Van Halen - A Different Kind of Truth

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Rolsen
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Van Halen - A Different Kind of Truth

Post by Rolsen » Mon Feb 13, 2012 7:51 pm

Alright already - its gotta be done: Lets talk Van Halen!

I am a lifelong VH fan, despite what that does to my 'indie credibility index.' I gotta say this album is pretty much kicking my ass and melting my face off. The first song on the album (and album single), Tattoo, sucks. Why the hell did they a) write it, and b) make it their single! Don't let that keep you from checking out the rest of the album. Every other song is awesome! I might even say this is the heaviest album they've ever recorded - ferocity on tap! The sound is certainly rooted in late-70's/early 80's Van Halen, and around 5 songs are re-works of never officially released songs from that period.

Diamond Dave's voice is gruffer, but in a Robert Plant sort of way around the time of Zep's last albums. Fine by me. The production quality I think is noteworthy, especially for us tapeoppers. Reminds me of Fair Warning, but with slightly slicker guitar tones. Overall, the album aesthetic has a hi-fidelity, yet warm classic rock sort of sound, like a classic AC/DC album. Standout tracks include 'Blood and Fire,' 'As Is,' 'Bullethead,' and 'Big River.'

Anyway, I was fearful of being disappointed, but I'm happy to report I'm not. This is the first album in a long time that I've kept on constant rotation, maybe partly due to waiting 25 years for this release!

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Post by Lost on side » Tue Feb 14, 2012 12:40 am

Meh, few will enjoy it here (wrong high school lunch table), but I will step up.

I had ignored the reunion tour after seeing an inhibited David Lee Roth in Youtube clips. I could not accept that, because the whole point of David Lee Roth is his LACK of inhibition. As in absolutely NONE allowed. Even if he is making a complete ass of himself (which he has done often), I always found his existence inspiring. Anyway, he was clearly not allowed to freely "express himself", so I didn't want to witness it.

With word of this new record I had low expectations, something along the lines of the 1996 debacle "Me Wise Magic". I was wrong. I liked "Tattoo", but the album is much better. I'm not thrilled with the production. Brick wall mastering just like every other new release, and probably a concession to "modern times". I think the guitar would sound better if it was panned like on the old records. That gave it room, and a more epic scale. It overwhelms the mix from the center position.
Roth struggles at times, but sometimes he is a pleasant surprise. I think "Stay Frosty" sounds great. Eddie Van Halen is playing really well. Wolfgang is playing fantastic, but Alex is the best performer on the album. He is doing some great, subtle and tasty double kick fills (not on the obvious dbleBass songs) and plays with a such a thick, heavy funk. Like Black Sabbath playing Parliament (as opposed to the thin, Red Hot Chili Peppers funk, which I loath). "She's The Woman" and "Beat's Workin'" show this off, and are my favorite 2 songs. Both those songs capture the kind of euphoric moments that make Van Halen (with Roth ) so great. The drum break and close out of "Beat's Workin" is quintessential Van Halen, and the perfect ending to what I'm guessing will be their final album.

The worst songs on the album are the ones where they seem to be trying to prove how fast and heavy they can be. "China Town", and "As Is" sound nondescript to me.

It's a huge step up from the Van Hagar stuff (well, I'm pretty sure. I never bothered listening after my initial disgust!), and I consider it better than "1984".

I wish Ted Templeman had produced it though.
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Post by vvv » Tue Feb 14, 2012 4:19 am

I'm liking it.

First impressions:

Alex is great, Wolf is adequate, Eddie is on, Roth is hilarious.

They must now be one of the most instantly recognizable bands around, what is a good thing.
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Post by Snarl 12/8 » Tue Feb 14, 2012 2:28 pm

I just picked up 1984 on vinyl and I'm totally digging it. It's my favorite VH record (so far). I guess I gotta pick up this new one. How are you guys consuming the new record? Did you go out and buy the CD? Or did you get the MP3's from iTunes?

As a possible thread hijack, I gotta say vinyl sounds surprisingly solid on my 2.1 computer speakers. Is that because the low end is basically mono on vinyl?
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Post by Snarl 12/8 » Sat Feb 18, 2012 1:34 pm

OK. Just got this. Must be fun as hell to be Eddie Van Halen playing guitar. Does anyone know if 1984 CD and Vinyl are the same mixes? I've listened to that record a million times and I'm hearing shit on vinyl I've never heard before (or at least haven't heard since the 80's).
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Post by Bro Shark » Sat Feb 18, 2012 2:08 pm

Snarl 12/8 wrote:1984 CD
Remaster, original? I had some of the early pressing VH discs and they sounded pretty bad. I bought the remasters of the first six albums a few years ago and they definitely sounded better (not just louder) to my ears.

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Post by Waltz Mastering » Sat Feb 18, 2012 5:16 pm

Ross Hogarth who engineered the album talks about the recording a bit in this thread (page 5). http://prorecordingworkshop.lefora.com/ ... ack/page5/ I think Paul Hagar did some additional engineering as well.

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Post by E-money » Sun Feb 19, 2012 7:39 am

Eddie's guitar is mixed very loud on the tracks I've heard. Not really a huge issue since his playing and tone both sound great, but I think I would have mixed him lower, or done the old left right thing they did on the early records.
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Post by Gregg Juke » Sun Feb 19, 2012 11:40 am

As a preface and disclaimer, I have never been a big VH fan. I think specifically because of DLR; just not my kind of "singer". So, major Van Halen fans, feel free to disregard my uneducated and uninitiated opinion. But to me, Sammy Hagar was a _much_ better singer, that could actually play guitar and write decent songs too. I thought he was a great choice and a vast improvement for the band. But as it turned-out, he was apparently the "George Harrison" of the band; over-shadowed and outgunned by Eddie and the rest... Back when that first Roth solo album came out, my cover band picked-up "Sensible Shoes," which I thought was a good pop tune and a nice vehicle for the non-screamo side of his vocal stylings.

I haven't heard the new album, but DLR and center-panned guitar don't sound too appealing.

GJ

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Post by Snarl 12/8 » Sun Feb 19, 2012 2:35 pm

Honestly, I never gave Sammy Hagar a chance even. I heard a couple tunes and felt very "meh" about it. For me, the DLR contribution isn't necessarily musical, there's just a chemistry and attitude that he brings to the whole proceedings that puts it all together for me. I really don't believe that bands are modular. You can't just "replace the drummer" or any other piece. I mean, obviously, sometimes the replacement is even an even better fit than the original, but it's never the same. There's the individuals, and I think even more importantly, the interaction between them.

I could be completely wrong, but this record sounds to me like it was really easy to make, in a good way. Not that they were coasting, but clicking.
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Post by vvv » Sun Feb 19, 2012 7:28 pm

Sammy's aiight with me, but I didn't like a lot of the keyboard stuff, and the general direction of the band during those years, what was as much from commercial decisions as anything, I'm sure. Even the production didn't cut it for me, to glossy, and while I have alla those records, I probably only listened to 'em a cuppla times, altho' my ex was fan.

The limitations of DLR make the band more interesting to me, especially now that it sounds new again.

BTW, anybody into them cuppla Montrose records with Hagar? Get on yo bad motor-scooter and ride, rock candy! :twisted:
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Post by Lost on side » Sun Feb 19, 2012 7:49 pm

vvv wrote:Sammy's aiight with me, but I didn't like a lot of the keyboard stuff, and the general direction of the band during those years, what was as much from commercial decisions as anything, I'm sure. Even the production didn't cut it for me, to glossy, and while I have alla those records, I probably only listened to 'em a cuppla times, altho' my ex was fan.

The limitations of DLR make the band more interesting to me, especially now that it sounds new again.

BTW, anybody into them cuppla Montrose records with Hagar? Get on yo bad motor-scooter and ride, rock candy! :twisted:
His voice is stronger than Elvis Costello's! :twisted:

Roth does play guitar (and writes great hooks).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ll_jOzOb4kI
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Post by Gregg Juke » Sun Feb 19, 2012 8:27 pm

* The first keyboard tune I remember from VH was "Jump" (featuring David Lee Roth). I think that was Eddie's doing more than anybody else's.

* Elvis Costello has a unique style and musicality on his side, as well as the ability to play many instruments, write incredible songs, and produce and arrange circles around... other folks.

* I meant really _play guitar_!



I'll bagger off now, as I'm just stirring it up for no apparent reason... Maybe just to get my post count up? :wink:

GJ

PS-- I saw Montrose once or twice back in the day. I don't think he had anybody of note with him at the time; nobody I remember besides Ronnie anyway...

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Post by vvv » Sun Feb 19, 2012 11:42 pm

Re Elvis C., I'm a fan for sure, altho' owning alla his records would be ridiculous. I recently got back into him on his rockish last cuppla CD's. But the first ones, up through, say Trust were and are excellent. For me, tho', he's just too prolific - a problem I know too well (check my links below.)

Re "Jump", see, that was a fun and funny tune where the keys were a novelty. Somehow, Hagar would make it sound like a song about suicide, mebbe suicide by driving too fast, but still ...
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Post by Snarl 12/8 » Tue Feb 21, 2012 12:09 am

Is it just me, or is this record a weapon of mass destruction in the loudness war? When I tried to play the cd on my computer I couldn't get it to not distort. I had to rip it to mp3 to hear it. Just now I had to turn my volume way down when it came on.

Also, honeybabysweetiedoll sounds like an homage to Living Colour (not a bad thing, in my book) to my ears.
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