to me. A big space travel from the eighties to today. Everything is played to perfection, like the band stayed locked inside the studio for 28 years, not spending a day away from each other. The guitar sounds unique, riff are tossed everywhere. Seriously, you can’t do any better. If you want to listen to some quality riffs, trust the masters. Eddie is last man that progressed the way hard rock/heavy metal is played, so he knows what he’s doing.
David Lee Roth is indeed a clown for the ages, shouting, yelling, singing occasionally and bringing the house down with energy. Maybe it’s the studio that made him sound like that. Maybe not. The rest of the band is being overshadowed but still make the sound tight and focused.
The thing that changed is the vibe I get from this album’s music. During the first albums, I sensed a band that wants to prove something. I sensed minds, qualities and egos contradicting each other. Eddie wanted to be a guitar hero, Roth wanted to be a rich pop star and have a good time. These notions made the band unique, but their albums a battlefield.
Their first albums are all uneven, with a lot of fillers along with the genius, some emotionless guitar techniques and some stupid songs, intentionally dumbed down to be happy-stupid pop songs. In “a different kind of truth” this is not the case and this is my shot at what the title means. They are different but still the same persons. The past was true and today is a different kind of truth. More mature.
Today is a true kind of excellent rockers, past their prime, doing their thing flawlessly. The offering is finally balanced. It is balanced between catchy refrains, smoking solos, arrogant but smart lyrics. Everyone gets equally his share in the front-light. It is focused: No ballads, no keyboards, just hard rock from the start to the finish. Actually the album is raw, you hold your breath through the listening.
In 2012, they are not going to conquer the world, nor offer a breakthrough in the way the guitar is played. The goal of the new album is to have a good time and play live. Riding to the sunset for a last time. Maybe a live dvd. Maybe another compilation. Pffftt…Who cares? I never looked for sincerity and ethics in rock stars. Do your thing, just play these hellish reefs and make more Tattoos. Tattoo, tattoo..(music starts)