Review: Van Halen - A Different Kind of Truth

 Sadly, the resurrection of rock music and arena conquering golden age for heavy metal that emerged in the late 1970s and early 1980s is something I will never be able to be truly reminiscent of, or be able to look back and think "Ah those were the good old days." Having been born in 1995, I was born at a time in which nu metal was starting to take it's rise to mainstream popularity, and looking back, I would hardly say that's something to be proud of. It's quite obvious however that if I had been in the generation of older rock fans that did live in these magical times, one of the standout acts we would all look back lovingly on would be Van Halen. When you hear the guitar shredding from Eddie Van Halen on Eruption, the second track from the band self-titled album, it really allows you to see the sheer influence the group has had on pretty much every metal band that followed (with the exception of the doom metal genre) and realise why Eddie Van Halen is so respected among metal guitarist for his revolutionary style. Anyway, until 1984, the band were at their biggest and their best with the godly guitar playing from Eddie Van Halen and the charismatic performance of lead singer David Lee Roth  both sharing the limelight of their performances. Following Roth's 1985 departure, the spark of charisma this band had could never quite be gained again.

 It is for this reason that the band is starting to gain that bit more excitement once again. It's been fourteen years since an album was last released and this time, Roth is back on board, as Eddie still remains on guitars and brother Alex Van Halen remains drumming and this time Eddie's son Wolfgang Van Halen has been brought in on bass. It is this return of Roth though and the return of the original swinging charisma within the band however, that makes 12th album A Different Kind of Truth so triumphant. Rightfully so, as this album is effective in recapturing the spirit of '78 with all members of perfect form as Eddie's outstanding shredding and hook filled riffs create an immense backdrop for She's the Woman while Roth's sly vocal performance, mixed with Wolfgang's crunching bassline and Alex's pounding drumming comes together effortlessly to make a song which spells out heavy metal perfection, which carries a genuine sense of energy and passion.
 A Different Kind of Truth is clearly an album with the original and most devoted fans at heart. It is very much the sound of the the late 70s-early 80s era of hard rock and metal and of course, there will be complaints that it sounds dated, but there's very much a sense of grace and untimely fun to be found in this style. Roth's slick vocals manage to keep the punk velocity of China Town and Bullethead sounding classy, while the rest of the Van Halen family are tearing things up. Plus, the term "blues metal" isn't actually a real musical genre but the bluesy emotion packed performance of Roth mixed with the intense rush seen on As Is serves as evidence that such a term probably should exist.
 Of course, within this punk flavoured delirium, the poppy hook filled moments of Van Halen's music is  to be found with tracks like Tattoo and Big River boasting massive choruses and danceable rhythms amongst the shredding solos and powerhouse singing. And all the elements of this band come together of the triumphant closer Beats Workin', a song that really boasts a sense of musical victory and accentuates the power and legacy of Van Halen.
 Overall, A Different Kind of Truth is like a graceful look back to the past of heavy metal by the band that are responsible in bringing the genre to the masses. It's a fun, joyful listening experience filled with giant hooks and rhythms and the definitive rapid shredding of Eddie Van Halen and powerhouse vocals of David Lee Roth. It's a sad fact of life that in the current state of nostalgia in popular culture, the most well-remembered Van Halen song is the embarrassing bloated synth rock mess that is Jump but it's great to see this being put out the way for some great heavy metal tunes instead. If this reunion doesn't put them right at the top where they rightfully should be, this comeback album definitely puts them right back into the hearts of all good rock and metal fans everywhere.

 Van Halen's A Different Kind of Truth is out now via Interscope.