A Different Kind Of Truth Review

artist: Van Halen date: 02/07/2012 category: compact discs
Van Halen: A Different Kind Of Truth
Released: Feb 7, 2012
Genre: Hard Rock, Heavy Metal
Label: Interscope
Number Of Tracks: 13
The first Van Halen album to be released in over 25 years to feature David Lee Roth on lead vocals, and also featuring for the first time Wolfgang Van Halen on bass guitar and backing vocals. This album is mostly a re-working of several Van Halen demos from the late 70's.
 Sound: 8.5
 Lyrics: 7.8
 Overall Impression: 8.2
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reviews (6) 67 comments vote for this album:
overall: 6.7
A Different Kind Of Truth Featured review by: UG Team, on february 07, 2012
1 of 6 people found this review helpful

Sound: Van Halen released their first album, self-titled, in 1978 and has enjoyed a huge amount of success since then. Their success was initially catapulted due to the guitar acrobatics of Eddie Van Halen and the exuberant and boisterous vocals produced by David Lee Roth. Since their debut release they have maintained a respectable amount of fame throughout their careers which involved David Lee Roth leaving the band and putting all of his focus on his career as a solo artist in 1985. He was replaced by Sammy Hagar, who also filled the part of rhythm guitarist. The album "5150" was released shortly after Hagar joined which was the first Van Halen album to reach #1 on the Billboard charts. Sammy Hagar stayed with Van Halen until 1996, and then left over creative differences revolving around Eddie Van Halen's criticism of his lyrics and the choice to do a compilation album. David Lee Roth temporarily rejoined Van Halen in 1996, but this came to quits again after a disagreement backstage at the 1996 MTV Music Video Awards. No new material was produced in this short reunion with David Lee Roth. Gary Cherone was the next vocalist to pair up with the Van Halen brothers and Michael Anthony. They released the album "III" in 1998 with Gary Cherone and began a second album with the vocalist that was never released. Outside of some compilation work Van Halen did not have a new studio album until the release of "A Different Kind Of Truth" in 2012. Sammy Hagar worked with Van Halen again briefly from 2003 through 2005, and then David Lee Roth rejoined Van Halen from 2006 2008, and then returned again in 2009 to begin working on "A Different Kind Of Truth". Michael Anthony was no longer a member of Van Halen by 2006 for reasons never entirely clear, though Eddie Van Halen had expressed unhappiness with Michael Anthony on several occasions before the break. Michael Anthony was eventually replaced by Wolfgang Van Halen.

Van Halen completed recording of "A Different Kind Of Truth" in late 2011, and privately played their new material for a few other artists including Dweezil Zappa and Mark Tremonti before releasing their first single to the public, "Tattoo". While the material was first represented as completely new material, there was soon comparisons made to earlier demos and live performances from early in Van Halen's career and as these comparisons continued it was finally stated that the new songs on the album were actually a re-working of early demos that had not previously made it onto a studio album. On some songs the re-working was extensive and on others it was more subtle. "A Different Kind Of Truth" is also the first album featuring Eddie's son, Wolfgang Van Halen, playing bass and backing vocals. As a single, "Tattoo" has been extremely successful, charting high across the board and was the #1 selling rock song on iTunes the day after it's release. The entire album clocks in at approximately 50 minutes with 13 tracks.

"A Different Kind Of Truth" immediately sounds exactly like what it is Van Halen re-recording demos from their early career. This could be a good or bad thing depending on your perspective. Personally, when the first rumors of a new Van Halen album were being whispered on the internet, my excitement started to grow. When I first heard "Tattoo" on the day of it's release as a single then I began to be disappointed. This continued as I heard more bits and pieces of the album to be released, and read rumors of this being an album of old demos. Then, I decided that I was disappointed because my expectations were for a Van Halen album of new material. I adjusted my expectations and as a release of old demos re-worked and re-recorded I have been able to enjoy "A Different Kind Of Truth" to a much larger extent. While steps were taken by Van Halen to re-work and modernize the songs, they somehow do come across as slightly dated. Again, this isn't necessarily a bad thing just an observation. Another thing that really stands out on the album is that even though at times the guitar work does sound like Eddie in his glory days at other parts the guitar work does not sound like Eddie at all. I also felt like there was too much processing on the solos. While I'm not intimately familiar with Alex's kit, the toms sound like they are tuned much too tight for the rest of the kit and it stands out to me, but maybe that is the sound he was going for. // 7

Lyrics: David Lee Roth's voice is beginning to show some age, in his prime he was a great vocalist his age has reduced him to being only a good vocalist. I'm sure there are those that will disagree with me regarding Roth's voice, but while I absolutely respect even his current ability and his earlier work I consider legendary, he isn't 100% of what he used to be. Anyone thinking differently is hearing with their nostalgia instead of their ears. The main difference I noticed is he has seemed to lose a rather large portion of his higher range. Lyrically, the album has both high and low points. The single, "Tattoo", seems to have the weakest lyrics but the song does seem to at least have an interesting vocal vibe to it. The two songs that I am most disappointed in, lyrically, would be "Tattoo" and "You And Your Blues". On the track "You And Your Blues" it seems like Roth is almost just randomly saying the names of other songs by other artists, or partially quoting lyrics from other songs. It is like a poorly done vocal mosaic. Outside of those two songs, however, the lyrics are generally much better. My favorite lyrics are from "The Trouble With Never" with lines like "I know you never thought about it bu/ ask yourself later/ when you turn on your stereo/ does it return the favor". // 7

Overall Impression: Nostalgia isn't a bad thing, and if Van Halen's intention was to capitalize on their fans' nostalgia, that isn't necessarily a bad thing, either. I do, however, feel that they should have represented this album from the beginning as a re-working of old demos instead of new material. I know my initial impression of this album would have been much more positive if I was approaching it as a nostalgic experience of listening to some old unreleased Van Halen material that was re-worked. My least favorite songs on the album are "Tattoo" and "You And Your Blues" and "Stay Frosty". "Stay Frosty" starts out like a Led Zeppelin vamp and then moves on to sound like some primitive talking blues and was very underwhelming even as the electric guitars come in later in a very George Thorogood type vibe. My favorite songs on the album are "The Trouble With Never", "As Is", and "Honeybabysweetiedoll". "Outta Space" is also a standout track on the album. I would have liked to have seen Eddie stretching himself beyond what he has previously done as he seemed to do previously on almost every release. I understand that this may not be possible as he is getting older and also he did have surgery for arthritis in his left hand a while back. Despite this, it doesn't change that what I missed the most on this album was the type of guitar acrobatics Eddie Van Halen has always been known for. The solos on the album either didn't sound like Eddie or sounded like rehashed material. "A Different Kind Of Truth" is not a bad album to own for the nostalgic value as long as you don't confuse this with being an album of new material. // 6

- Brandon East (c) 2012

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overall: 8.3
A Different Kind Of Truth Reviewed by: VHRocker5150, on february 14, 2012
1 of 2 people found this review helpful

Sound: This album has the classic VH sound to it with a little modern kick to it. Eddie Van Halen's tone is dead on to his early stuff with a little more thickness in sound. Al's drums sound like they always have especially with "As Is" which takes you right back to the past with "Everybody Wants Some". Wolfie proves to the entire world why they don't need Michael Anthony with his thumping bass lines and near perfect background vocals, the bass lines can be heard more in this record than any other which is NOT a bad thing. DLR still has it, even though his voice seems strained in a couple songs he still is and will always be the front man to VH. // 9

Lyrics: Dave has always had great one liners through his career in Van Halen in songs like "Everybody Wants Some", "Hot For Teacher", and "Unchained". The one liners don't stop there with lines in "She's The Woman" and "Blood And Fire" just to name a few. The composition of some of the lyrics had me a little disappointed like in the songs "Tattoo" and even "Blood And Fire". To me they sound too cheesy to go along with Eddie's groovin' riffs. However, lyrics aren't the most important thing to me, especially in Van Halen, because almost all the attention is on Eddie's godly guitar work. The attention Dave gets is his flying kicks and bada-s screams. The bottom line is that your hearing DLR on a new VH album and that is all that matters to me. // 7

Overall Impression: Overall, this album is unbelievably good and VH proves how sweet comebacks can actually be. This album has bits and pieces of sound from all their previous albums with DLR with a big influence of modern sound. Let me get one thing straight. I've heard all the comments about how the album is made up of over half of old demos and frankly I wanted those songs on an album because they were do kicka-s and they did. They pleased both crowds by incorporating old and new material. The new material they do have is fantastic; it sounds heavy and it sounds like Van Halen. I would be surprised if they don't hit #1 on Billboard because they made an album worthy of that rank. All I have to say is I hope you choke on your words Sammy because Van Halen is back. // 9

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overall: 10
A Different Kind Of Truth Reviewed by: AxlVanhalen, on february 15, 2012
1 of 4 people found this review helpful

Sound: This Album is beyond amazing! So I'm gonna do a song by song break down. 01. "Tattoo" - This song is basically the "Jump" of this album because it is really radio friendly. But despite that, it still kicks ass with a great intro and solo, and I also love the heavy guitar licks in the verse. The lyrical content of this song was confusing at first but then I saw a video of DLR explaining it and then it made the lyrics mean alot more to me than when I first heard the song. 02. "She's The Woman" - Many people, when they heard tattoo as the opening single for this album, stated that Van Halen weren't as heavy as they were on songs like "Panama", "Unchained", and "Mean Street"... But this song proves that they still kick a-s! And no I don't care if it is an old reworked demo! 03. "You And Your Blues" - This song starts out with choppy blues licks from EVH and David Lee Roth kicks in with the vocals. This song is somewhat laid back but it still has a catchy chorus and the verse guitar riff is infectious! 04. "China Town" - All I'm gonna say about this song is... That its AWESOME! It opens with a LEGIT Tapping lick from EVH and then David Lee starts singing about China Tooooowwwwn! Its one of my fav tracks! Also the Drums in the Verse is very fast and heavy! 05. "Blood And Fire" - Another laid back song with a clean intro reminiscent of "Little Guitars". The Chorus is very catchy and the guitar break around 2:40 is Epic! 06. "Bullethead" - This is another one of my favorite tracks! I love the lead guitar parts in this song! Ba Ba Ba Ba Bullethead! It has a great hook and starts off with a haunting guitar screech that soon leads into a very fast riff! I love the guitar tone that EVH has during the solo! 07. "As Is" - This is one of the HEAVIEST Van Halen Songs EVER! I'm not sure but it sounds like EVH is playing in a Drop Tuning (Maybe C#). But the intro contains thunder like drums and earth shattering guitar tone!. Oh and the Guitar Solo at 2:07 reminded me so much of Might Morphin Power Rangers Theme, but that doesn't mean it doesn't kick a-s! 08. "Honeybabysweetiedoll" - The Intro is very haunting and EPIC! But the insane riff in the first verse shouldn't even be legal its so heavy! Love DLR's Vocals on this song especially in the verse because he sounds so serious! This song must be in some drop tuning as well. At 2:20 that unorthodox guitar solo is one of my favorite moments in the entire album! Because it sounds so heavy and exotic! 09. "The Trouble With Never" - EVH's Wah Tone on this song is very addicting! Also love the lyrics in this song! When the song slows down at around 2:18 and DLR does the real low key monologue, My head almost explodes from all the epicness of it! 10. "Outta Space" - This song also contains another very infectious hook! But like all of the songs on this album, EVH's Guitar Tone overwhelms me! HE'S OUTTA SPACE! 11. "Stay Frosty" - This song should be called, Ice Cream Man 2.0! It is very catchy and brings back the spirit of the Van Halen 1 album! The song has a really unexpected heavy barrage of riffs around the 1:10 mark! 12. "Big River" - This song starts off with a clean intro but then a bass slide from Wolfgang leads into another epic EVH riff! Love the vocal notes DLR holds from the end of the verse up until the chorus! BIG RIVER! This song has a huge harmonic dive bomb at around 1:13. 13. "Beats Workin'" - The Opening Chord has alot of reverb and it sounds so epic with headphones! This is a great ending song for this album because ends with the same chords from the intro which are very good for closing! // 10

Lyrics: The Lyrics on this album are great! They are a hell of alot better than Sammy Hagar writing songs about breakfast! I love how the inside pamphlet of the album has handwritten lyrics from DLR himself! The Best Lyrical content can be found in "China Town", "Tattoo", and "Outta Space". // 10

Overall Impression: This album is by far the best album from Van Halen every since David Left the band. Sammy Hagar can suck it! Diamond Dave is back and so is the real Van Halen! If I lost this album I would probably die, but if is survived I definitely would buy it again! Some people have bitched about David's upper register being limited, Of course David's upper register is gonna be somewhat limited after all of these years but it doesn't really matter because DLR still kicked a-s on this album! // 10

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overall: 9
A Different Kind Of Truth Reviewed by: Swiggles, on february 13, 2012
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Sound: When I first heard "Tattoo", I couldn't believe I was hearing Van Halen, as close to original lineup, releasing new material. However, "Tattoo" was slow, slightly predictable, and not as mind-blowing as the first licks of "Mean Street" off "Fair Warning". However, after I realized that the song had turns, twists, rugged playing with refined tone, I started to love hearing it. Moving into "She's The Woman", we hear more of Eddie's new modernized playing style: a mix of pick squeals, wah pedal howls, and plenty of tapping. Songs like "You And Your Blues", "Blood And Fire", and "As Is" really stick to you thanks to Dave's clever lyrics and catchy vocal melodies. "Honeybabysweetiedoll" gives way to more experimentation, an ode to Intruder from "Diver Down", and also marks a really strange alien-esque style of music that Ed can produce. The sustainer pickup is clearly a new favorite toy of his, and it's used well, not all the time but enough to characterize the song. Overall, this sound is a mix of "For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge" and "1984", the former being dominant, with enough characteristics and distinction to be called a brand new style to Van Halen. // 10

Lyrics: A song about tattoos, another about the band getting back together, and Buddhist monks? While more casual listeners and Van Halen new-timers may find this album completely ridiculous, fans of even just the first Van Halen album will feel at home. Dave has some clever lyrics such as "no light at the end of the tunnel due to budget constraints", "my karma runs over your dogma", and "the crazy stuff we never say poetry in ink". You can't call them the greatest lyrics in the world, but most of the songs have gotten a laugh from me, and a lot of the singing becomes catchy and caught in your head. The only problem with singing is that Dave's voice is starting to take its toll, and it can get annoying how a lot of the songs have spoken word sections (probably due to his voice being weakened over years). Regardless, the album is tight, organized, and lyrically one of the best. You will hear at least two or three classic David Lee Roth shouts. // 8

Overall Impression: After a year of mainly alternative, nu metal, and of course pop albums, I could not even begin to compare this album to others. I haven't heard an album with such incredible playing and fun songs in a while, and the balance of the album, both classic Van Halen and a more heavy-metal refined Van Halen, completes it. Although classic rock fans may be discouraged by their age, the lack of old-fashioned recording style, and perhaps the 80s band craze, I guarantee that this is a historic hard rock album. In 2012, you can sound like it's "1984" all over again. // 9

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overall: 7.7
A Different Kind Of Truth Reviewed by: Battman1993, on february 28, 2012
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Sound: After reuniting for a 2007 tour, most people never thought Van Halen would ever again bring back original lead singer David Lee Roth. Considering how contentious the relationship between Eddie Van Halen and DLR seemed to be, the mere notion of any reunion would've been laughed off. BUT, against all odds, VH announced a reunion with DLR last year, and also announced a new album. The album, which was first announced as being made up entirely of recorded demo songs from '78-'84, was revealed in January as being entitled "A Different Kind Of Truth". A new single, "Tattoo" was also released (my thoughts on that decision later). After 28 years, on Feb. 7th, the "true" Van Halen lineup (minus Michael Anthony) released their seventh album. Now, with that out of the way, lemme review this thing, why don't I? I alluded to it earlier, but I think the release of Tattoo as the first single was a terrible decision. In fact, I hate the song so much, I don't believe it should've even been included on "A Different Kind Of Truth". Something about it, be the mostly childish lyrics, or the keyboards (they are present trust me), or the weirdly paced chorus, but the song just rubs me the wrong way as a representation of the album. Also, it was a bad idea to make it the first song on the album. For me, it's a bad intro song and it nearly torpedoes any fair opinion of the album right away. To me, the best thing to do is to delete "Tattoo" from your mp3 player/skip over it entirely, thus making "She's The Woman" the first song on "A Different Kind Of Truth". "She's The Woman" doesn't completely save the album right away, but the swaggering number does start a crescendo effect throughout the rest of the album. "A Different Kind Of Truth" is truly one of those albums where the first single is the worst song on the album, but every other song is good/great. Songs like "Bullethead", "As Is", and "The Trouble With Never" show off the familiar Van Halen attitude, with a heavier touch. One thing that surprised me was the heaviness of some songs. I've never heard Van Halen like this before, and it's quite pleasing. EVH still plays guitar like a madman, and solos his way through the album. Alex still lays down a solid rhythm, and Eddie's boy Wolfie capably replaces Michael Anthony on bass. Basically, it's Van Halen's comeback. It's weird to say that when "Tattoo", "Outta Space", "She's The Woman", "Blood & Fire", "Bullethead", "Beats Workin'", "Big River", and "Honeybabysweetiedoll" are all songs based off old demos ("Stay Frosty", "China Town", "The Trouble With Never", "As Is", and "You & Your Blues" are brand new Van Halen songs.) For some reason, in Van Halen's case, revisiting your past is a good thing, as the predominance of revived demo songs seems to have inspired VH to record "A Different Kind Of Truth" in a stripped-down style. // 8

Lyrics: Let's face it, DLR isn't the young rock god he once was, and his voice has lost a step or two, but his voice still defines Van Halen. He does sing in lower registers quite a bit, and even goes to a baritone whisper a few times. For most fans, his performance would be satisfactory. Since his persona as a goofball during live performances is still alive, fans will most likely accept his current voice. As for the lyrics, there's still a lot of good time songs, some irony-filled lyrics, and overall just good fun. Other than "Tattoo", the lyrics on the other songs are alright. // 7

Overall Impression: At first, when I heard about VH recording this album with DLR, I was kinda disappointed that VH had chosen Dave over Sammy (I like Sammy Hagar more), but once I listened to the full album, I have to admit that I'm perfectly fine with Van Halen getting back together with DLR. My personal favorite song is "Stay Frosty", but most of the other songs are pretty good. I hate the inclusion of Tattoo as a song on "A Different Kind Of Truth", but other than that, I have no complaints. // 8

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overall: 7.3
A Different Kind Of Truth Reviewed by: N3WW4V3N1NJ4, on june 11, 2014
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Sound: Upon finally hearing this allegedly terrible album about a week ago, I feel shocked that people dislike this album so very much. Alright, I'll admit the two new songs really are quite bad, but other than that, "A Different Kind of Truth" is decent music. It's the first full album of unheard material from Van Halen since 1998's "Van Halen III" and the first Van Halen album to have David Lee Roth on lead vocals since 1984's "1984." This is also the first Van Halen album to feature Eddie's son, Wolfgang on bass guitar, replacing Mike Anthony. So, that's a whole big old batch of "firsts" right there, but does this album live up to the hype? // 7

Lyrics: The lyrics overall tread a tightrope between being good and being extremely cheesy, with absolutely no lyrics being any better than "good," however, curiously enough, the lyrics work really well with the sounds of the guitar and all the other instruments. David Lee Roth's voice has definitely degraded a bit since 1984, the year and the album, which makes the background vocals seem mismatched with the lead. I found this to be most evident on the opening track "Tattoo," in which the background vocals screaming "tattoo, tattoo, tattoo" felt as though they were cut and pasted into the song from somewhere completely different. The overall nature of the songs lyrically, vocally and instrumentally, makes you want to sing along. Eddie's guitar solos are still great. // 8

Overall Impression: The demo songs from way back when are decent, but nothing spectacular and the two new tracks are bad, but for some odd reason, I get the feeling that's because of the fact that, the whole album other than those two tracks is unreleased stuff that was recorded in Van Halen's golden age and I'm willing to bet this would have worked a whole lot better if, oh, I don't know, maybe if Van Halen had written and recorded an entire album now, as opposed to what they actually did, which is throw together a bunch of old songs that didn't make the cut for any albums, then slap two new tracks onto the resulting oddity. Luckily, they seem to be recording new album material as I write this. So, in conclusion, this is a fun album, but nothing anybody really must own. // 7

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