Van Halen | A Different Kind of Truth

By MICHAEL CHRISTOPHER  |  February 8, 2012
4.0 4.0 Stars

Who would've thought Eddie Van Halen would still be innovative in his late 50s? This time it's not as a guitar hero, but by leading a bunch of grizzled old men (and his 20-year-old son, Wolfgang, on bass) through what is the first comeback album in history by an iconic rock act that stands up against anything else on the shelves today. For those who "meh" in response to first single "Tattoo," you've been rope-a-doped: this is the mighty Van Halen at their best. The unfortunately titled "Honeybabysweetiedoll" has Edward dropping into D-tuning à la Pantera; otherwise he's fingering the frets at breakneck speed. The solo on "China Town" is his fastest at least since "Eruption," and maybe ever. Everywhere else he plays with a scorching determination that will send axe-slinging wannabes back to lessons. David Lee Roth seems rejuvenated in the driver's seat for the first time in 28 years, never cheesy, performing head spinning linguistic gymnastics. The banshee scream may be age-tempered — the attitude isn't. Sure, half of the tracks are reworked demos from decades ago, but this is a classic Van Halen disc — why not mine the period that brought the original fire?

VAN HALEN | TD GARDEN, 100 Legends Way, Boston | March 11 @ 7:30 pm | $47-147 | 617.624.1050

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