The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world

The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world

WHITESNAKE

FOREVERMORE

Frontiers Records

Released March 2011

 

 

Someone told me that this year was the year of the Rabbit, but after spinning this a few times I’m convinced they were wrong – it is very definitely the year of the Snake!

 

From the opening bluesy swagger of ‘Steal Your Heart Away’ if you were in any doubt that Whitesnake were back and mean business you won’t be for long. ‘Steal Your Heart Away’ is a statement of intent from a band with a great pedigree that simply wants to tell you that not only are they back, but that they are feeling twenty years younger and have all the energy of hyperactive children on a solid diet of e-numbers. The song itself takes the bluesy shadows of the classic band, all the best from the 1987 vintage and combines them beautifully. The mix is perfect, like the best bourbon and coke you have ever tasted.

 

Catching your breath might prove a problem with this one. Whilst 2008’s ‘Good To Be Bad’ may have been a great album with a fair few high points this is a different animal all-together. Coverdale’s voice on ‘All Out of Luck’ has all the depth and character you could hope for; the song itself cascades from the speakers like fine vintage wine, beaten forward by a solid groove that can only be Whitesnake.


2011 could well be the year for Dave and co. ‘Forevermore’ will be backed up by some solid touring: they have already scheduled 2011 tour dates, six in the UK and a handful of other European dates. Prior to that they play as one of the headliners at the annual Rocklahoma festival in Pryor, Oklahoma on Memorial Day weekend. The album itself will be released as a special edition 'Snakepack' through Classic Rock magazine on March 25, three weeks before its regular release on Frontiers. I expect the fall-out to be huge.


‘Love Will Set You Free’ the lead single that you should have all downloaded for free by now is a great song and really captures the ‘classic Whitesnake’ vibe for me but pulls it solidly into the present. The hook is golden and should introduce a whole new audience to the band, whilst still pleasing fans of every era.


Hard as I tried to it’s hard to pick a weak link here, it’s just a matter of favorites. The mid-paced ‘Easier said Than Done’ is a master class in song-writing that just carries you along with the flow. A nice change of pace, perfectly placed in the track-listing. ‘Tell Me How’ that follows is just classic late-vintage Whitesnake, not a particular favorite of mine here but a song that still ticks all the boxes.


Throughout ‘Forevermore’ the band Coverdale has assembled all get a chance to shine through. Long standing Snakes Reb Beech and Doug Aldrich are as always excellent but new boys Brian Tichy (drums) and Michael Devin (bass) make telling contributions, giving life to everything they touch. On ‘I Need You (Shine a Light) all elements combine perfectly and you stop panning for gold as you realise only six songs in that this is a seriously big strike.


‘One of These days’ is a gentle west-coast country-tinged work-out that is both unexpected and very welcome. ‘Love and Treat Me Right’ let’s face it just sounds like a Whitesnake title and it’s back to the tweaked template 1987 with more substance – there’s a wonderful vocal, great hook and unmistakably Whitesnake guitars! It’s 1987 again though for ‘Dogs In the Street’ which is probably the one song here I feel is a little generic, saying that, it will catch the ear of the ‘Still of the Night’ crowd.


We close the album out much like we started with a bevy of killer tunes: ‘Fare Thee Well’ starts soft and acoustic with a gravelly-voiced Dave recounting the years gone by. The song builds into a fine ballad, again one with that west-coast laid-back flavour. ‘Whipping Boys Blues’ is a down and dirty Snake groove a-la 1987 which hits the spot without claiming classic status.


‘My Evil Ways’ is a favorite of mine, a stuttering rock and roll workout full of energy and very much drawing on everyone in the band’s strengths. Love that solo! And all too soon it’s over. Closing track ‘Forevermore’ is as you might imagine a slow number to close with: a delicate acoustic intro leads us into a warm Dave vocal that will have the lighters held aloft (or maybe i-phones) and the ladies in the audience with tears in their eyes. Then the guitar kicks in and a nice song takes on the form of an epic. What a way to close!


There’s more of vintage Snake showing through here than Dave has shown us in a while and to be honest I feel that here he has found the perfect balance between the pre and post 1987 Whitesnake. There’s enough soul and blues here to add another level of richness and depth that is perfectly handled by Reb and Doug, as, dare I say it back in the day it was handled by Marsden and Moody. I don’t want any of you to be under the misapprehension though that this is a retro-styled album it is not it is just the album on which all you hoped Dave would recapture and rekindle comes to fruition.

 


Like I said – year of the Snake!

 

 

Mark Diggins