Van Halen reunites with David Lee Roth for new record

A Different Kind of Truth was Van Halen's first album in 14 years, the first to feature David Lee Roth since his return, and the first to feature Eddie Van Halen's son, Wolfgang, on bass.

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A Different Kind of Truth was Van Halen's first album in 14 years, the first to feature David Lee Roth since his return, and the first to feature Eddie Van Halen's son, Wolfgang, on bass.

Brandon Osborne

bosborne5@radford.edu

It was 1984 the last time a Van Halen album came out featuring David Lee Roth on lead vocals. Twenty-eight years ago, 1984  was released in what many believed would be the last album by Van Halen featuring Roth. After Roth left the band the music in Van Halen would shift from Eddie Van Halen’s amazing guitar skills to having him play the synth more. The fans would still support the band but they all hoped that the band would resolve their differences and get back to playing classic Van Halen music.

The fans lucked out in 2006 when Van Halen announced that David Lee Roth would be coming back to the band after years of verbal jabs between both camps. Roth’s return would be followed by an immediate tour but no new music from the band.

However that all changed in 2012 when Van Halen announced that they would be releasing a new CD filled with songs from the early days that never made it onto a Van Halen album. While this is not exactly new material, is still is something new to the fans who have been waiting patiently for a Roth album from Van Halen. The band reworked the demos of the songs, so in some way, it could be considered new material.

As for the new Van Halen album, A Different Kind of Truth has sound similar to the first two Van Halen albums, which should be a treat for the fans who miss the old straight up rock and roll sound of the band.  A major question facing the album was how would the band sound after 28 years though. The answer? They still sound like the band that had hits such as “Running with the Devil” and “Eruption.”

Roth might not be as flamboyant as he once was, but his voice still sounds strong for a man who has been doing this since the early 70s. As for Eddie and Alex Van Halen, the brothers who founded the band, continue to show, year after year, that they can play with the best of them. Eddie’s guitar playing is like a fine wine, as it only gets better with age. New to the band is Eddie’s son Wolfgang who replaced Michael Anthony on bass guitar. He certainly has the talent to be in the band, but it would’ve been nice to see Anthony play the songs, as he was in the band when the songs were written.

The album starts with “Tattoo,” the first single off the album. The song received mixed reviews as its not one of the album’s strongest songs but it does showcase some classic Van Halen riffs, and shows that Diamond Dave still can sing. The single comes off as something the label wanted though, and not the band.

The next song on the album is “She’s the Woman” and it’s one of the finest songs on the album. If there is one song on the album that Van Halen shines the brightest on, it’s this one. “She’s the Woman” sounds exactly like something that Van Halen would’ve released in the late 70s or early 80s. The opening riff is definitely something that will please all of Eddie’s followers.

One of the most intriguing songs on the album is “Stay Frosty” as its starts out with an acoustic blues opening before jumping into a hard rock number. The song will certainly reminds fans of “Ice Cream Man” off of Van Halen I. The songs opening showcases Eddie’s ability perfect as his blues licks are nothing short of astounding.

Another song that stands out is “Big River,” which has Eddie and Alex in perfect unison as the drums and guitar seem to blend in perfectly. Roth also sounds amazing on this track as you would not be able to tell it wasn’t from an early Van Halen album.

A Different Kind of Truth may not exactly be a “new” album from Van Halen, but it will certainly keep fans that have waited patiently for 28 years happy for now. After listening to the album, you can’t help but feel this band still has quite a few albums left in them and knowing Eddie, he will continue to play until he dies.