Van Halen - A Different Kind Of TruthThere was a time when American rock band Van Halen was hailed as one of the finest band of its generation. The stage antics by singer David Lee Roth and and the phenomenal guitar wizardry by Eddie van Halen were stuff of legend. Equally legendary were the tumultuous goodbyes to former members and Eddie’s alcohol intake. In a surprise move David Lee Roth returned to the band in 2007, Eddie managed to clean his act up and Van Halen returned with their classic line-up with Eddie’s son Wolfgang on bass duties. Fast forward to this year, which finally sees the release of “A Different Kind Of Truth,” the first Van Halen studio record in fourteen years…

“A Different Kind Of Truth” pretty much continues the slick arena rock style of their first six albums. It has to be said that David Lee Roth’s vocals are still in fine form after all these years, Eddie van Halen’s guitar play still displays the occasional flare of brilliance and drummer Alex van Halen still manages to lay down a solid groove. Wolfgang van Halen’s contributions on bass are solid, but unremarkable. The song material on this album is diverse in form and quality. The passion and fun are clearly present, but it doesn’t prevent a song like ‘Tattoo’ from being mediocre at best. ‘China Town’ and ‘Bullethead’  have an up-tempo, almost punky attitude, but they aren’t exactly memorable either.

‘She’s The Woman’, ‘You And Your Blues’, ‘Blood And Fire’ and ‘Beats Workin’’ are classic good time Van Halen rock songs, with athemic choruses and Eddie still showing why he’s considered to be one the finest guitar players of our time. ‘Honeybabysweetiedoll’ isn’t as corny as the title would suggest, ‘The Trouble With Never’ isn’t half bad and same goes for ‘Outta Space’ and ‘Big River’. ‘As Is’, however, is more of a half assed jam than a proper song and ‘Stay Frosty’ is just a weird frolic. What I’m really missing on “A Different Kind Of Truth” are a couple of real stand-out songs that can rival with old Van Halen classics, like ‘Running With The Devil’, ‘Hot For Teacher’, ‘1984’ and ‘Panama’.

The dry and somewhat spartan production gives “A Different Kind Of Truth” a somewhat dated sound. David Lee Roth and the occasional eruption by Eddie van Halen take the centre stage, but it’s mainly Alex and Wolfgang van Halen’s musical contributions that get buried in the overall production.

“A Different Kind Of Truth” is all about letting the good times roll. The will and passion are certainly there, it’s just too bad that song material differs too much in quality to make a really positive overall impression. Roth and Co. might have got away with it in back in the early eighties, but this record being their first real studio album in fourteen years it’s disappointing at best. Sometimes it isn’t bad to stay in retirement…

Val Halen – Official Website