Welcome to the musical meandering insights of Aaron Joy. Here you'll find 600 reviews of CDs & DVDs of rock & metal in all its variations, mainstream & indie. What they all share is that the album or band is unique in some way & not every submission was reviewed. Please share these reviews or link to them if you like what you read. Reviews are no longer being posted here but feel free to e-mail Aaron & post comments. (Formerly the Roman Midnight Music Blog)

Monday, August 2, 2010

Van Halen ~ III



(Click on heading to visit official website.)
Style: 80's rock, heavy metal

Label: Warner Bros.
Year: 1998
Home: California

Members: Gary Cherone ~ lead vocals
Eddie Van Halen ~ guitars/bass/keyboards/piano/vocals
Michael Anthony – bass/b. vocals
Alex Van Halen – drums/percussion

Additional: Matthew Bruck ~ guitar
Mike Post ~ piano


For some this is an album you want to succeed & you believe that it can. First David Lee Roth left, but the band refocused & carried on to new highs with Sammy Hagar. Then, Sammy left & Extreme's talented Gary Cherone was brought in, thus the name of the album. You believe VH can refocus yet again & it's hard to not have great faith in the vocal change ... unlike Paul Rodgers taking the Freddie Mercury spot in Queen, considering it really should have been Cherone. But, it doesn't quite work. Sadly, though none of us probably suspected it to be the case, it's hard to tell if it's Sammy or Gary singing as their voices are very similiar. Whether Cherone has changed his singing style or the two just always sounded similiar, or maybe a bit of both, it's hard to tell. There's nothing new brought to the mix vocally by Cherone, allowing VH to continue it's musical experiments starting in For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge & Balance that weren't going anywhere fast and were already stalling on Balance. The lyrics here aren't particularly great, albeit they never really were but somehow the whole of VH compensated for the parts. Also not very interesting are the songs themselves with odd arrangements & plodding riffs. Considering bassist Michael Anthony appears on only 3 tracks this should really be Eddie's first solo album, as it's as much a VH album as Guns'N'Roses's Chinese Democracy is an Axl Rose solo project. It's sometimes easy to forget that Eddie Van Halen has an experimental side to his musical output. "Right Now" was a chart-topping experiment. Van Halen III is his longest experiment yet with it's collection of fragmentary songs & odd sounds that don't work. It's too bad, because Gary might still be with them if it had succeeded. But, sadly, this incarnation is not a highlight in the Van Halen catalog and for diehard fans only. Someday, hopefully before their next album, Eddie will realize we listen to him for his riffing & fantastic guitar pyrotechnics and great songs, not how strange & un-guitarish or Jeff Beckish he can make his instruments sound ... which seems to be his goal. Get the greatest hits album I've featured earlier in these reviews, The Best Of VH, Vol. 1,, which was made after this but didn't include any tracks from III ... that says it all right there.


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