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To suggest the return of original lead singer, Dave Lee Roth to the Van Halen ranks has rejuvenated the veterans would be a lie, instead the band literally re-born.  From the opening blues / rock sashey through “Tattoo” Roth effortlessly projects his distinctive vocal, the strutting style conjuring images of their classic debut album, which “She’s the Woman” and “You and Your Blues” further highlight. It’s therefore no real surprise to discover the majority of “A Different Kind of Truth” is made up from songs conceived around 1975, 1976 and 1977, the first three tracks especially exhibiting a return to humbler beginnings, the cheesy keyboards being dropped for a much burlier rock ‘n’ roll sound.

Eddie Van Halen continually astounds with phenomenal prowess on guitar, unhindered by surgery on his fingers for arthritis in 2009 and rhythm section of brother Alex and Wolfgang Van Halen provides absolutely solid and muscular backing.  “China Town” ups the tempo, inclusive another sizzling Eddie solo, before a completely mesmerising ending.  “Blood and Fire” again one for the purists, although at this point, a change in tack surfaces surprisingly for the better.  “Bullethead” conveys a harder, less melodious edge, an antecedent to the second half of the album, incorporating heavier foundations.  The intro to “As Is” a chugging metal monster, before the intricate, breakneck riffage kicks in, mid song Roth asks for “a bit more volume in the headphones please” as the band briefly drop into doom mode. “Honeybabysweetiedoll’s” chaotic opening gives way to another chopping heavyweight riff, “A Different Kind of Truth” exhibiting Van Halen at the heaviest period of their career.  Even “Stay Frosty” one of five brand new compositions, an acoustic country blues number, abruptly unleashes the big guns proving the most diverse track on offer.

At a point when the majority of bands play safe to the levels of extreme tedium, Van Halen  re-ignite their original vivacity and ultimately appeal.  Although predominantly through the use of old demos, by allowing access of stronger, more modern rock / metal influences, “A Different Kind of Truth” could well prove their defining moment.

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