REVIEW: Chickenfoot III

CHICKENFOOT – Chickenfoot III (2011)

When you have talents like these four guys (Sammy and Mike – ex VH, The Satchman, and Chad from the Chilis) then you better hope for a giant leap forwards on the crucial second album. Chickenfoot deliver, with their trademark sense of humour intact but tempered with a new seriousness.

Satriani fans will be in nirvana, as he really strecthes out a lot more than album #1. Some of his tones and fills here are more akin to things we hear on his solo albums. Imagine that with a kickass band behind it.

Sammy and Mike’s vocals blend beautifully once again, bringing to mind vintage Van Hagar. It is incredible to me that Sammy Hagar as a singer has remained this powerful after so many years. Has any lead vocalist ever aged as well as Sammy Hagar? Paul Rodgers maybe?

Lastly Chad Smith — I know that Kenny Aranoff will be incredible on tour, there is no doubt of Kenny’s skill. But Chad Smith really kicks some serious butt on this album. Just listening to the snare hits, I ask myself how many broken sticks and drum heads were tallied up in the studio.

Highlights are every single song, but one I keep coming back to is “Different Devil”, a joyful romp through the countryside with the top down. There are no bad songs on this album. The closest we get is “Three And A Half Letters” which is mostly delivered in a tiring spoken-word vocal. The lyrics are poignant enough, letters from people seriously down on their luck, with Sammy screaming “I need a job!” during the choruses. Indeed, Sammy is rarely this polical.

“Big Foot”, the first single, stomps through the forest relentlessly, but it actually seems to be about a car. “Got ‘Houses Of The Holy’ on the box, got it all cranked up cause, yeah! that shit rocks!” sings Sammy back in celebratory mode.

Fans of album #1 will remember that album’s cool gimmick, the heat-sensitive packaging. This time Chickenfoot go 3D. I have the classic rock Fan Pack edition which came with 3D glasses among other goodies.  Some of these goodies included a set of five guitar picks, and a keychain/bottle opener.  Some people consider this kind of stuff junk, and it kind of is, but I think collectors who dig guitar picks will want this.

                                          

There’s also a full colour 132 page magazine with interviews and all sorts of goodness to read and look at.

Bonus tracks: Be aware of the following bonus tracks out there!

Live versions of “Down The Drain” and “Oh Yeah” are included in my Fan Pack. These tracks are taken from the live Chickenfoot DVD (Get Your Buzz On), but this is their first release in audio format.  This is the only place you can get these two tracks.

I don’t know where to get it yet, but some versions of the album come with a “hidden” song called “No Change”. I have heard it, and “No Change” is an angry political rocker with a simply storming riff. The buzz on fan boards has it listed as the best track on the album! You decide.

Now, I do want to say one thing:  Sammy Hagar should shut his mouth about Van Halen.  I’m sick of hearing him give them backhanded compliments and stuff in the press.  It’s obvious he’s bitter, but he shouldn’t be.  He made a great album.  He should get out there, tour his ass off, but shut the hell up.

5/5 stars.

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