Release Date: Feb 7, 2012
Record label: Interscope
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Contemporary Pop/Rock, Album Rock, Heavy Metal, Hard Rock, Arena Rock, Pop-Metal
We've earned this, right? When David Lee Roth and Van Halen went down their own separate mean streets in the Eighties, who paid the price? We did. Van Halen fans everywhere have suffered through the years, waiting for this reunion. We don't need it to be Fair Warning or Van Halen II. We don't even need it to be Diver Down.
No new Van Halen songs will ever be able to top arena-filling classics like ”Unchained” or ”Panama.” The band agrees: The bulk of A Different Kind of Truth, their first full-length David Lee Roth-led outing in 28 years, is made up of new takes on old demos. The result is a gloriously satisfying cop-out — the speed-demon grooves on ”Bullethead” and ”She’s the Woman” let Eddie Van Halen tap into late-’70s pyrotechnics and Roth indulge in his contagious sense of huckster tomfoolery. A- Best Tracks:Twisty, groovy She’s the WomanStuttering talking blues Stay Frosty .
VAN HALEN play the Air Canada Centre March 17. See listing. Rating: NNNN Those doubtful about Van Halen's 12th album, their first since 1984 with - hallelujah! - David Lee Roth back on vocals, and with Eddie Van Halen's son Wolfgang replacing Michael Anthony on bass, should be reminded that many of its songs were built from old demos and lyrics written in the 70s.
Reinventing Van Halen proved to be a tricky task, so Eddie Van Halen proceeded to reunite the band…a move so obvious it should have come as no surprise that it was easier said than done. Sammy Hagar was brought in for a 2004 hits album and an accompanying tour, a project that collapsed in acrimony so noxious that founding bassist Michael Anthony left with the Red Rocker. Eddie brought in his son Wolfgang as Anthony's replacement and began a prolonged courtship of David Lee Roth that first led to a tour, and then to this, A Different Kind of Truth, the band's first album in 14 years and their first with Roth in twice that long.
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 (see page 12). 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.
A lot of the songs on the first album in 28 years from the classic [a]Van Halen[/a] line-up (with Dave Lee Roth singing) are based on demos they made in the ’70s. Good idea: the last thing you want from these eternal adolescents is their take – musically or lyrically –- on the modern world. So it’s goofball guitars and innuendo all the way. One song is called ‘She’s The Woman’ and features the line: “[i]Let me be your knight in shining pickup truck[/i]”.
Review Summary: Cynics will have to hold their “Van Kroeger” jokes for the time being.‘Lead Single Syndrome’... It’s a theory that yours truly has concerning the first single from many albums being overly derided due to individuals not believing the track to be the best representation of its record. Labels are not foolish, however, and in most cases, a lead single will in fact be either the best or most accessible song from its release.
“Cool” gets thrown around a lot, but most critics and fans alike wouldn’t ascribe the word to Van Halen – not even frontman David Lee Roth. In a recent interview with The Toronto Sun, Diamond Dave admitted, “We were never cool. Even when we were happening, even when we were the flavour of the week the first time, we weren’t cool. John Travolta and Saturday Night Fever were cool.
If Van Halen had never made an album again, the last album to the band’s name would have been the universally derided Van Halen III, which was the band’s second attempt at a new frontman in Extreme vocalist Gary Cherone. The move was a strange one; while the “Van Hagar” period of the band didn’t bring out much great material, it wasn’t entirely terrible. The cause of Hagar’s departure from the band in the mid-‘90s is still somewhat unclear, but suffice to say that his departure derailed the career of one of classic rock’s most beloved bands.
The world has been waiting 27 years for a new Van Halen record with David Lee Roth. To have any expectations after that long would be ludicrous. Yet however good or bad A Different Kind Of Truth might be, they've done their bit, giving us five of the greatest hard rock records of all-time (plus Diver Down, which is a still a very good album), including two absolute masterpieces in Fair Warning and 1984.
Van Halen's first six albums, one a year beginning in 1978 except for a two-year swing for David Lee Roth's final disc, 1984, homogenize the model efficiency of Britain's two best quartets, mashing up harmony-laden Beatlesesque pop and Hammer of the Gods firepower. At 35 minutes, the original Southern California quartet's self-titled debut clocks in as the longest full-length of Van Halen's initial incarnation, the rest ripping and grinning at the Ramonesian clip of barely a half hour. Fumbled title aside, the first clue that A Different Kind of Truth arrives from a wholly different century than its half-dozen siblings despite Diamond Dave's dream reunification with Van Halen brothers Eddie and Alex turns up in its 50-minute run time.