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Van Halen's 2012 Release A Different Kind of Truth
From the opening bars of the opening track, “Tattoo”, the listener is both instantly and keenly aware that he/she is listening to a Van Halen album. While nowhere near the best track on “A Different Kind Of Truth,” Tattoo is very Van Halen-esque. From the classic brown sound of Eddie’s guitar to his highly melodic and individual note selection, no doubt is left as to whether or not this is going to be a great Van Halen disc. Roth’s vocals cement the deal.This is the first studio album to feature David Lee Roth as vocalist since “1984” and this is arguably the real Van Halen for their most ardent fans. Something about that voice with those guitar lines has always established this group’s identity and allowed them to become one of the biggest selling groups in music history.“She’s The Woman” and “You And Your Blues” continue the revelation and elevation of this disc in terms of musical direction and spirit. Well before hitting the best tracks you’re thinking “Yes!” There are a couple of dips in the album and one of them occurs here, with “China Town” not being as strong as the earlier numbers. Fast forward a few tracks and you’re at “As Is,” one of the definite high points, and a couple of tracks after that you’re into “Outta Space” with “Big River” just another hop away.While Diamond Dave may not have the strength in the upper register that he used to possess stone cold, he has gained more than enough in nuance to make up for it. Reminiscent of Robert Plant’s recent work in that regard. Roth has always been largely about charisma and attitude and stage presence and if this record is any indication, the live show should be excellent.It’s almost comic for some to have even questioned it, but Eddie Van Halen still has the chops to stand on top of the guitar world and smile about his iconic status and instantly recognizable sound. His sheer inventiveness and quirkiness long ago placed him there and he appears to be in no danger of ever losing that vaunted position. Refreshingly not an attempt at a collection of potential Top 10 hits, “A Different Kind Of Truth” comes across as an album. Some might consider that an oddity in an individual track digital download era, but this work allows the band to show its many facets and expressions. This reviewer enjoys this album as an album while still being blown away by a few of the songs as separate entities. Perhaps not a tour-de-force, but a damn fine album.