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Whitesnake: Flesh & Blood

Celebrating their 40th anniversary, David Coverdale & Whitesnake are back with their latest platter of new studio material, eight years after Forevermore and four after The Purple Album, this one titled Flesh & Blood and once again featuring Coverdale, Reb Beach (guitars), Joel Hoekstra (guitars), Michael Devin (bass), Tommy Aldridge (drums), and Michele Luppi (keyboards), their most solid line-up in years. With material that harkens back to styles from all the various eras of the band, fans will have lots to love here with Flesh & Blood.

"Good to See You Again" kicks things off in fine fashion, a bluesy, slide guitar fueled number that will bring back memories of the bands early '80s repertoire, Coverdale singing up a storm and Hoekstra & Beach trading some serious slide & lead guitar licks. "Gonna Be Alright" is a moodier rocker, but no less effective, again the lead guitars wailing, a trend that continues with the lead off single "Shut Up and Kiss Me", a tune that seems straight out of the Slip of the Tongue era. Probably the least successful song here, and a strange choice for the first single, but it is catchy and has plenty of ripping guitar work. Hearing just the song and blocking out the cliche ridden video the band did is the best way to go here on this tune. "Hey You (You Make Me Rock)" is a heavy, driving number with ballsy riffs, keys, and Coverdale's menacing vocals, another highlight on the album, and "Always & Forever" surprisingly sees the band touch on some cool Thin Lizzy styled moments, but of course with that classic, melodic Whitesnake hook laden touch. Since this is Whitesnake, you have to have a ballad, and here it comes in the form of "When I Think of You (Color Me Blue)", which, is nothing we haven't heard before, and I could have done without, but the ladies will love it. Next up is the upbeat, raunchy "Trouble Is Your Middle Name", a bluesy, metallic Southern Rock styled rumbler, and a hell of a lot of fun, complete with slashing guitars and a venomous Coverdale. Drum legend Aldridge also bashes up a storm on this one, with blazing leads from Beach & Hoekstra flying all over the place.

The title cut rocks hard, with crisp riffs and potent rhythms, another fist pumping anthem from the band, and you can keep your air guitar out for the memorable "Well I Never", a tune that could have easily come off the Slide It In or Come An' Get It albums, Hammond organ roaring and the bluesy licks sharp and biting. The moody "Heart of Stone" blends bluesy acoustic guitars, emotional vocals, and beefy riffs, for another memorable track, Coverdale digging deep and doing what he does best, and the slide guitars and wah-wah come out for the frantic blues rocker "Get Up". The vocalist hasn't forgotten his love for acoustic blues & pop with the tender "After All", another song with a great hook that is sure to please the bands female followers, and this leads up to the Led Zeppelin influenced "Sands of Time", a sort of "Kashmir" meets "Forevermore" epic styled rocker, twisting guitar lines, keys, and plenty of powerful lead and backing vocals combining for one of the albums most intriguing and exciting tracks.

If you pick up the expanded edition, you'll get a few bonus tracks as well as a DVD with bonus content & videos. "Can't Do Right For Doing Wrong" is another moody rocker complete with electric piano and stinging bluesy guitars, a real throwback to the bands early material, and "If I Can't Have You" is a snarling metal burner, Coverdale spewing venom and the guitar duo cranking out some serious riffage, but the chorus is plenty melodic and atmospheric. Good stuff.

I'm going to give this a very solid 4 stars, and in time that rating might go up a tad. There's a LOT of material here, and perhaps Flesh & Blood might have been helped by trimming a couple tracks, but in all honesty there's not a bad song in the bunch, and this latest Whitesnake is easily as strong as their last couple studio albums, which have all been very strong. An excellent album, from a very powerful line-up of Whitesnake. Great to hear them all together on new material after the success of The Purple Album- I've seen this formation together live on stage twice, and they are the real deal. Don't miss this one!

Track Listing

  1. Good To See You Again
  2. Gonna Be Alright
  3. Shut Up & Kiss Me
  4. Hey You (You Make Me Rock)
  5. Always & Forever
  6. When I Think Of You (Color Me Blue)
  7. Trouble Is Your Middle Name
  8. Flesh & Blood
  9. Well I Never
  10. Heart Of Stone
  11. Get Up
  12. After All
  13. Sands Of Time

Bonus tracks on the CD+DVD version:
Can’t Do Right For Doing Wrong (Bonus Track)
If I Can’t Have You (Bonus Track)

Added: May 25th 2019
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Band Facebook Page
Hits: 1184
Language: english

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Whitesnake: Flesh & Blood
Posted by Steven Reid, SoT Staff Writer on 2019-05-25 22:34:42
My Score:

When I’d presumed that David Coverdale had taken his studio career to the beach, I didn’t think he meant Reb Beach! In all honesty I had begun to wonder if the four year recording vacation - eight if you’re not counting the rather needless Purple Album - wasn’t about to become a permanent leave of absence, what with Old Cov’s previous song writing guitar gentleman, Douglas Aldrich, doing a bunk. However, with the singer realising that in Beach and his six-string combatant Joel Hoekstra, he had at his disposal a serious pair of writing buddies with an impressive track record behind them, we now have Flesh & Blood.

We’re far enough down the line - and keeping in mind the ‘Snake-itisation of Deep Purple that came before - to know that the only version of Coverdale we’re ever likely to see now is that from 1987 and so it proves on this bombastic, strutting beast. If you expected the #metoo movement to have permeated the man’s lyrics, then “Shut Up And Kiss Me” because “Hey You (You Make Me Rock)” while “Trouble Is Your Middle Name”. But then, if you’re looking for life lessons or political comment, you ain’t pointing your ears over ‘er anyway, are ya? Strutting into view, mane in full flow, hips pouting and lips a swagger, we’re jumping straight into “Good To See You Again”, and immediately what strikes you is just how big, bold and impressive the production is. There are a lot of albums over the years that have looked to ape this style and sound, but it has to be said that while Whitesnake were always one of the runaway leaders of that pack, but when you dig deep into how their albums actually sound, they make nearly all of those pretenders cower in the corner. “Gonna Be Alright”, with its insistent guitar lines, assures that it will indeed be just fine - in fact it’s going to be better than that. The aforementioned “Shut Up And Kiss Me” a throbbing crutch of love that raises a proud middle finger to political correctness, but still, as it always was, with its snake-tongue shoved firmly in its cheek - and your cheek too, if it gets half the chance! I mean if you’ve read this far and are considering buying Flesh & Blood, then surely this is exactly what you’re looking for?

Beach and Hoekstra are in mighty form, firing out flowing guitar solos, revealing mile wide riffs and clearly revelling in a more prominent role in creating the next continuation in the unmistakable Whitesnake strut. Beach in particular must be congratulated for having a leading role in this outing’s ability to sound fresh and new, while still possessing the heartbeat that the likes of Sykes, Vandenberg, Vai and Aldrich have previously provided. “Always Forever” shimmies and shakes, “When I Think Of You (Color Me Blue)” gets the lighters in the air in that long lost power balled mode, while the album’s title track adds a little more refinement and at least nods to this band’s beginnings, even if it doesn’t quite fully embrace them. Add in the Tommy Aldridge driven drum barrage of “Well I Never”, the hustle bustle tussle of “Get Up” and the rather wonderful acoustic led “After All”, which doesn’t waste a setting that Coverdale has always thrived in, and all the reptiles are fed.

Here we are 32 years on from the album that defines Whitesnake, and while those revered pipes are showing a few signs of wear and tear, in general, there’s no denying that Coverdale and his band pull it off. In truth, I wasn’t expecting it and certainly wasn’t anticipating it being this good. It’s not quite 1987, but Whitesnake 2019 is still in rude health and long may it continue!

2004 Sea Of Tranquility
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