As has been said in other reviews, this is much more of a grower than the late 80s Whitesnake albums that most people are familiar with, but it has real heart and soul and couldn't be from any other band...or singer. And that voice is still as intact and thoroughly amazing as ever. If anything, it gets better as the years pass by. Coverdale has always surrounded himself with the very best musicians and this album is no different. In Doug Aldrich, he has found the same magic he briefly had with John Sykes, and Reb Beach manages to bring the flashiness of Vai without the cheesyness that ruined Slip Of The Tongue. This album is more about the heavy riffs than anything previously and needs to be turned up VERY loud to best appreciated, trust me. The opening of "Can You Hear The Wind Blow" and "Got What You Need" are simply crushing and put most modern metal bands to shame. Think "Still Of The Night" and "Bad Boys" and you're not a million miles away. The ballads aren't forgotten about either but there's no "Is This Love" substitute on here. "All I Want All I Need" and "Summer Rain" remind me far more of Coverdale's superb and underrated "Into The Light" solo album with "Til The End Of Time" and "A Fool In Love" being much more reminiscent of the equally brilliant Coverdale/Page project, the former also being the emotional pinnacle of the album and will leave you realising just why Whitesnake fans remain so loyal to DC despite some questionable decisions 20 years ago! As for the blues rock of old. Well, it's in there. Despite the heavy nature of the playing, this album probably owes more to the classic Whitesnake than it does the commercial years. It's just that everything has been overhauled and brought bang up to date. If this is the last Whitesnake album then DC is leaving everyone with an album to be proud of. But once you sample it's joys, you'll want to join me in praying for more of this!!! It's just a shame you can only award 5 stars...this deserves more!
I've been living with these songs for a few months now thanks to that nasty, nasty internet, but I really wanted to have the finished product in front of me before putting pen to paper. You see, it's hard for me being a Whitesnake fan. They were the first band I really regarded as mine, back when I was teenager, and the musical markers that would define me for life were falling into place. As the grey whiskers will attest, it was the Whitesnake of "Lovehunter" and Bobby 'Blue' Bland covers that grabbed hold of my heart. To this day, I will happily start a fight if anyone disputes "Come An' Get It" as one of the Greatest Albums Ever.
But the late eighties weren't particularly happy times for me, as I saw my band turning into another big haired MTV band. Sure, they still managed a few good tunes, but the nadir of "Slip Of The Tongue" still pains me. Even worse, I made the mistake of going to see the touring band that had Warren DeMartini of Ratt on guitar. That still causes me to wake up screaming in the middle of the night. However, Sir David of Coverdale redeemed himself completely in my eyes with his solo album "Into The Light", which remains ludicrously under appreciated. Add in a healthy batch of excellent live shows, awful solo spots aside, and Whitesnake were firmly back in my good graces. But a new studio album?
Well, the good news is, it is far, far better than I could have hoped for. Something I didn't think was going to happen twenty minutes into the album. Because Sir David has gone out of his way to try and please everyone.
Which means the first half of the album is chock full of the glossy American rock that made him his millions, and saw an entire generation of young boys drool into their TVs as Tawny Kitaen draped herself over the bonnet of a car. However, musically, that doesn't really rock my boat, despite the pleasure of hearing that voice, albeit with more gravel than in days of yore, draped over a set of new songs. But once you get past the title track, you hit the motherlode. Time for the track by track;
'Best Years' - an odd choice to open the album, it's a mid tempo rocker that would have fitted happily on to "Slide It In", with some fine keyboards. 'Can You Hear The Wind Blow' - now this is much better as the guitars bite hard in finest 1987 style. 'Call On Me' sees Sir David indulge in some fine cliches as the band revisit the high sheen glossy metal of the MTV years. 'All I Want, All I Need' is the big, radio friendly ballad, with a guitar sound that will really upset John Sykes! This albums 'Is This Love'. Next up is the title track and, for me, the weakest song here. It's the one place where Coverdale seems to forget he can't hit the big notes anymore, and the whole song is just, to use a technical term, screechy. But then it's time for 'All For Love', the song where the album really takes off. It has a slightly different tone to what went before, the guitars harmonise and Timothy Drury makes his presence felt for the first time since the opening number. A prelude for what is to come.
Because then we get a clutch of songs that are amongst the best of Whitesnake. 'Summer Rain' takes me right back to the halycon days of 1980 / 1981 where ever Snake albunm would have a couple of simple and beautiful acoustic ballads - 'Till The Day I Die', 'Carry Your Load' etc. 'Summer Rain' can happily take its place among that pantheon of greats. I LOVE LOVE LOVE 'Lay Down Your Love'! It's the obligatory "I'm a hundred times better than that walrus Robert Plant" number, where Coverdale shows all the naysayers who's the boss. Easily as good as anything on the splendid "Coverdale / Page" album, this will be a highlight if they play it live. 'A Fool In Love' lives up to its incestuous title, as Whitesnake get the blues. You can trace its history back to 'Cryin' In the Rain', but this one is a little more rough and ready. 'Got What You Need', a straightforward rocker, lets the side down a bit, although it's worth it to hear the "Ey Oop" at the beginning from the least Yorkshire sounding Yorkshireman ever. Last up is 'Til The End Of Time', and if it turns out to be the last Whitesnake song ever, then it's a fantastic way to bring things to a close. A huge, soulful, bluesy song in the tradition of the best Coverdale ballads, it has the best vocal on the album, and could easily have sat on "Into The Light". The best song here by a mile, and already firmly entrenched in my 'Snake Top Ten.
I honestly didn't think Sir David had this in him, especially as I was no fan of the way Doug Aldrich performed the old Whitesnake material live. But, credit where credit's due, as co-writer of all the songs, he's done a mighty fine job. The rest of the band do what they're told in unshowy fashion, and the second half of the record is as good as anything from days gone by.
Well I'm amazed. All these reviews before the album is even released. Still now that I HAVE listened to it has to be admitted that this is a close as you will get to c*ck rock perfection. Let's be honest, there is nothing "new" here. Coverdale does what he has always done, blasting out blues tinged rock, very loudly but with tremendous style and emotion. Even at his advanced age he is still either deeply in love, suffering from unrequited love or desperate to get his leg over. Well done old boy!
So the lyrics are cheesy in the extreme, still wandering on highways etc, but the sheer power of the voice is tremendous, the tunesmithery is brilliant (you'll be singing along with these on tour this summer) and the amps are cranked up to 11 with the band giving it laldy wheech in support.
Sure, if you dig deep enough you will find bits of Led Zep, Free and dare I say it, Deep Purple, but why should we care? This is brilliant!
I suppose this will be classed as "dad" rock, won't get a mention on the NME review pages and will be spurned by anyone under 30. Well that is their loss. This album reaffirms one's belief in Rock as a life force, as a sheer delight as something worth listening to again and again.
Now where are my leather trousers - not that they'll fit.
on 26 April 2008
Pre-ordered from Amazon but managed to snarf my Sisters copy as I couldn't wait!
As someone else said - move over all you "new guy in town" imposters - THE BIG BOYS ARE BACK IN TOWN!
Coverdale has always been my favourite vocalist and I am so SOOOOOO pleased to see him back with a release that quite frankly kicks the heck out of every single album they have ever done - even (amazingly) 1987!
I am not one of those fans who only came on board in the late 80's hair-metal stage. Indeed, I never considered Whitesnake "hair-metal" because I'd bought everything they released AS it was released. My university years drooling over "Love hunter", Come and get it" et-all, the unbeatable 1983 headlining at Donington in the UK - more gigs at Birmingham Odeon than I can remember - these boys were the cats-meow of rock along with the likes of Priest, Motorhead, Maiden, Scorpions, Leppard, Budgie, Thin Lizzy, AC/DC, Thunder, Ozzy, Quo, Blackfoot, Sister, Kiss, Rush, Saxon, Van Halen, Magnum, ZZ, Queensryche, Sabbath, Dio et-all (the list goes on - God bless them all) .............. and THEY HAVE SURVIVED!
Bro's DC and Aldrich have come up with an album that TRULY combines the best elements of a band with a HUGE and varied history.
AMAZING is not a word I find I can use much for albums these days - but this truly is that. An absolute must for ANY Whitesnake or rock fan.
I remember talking to DC after one of the Brum concerts saying "it's gigs like that that make life worth living" - his reply - "We feel the same - and we thank you". Thank YOU Mr Coverdale for sticking with us all these years - we've stuck with you and this album shows why - yet another talented group of musicians with a leader who inspires whoever works with him.
AMAZING - and this is after only my 3rd listening. You guys come to Canada (we emigrated!) and I'm bringing my entire family. TOTAL class.
Heavy Metal Spike - 25th April 2008, on a GOOD day - thanks to Whitesnake and all they have brought me over the years.