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Van Halen: A Different Kind Of Truth

Van Halen
A Different Kind Of Truth
(Interscope Records)

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What is evident from the opening new single “Tattoo” from the return of a David Lee Roth-led Van Halen is that this V.H. does not sport ex-bassist/harmony vocalist Michael Anthony…and he is surely missed. Really, Van Halen for me was always Michael Anthony’s bass playing as much as his higher harmony vocals, which are missed on the chorus of “Tattoo” and all throughout A Different Kind Of Truth.

Still “She’s The Woman” rocks a little harder, with Eddie and his drummer brother Alex chunking along just fine, and “China Town” opens with some blistering Eddie pyrotechnics and just speeds along, one example of heavy rockin’ evident on a lot of the tunes here.

“Blood and Fire” sounds like V.H.’s old “Little Guitars” and I’m not surprised seeing as the buzz on ADKOT is that a lot of these tunes are older demos of V.H. tunes that never made it or were ever fleshed out years ago. “Bullethead” is a pretty tight little tune that uses the best of DLR’s swagger. Like on “China Town,” Alex is pushing hard here to keep this one fast and furious. Eddie’s playing here is the best on the record and “As Is” is fast, fun, and “Honeybabysweetiedoll” sounds like nothing much more than for Eddie to get a chance to wail with his brother, which they do really well on another blistering, heavy number.

David Lee Roth finally sounds like David Lee Roth on “Outta Space” and “Stay Frosty” (ironically sounding a lot like “Ice Cream Man”) a welcome change of Eddie playing some nice quick acoustic runs, the tune breaks apart though when things get loud. “Big River” is a big try at a big commercial tune, better than “Tattoo” actually. It’s not a bad tune at all, with a truly inspired Eddie V. lead.

Different Kind Of Truth is not breaking any new ground or imparting a different truth and I do miss Michael Anthony (Eddie’s son Wolfgang plays bass here), but it’s about what you’d expect from the return of David Lee Roth.

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