REVIEW: Van Halen – A Different Kind of Truth

Van Halen – A Different Kind of Truth (2012)

I’ve read every word printed between the year 2000 and now that was available about the new Van Halen album with DLR. I’ve been waiting patiently. The band tried once a decade ago and never got off the launch pad. Then Sammy came back. Then Sammy left. Then Mike was fired, and Wolfie was in.

And lemme tell you folks, Wolfie can PLAY. No offense to Mikey, the original, but Wolfie plays circles around him. And not only that, his chemistry with his dad (and uncle too) is infectious. Never before have you heard syncopated unison bass and guitar runs on a Van Halen album, not like this.

The star of the show is Edward Van Halen. I wanted to hear an album that made me say “Holy shit, how the hell did he do that?” And that’s what I said when I first heard “China Town” a couple weeks before the album came out.

The whole album is like that. Eddie is riffing, flying into a quick lick that sounds impossible, then back to the riff. Just like the old days. The album is largely (but not completely) based on unused Van Halen songs from the early 70’s and 80’s such as “Down In Flames” and “Ripley”. Now dubbed with new lyrics and titles (all but the smokin’ “She’s The Woman”), the band has sewn new life into these amazing tracks. With Wolfie’s pulsing bass, Ed’s impossible guitar, and Alex driving the whole thing, this who record smokes. Not one weak track.

Well, I know a lot of people didn’t like “Tattoo”. But fear not. New single it may be, but it’s far from the best track on this album. My faves include: “She’s The Woman”, “China Town”, “As Is”, and “Big River”. Still there are no songs that I would skip.

And Dave’s lyrics? Just as clever and cheaky as ever. While Dave waxes poetic on many songs, don’t expect him to suddenly want to deliver a message. Any messages about the state of the union (political or VH) have no place on A Different Kind Of Truth.

The acoustic DVD sucks, but Dave’s handwitten lyrics and drawings are awesome.

5/5 stars, ain’t talkin’ bout anything less



  1. Always appreciated every era of the band but if pressed would always lean more toward the Hagar era and upon hearing (or more to the point ‘seeing’ the video for Tattoo and Dave’s shuffling swagger LOL) was happy to stay that way.

    But curiosity won and swung into this open minded and (puts hand in air), admit to being completely wrong and found myself doing a complete 180 in regard to the album – this record smokes! Highlights being just about everything but particular mentions to Outta Space, China Town, and Blood And Fire.

    If using old demos got them to this place, they should continue doing just that – fingers crossed for another record sooner than later.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Bought this the day it came out. Though Dave’s voice isn’t what it once was, his lyrics are as brilliant and witty as ever. Wish their was better packaging (liner notes and photos would have been a no brainer), but we did get the lyrics. 4.5 out of 5 stars. Even the weaker tracks are FAAAR better than anything from the Hagar era.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah I would agree with most of that. I prefer A Different Kind of Truth to any Van Hagar pretty much. It’s a very good album. I sincerely hope this is not the last Van Halen album. But Van Halen are what they are. Whatever it is that keeps them from functioning as a band, will always be there.


  2. I’ve bought every VH album the day it was released since “1984” No exception on DKOT. I did my best to find a brick and mortar store that actually still sold CDs. Didn’t want to do a big box store. So did Barnes & Nobles…. at least it wasn’t Target. Got there before they opened. Knew it wouldn’t be lines down the street like in the old days. But figured Id see a couple geeks like me. We’d give a quick salute like ‘there’s someone from the good ol Days who gets it’. There’d be folks in a few different cars cranking their favorite VH top volume. All I got was crickets. It was a little depressing no buzz no fanfare. Just me and a couple moms buying their kids the cool new Elmo books. I just walked in bought it all by myself. Sign of the times. But I will find a place to buy every album they release the day it comes out. Reliving the glory of a time gone past!!!!! Lol

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh man. That’s…sad! I can’t remember where I got it. Probably just because of the way my life is, my wife picked it up from the mall on her way home from work for me. But I had a burned copy before it actually came out :)


  3. Musically I liked it and agree with your takes.

    Fun to pick up on references to old songs/albums could be detected as there was so much re-hashed material.

    My only beef and it’s my issue… I want to hear Eddie go in a different direction. I’d love to hear him do a more compositional type album… no pop format… no holds barred! My favorite sounds on this album are the bridges which VH has always been known for. This is where Eddie created new cool soundscapes. Only they were fleeting glimpses in the middle of VH. Songs. But that is my problem. That’s what Eddie does and VH is…. Zebras still have stripes… VH is still a rock band! I will always hope Eddie does an out of the box project with completely different sounds and ideas….

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think one day we will eventually see an Eddie Van Halen solo album. When that happens, I think it’ll be more out of the box.

      This album seems like a determined effort to get back to 1978. They used a bunch of old demos as the basis and Wolfgang was really driving the project in that direction.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Obviously I’m not a long-term VH fan, but I was surprised how good this was when I got a copy two or three years back. I’d just gotten into VH (wondering why it took me so long) and it was pretty clear that I was very much into the DLR stuff, so when I got my hands on this I was like “yas!”. Genuinely great album… and Tattoo is catchy as hell, eh?

    … and easily better than any of the Hagar stuffs.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sammy really attacked this album in interviews, especially the vocals. But Dave is what he is, and they worked around his voice very well.

      I think it’s the final Van Halen album though. I don’t think they’re gonna pull it together again, I really don’t. Not with David anyway.


      1. There’s been some online nattering of late they may be doing ‘something’ this year and that Mike may be involved. Of course same VH rumours fly every year so likely just that but fingers crossed they prove us wrong…

        Personally hope new material/recording (hey EP length would satisfy me!) Still reckon ADKOT will stand proud alongside the back catalogue when looked back on in years to come :)

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I think the “something” we will see this year will be Wolfie’s solo album, and maybe some Chickenfoot activity.

          I would love anything new they put out, even just a single.


      2. Is that right? What a fucker… I really don’t like Hagar. A good singer, but I don’t think there’s anything particularly special about his vocals and, worse still, he thinks he’s better than Dave. And he’s really not. Technically? Possibly, but Dave’s got charisma, energy and creativity that also lifts VH.

        And it’s a shame if there’s no more VH. Especially VH with Dave.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I have been saying for a long time, Sammy would be better to keep his mouth shut when talking about Van Halen. Yes, you’re a technically better singer, and forever young. But there’s a reason people wanted Dave back — and the comments here really show that.

          Liked by 1 person

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