Review: “A Diffferent Kind of Truth,” Van Halen

Van Halen is back.

The legendary rock band has released its first album in 14 years with its original frontman.

Record ranking 5.7 of 10

“Diamond” David Lee Roth returns to the bands lineup, along with Eddie, Alex and Wolfgang (Eddie’s son) Van Halen.

With Roth’s return, the hope is that the group will recapture some semblance of its glory years in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s and display it on their new album. Sorry to all of those who liked the Sammy Hagar version of Van Halen, and like almost everyone else we’re just going to ignore the Gary Cherone incarnation, but Roth and Eddie were able to produce the best, and most unique, sound.

Eddie, with his shredding guitar solos, paired with one of the most dynamic frontmen of all-time failed miserably on the band’s first single off of the new album, “Tattoo.” But as dreadful as their first single is, the deeper you get into “A Different Kind of Truth” the more you forget it has been nearly 30 years since the group, with Roth singing lead vocals, collaborated on an album and launched a nationwide tour.

What has been revived are driving hard rock songs, with the obligatory “let’s let Eddie shred for one minute” guitar solo and a sense of fun that has not been evident since the group released “1984.”

At times the album feels forced.

It’s like they’ve tried to hard to recreate 1984 –with Roth pausing to speak a few lyrics, in re: “Hot for Teacher,” in more than one song– and the lyrics are often trite and inane. But then, Van Halen’s lyrics have always been trite. Someone who turns on a Van Halen album is not looking for introspection on life or love. They’re looking for a fun, three minute rock song that’s drowned in guitar.

That Van Halen template is on display at its finest in “Big River.”

While portions of the album are weak, overall it’s not that bad. It’s just Van Halen.

–Braden Lammers

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About hoosierhits
The music blog of the News and Tribune, Jeffersonville & New Albany, Ind.

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