Van Halen: A Different Kind of Truth

Van Halen
A Different Kind of Truth
[Interscope Records]

Occasionally, the stars align and something special happens. It’s a rare occurrence, albeit one that deserves celebration. That said; ladies and gents, I give you Van Halen’s A Different Kind of Truth.

The boys have delivered an album which seemingly picks up from where they left off with 1984 and erases everything they did as Van Hagar and with Gary Cherone. I know, I know … I’ve made a bold statement and have thrown down the gauntlet. But, I challenge any true fan to listen to this album and say otherwise.

The album entered the charts at #2, behind a flavor of the day Adele. Not bad for a band that hasn’t released an album in 14 years, or 28 years if you count back to the last David Lee Roth-era. Mark my words.A  Different Kind of Truth is so good that the band is assured of at least a Grammy nomination for Best Hard Rock/Metal Performance.

Kicking off with the infectious “Tattoo,” the band puts a stake in the ground right off the bat. The guitars and distorted bass remind you that you’re not getting any watered down reunion tripe. This is balls-to-the-wall VH and Eddie Van Halen is on his game. So is Diamond Dave, for that matter.

There’s a lot going on here and most of it is firmly planted in the late 1970s, with a bit of modern day oomph thrown in for good measure. The new recordings as a package, brings out all the best of the albums the band recorded with Roth. There’s “Chinatown” (think “Atomic Punk” off Van Halen), “The Trouble With Never” (similar feel to “Dance the Night Away” off Van Halen II) and “Stay Frosty” (a modern version of “Ice Cream Man” from 1984). It’s all there.

Roth sounds cocky as ever, reminding us why he’s a front man for the ages. Love him or hate him, he’s one of the best and A Different Kind of Truth demonstrates that it can’t be denied. EVH remains one of the most innovative and interesting guitarists of all time. Again, I understand the weight of this statement. But, looking at the volume and quality of Eddie’s work and it’s an easy conclusion to reach. A standout is young Wolfgang Van Halen. For those that wrote him off as a lumbering kid in the 2007-2008 tour, take note. Wolfie has some tasty (and tasteful) bass lines. Plus, he’s handling the Michael Anthony back up vocal duties admirably. Sure, I’d love to see an original line up reunion. I miss old Mike. But, Wolfie’s holding his own and I tip my hat to him.

Sure, sure there’s been talk that some/a lot of the tracks are dusted off demos from their heyday. So what?! This is the album I’ve wanted to hear and it’s given me hope that rock is not dead.