It’s been 27 years since David Lee Roth has been in the studio with Eddie and Alex Van Halen to cut a record.
Twenty-seven years of ‘Van Hagar’—it’s been rough on those of us who were devout supporters of Roth’s howling vocals combined with the hard rock sound that gave Van Halen its fame in the late ‘70s as opposed to the pop rock wrung in by Sammy Hagar’s leadership through the end of the ‘80s into ‘90s.
“A Different Kind of Truth” is a tribute to the classic anthems that Roth and the Van Halen brothers, with Michael Anthony on bass, did so well.
Van Halen has become more of a family band than ever now that Eddie’s son, Wolfgang, plays bass for the group in the album, taking over Anthony’s long held position. Wolfgang does a fair job with thumping bass lines reminiscent of his predecessor and backing vocals that mix well with his father’s supporting vocals and screaming guitar riffs.
And who could forget Eddie’s brother and Wolfgang’s uncle, Alex, back on the drums, with the shades on as he happily rattles away on the trap set.
There have definitely been rough patches in this band’s history, and this album certainly is no brilliant piece of musical engineering that screams Grammy nominations. But it’s rock n’ roll—it’s not supposed to be pretty.
Look at these guys—time has not been kind to them (nor was the ‘80s in all honesty). “Tattoo,” the album’s promoted single, is unimpressive as far as the rest of the album goes, but sets the tone for the heart of “A Different Kind of Truth.”
Eddie’s fingers are still tapping away wild licks and racing up and down the guitar strings in riffs and solos that seem almost like the 1978 Eddie was sitting in the recording booth. Though Roth’s voice may not have aged the best, he does what he can to bring back the beloved “Van Halen” sound that fans have longed for during the ‘Van Hagar’ years.
This album definitely has more of the rock than previous albums. As far as classic rock surviving in the modern days, “A Different Kind of Truth” is one reunion listeners will enjoy attending.
Rating: 3 1/2 stars out of 5