Whitesnake – Forevermore (2011, Frontiers)
- Steal Your Heart Away
- All Out Of Luck
- Love Will Set You Free
- Easier Said Than Done
- Tell Me How
- I Need You (Shine A Light)
- One Of These Days
- Love & Treat Me Right
- Dogs In The Street
- Fare Thee Well
- Whipping Boy Blues
- My Evil Ways
- Love Will Set You Free (alternate mix)*
- Forevermore (acoustic version)*
- My Evil Ways (My Evil drums mix)*
* (bonus tracks)
- Making of Forevermore
- Forevermore: Track By Track
- ‘Love Will Set You Free’ video
- Making of ‘Love Will Set You Free’
David Coverdale – Lead Vocals
Doug Aldrich – Guitars
Reb Beach – Guitars & Backing Vocals
Michael Devin – Bass
Brian Tichy – Drums
Timothy Drury – Keyboards
Jasper Coverdale – Vocals
Producers: David Coverdale, Doug Aldrich, Michael McIntyre
Country: United Kingdom/USA
Total Time = 1:17:12
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Whitesnake is back again with a brand new studio album, FOREVERMORE, one of the most anticipated albums of 2011. It’s been three years since Whitesnake mainman David Coverdale and his formidable lineup delivered the excellent GOOD TO BE BAD (2008) but the band hasn’t been out of the spotlight. Quite the contrary with shows played worldwide, including a U.S. tour with Judas Priest in support of GOOD TO BE BAD. Unfortunately, due to health reasons, Coverdale had vocal problems on the tour and had to cancel certain dates giving critics, and some fans, reason to write the band off but Coverdale and company have returned again with a vengeance. Joining David again is the excellent guitar duo of Doug Aldrich and Reb Beach (members since 2002) and keyboardist Timothy Drury but there are new faces in the rhythm section with former Ozzy, Billy Idol and Lynch Mob drummer Brian Tichy and former Lynch Mob bassist Michael Devin. Despite this round of lineup changes,and David Coverdale pushing 60, Whitesnake sound as powerful as ever.
The best way to describe FOREVERMORE is that it’s the natural continuation of GOOD TO BE BAD. The band leans toward the original Blues based Whitesnake sound of the late ’70s/early ’80s with a nod to the mega-platinum success of the late ’80s, the songs all thick with heavy guitars, plenty of melody and groove and, of course, excellent vocals from Coverdale. If you listen to the album in it’s entirety you immeadiately notice the thick, rich sound and that’s due to the top of the line production but you also hear layers of guitars. There’s no doubt that Doug Aldrich and Reb Beach are the perfect compliment to David Coverdale, both guitarists are experienced and at the top of the Hard Rock heap with a combined resumé that includes: Dio, Winger, Dokken, Lion, Burning Rain, Hurricane and Bad Moon Rising. Devin and Tichy have proven they are a solid rhythm section and Drury compliments the sound with his keyboards but the obvious question mark is Coverdale himself…..has he recovered from the throat issues that plagued him a couple of years ago? I’m happy to say that Coverdale puts in another excellent performance at the mic and at almost 60 years old! After so many years of consistent vocal performances from Deep Purple through to Whitesnake in 2011, Coverdale is one of the best in the business and there seems to be no effects from the previous years’ issues. He prefers to use the more bluesy side of his voice, the early Whitesnake sound, rather than the high pitched screams of the late ’80s and you can tell that he stays in the lower register but David Coverdale’s lower register is better than 90% of younger current day singers! You can easily drift back to older Whitesnake albums like LOVEHUNTER (1979), READY AN’ WILLING (1980) and SAINTS AND SINNERS (1982) just by listening to the vocals. Add Reb Beach and Jasper Coverdale on backing vocals and it’s the perfect compliment to get that thick full vocal sound. The same basic themes are back again in the songwriting: love, love lost, love gained, love in general. There’s nothing wrong about writing about love, seduction, break-ups, etc and Coverdale is one of the best, he’s made a career out of it, so you know the album is well-written.
Opening the album is the hard Blues based rocker ‘Steal Your Heart Away’ with plenty of guitars and big hooky chorus. You can hear the slide guitar mixed into the riff trading from Aldrich and Beach and the solo break signals that this isn’t going to be a relaxed record, this is going to be a rocker! ‘Steal Your Heart Away’ kind of reminds me a little of ‘Shake My Tree’ from the Coverdale/Page album from 1993 in some of the bluesier parts but this is Hard Rock at it’s best. You can hear that Country influence with that slide guitar, a slight honky-tonk sound that adds a layer to the song. Continuing the Blues Hard Rock sound is another guitar grooved rocker ‘All Out Of Luck’ and the first single from FOREVERMORE, ‘Love Will Set You Free’. You can hear Coverdale start to go for the higher register and notes while maintaining that seductive groove in ‘All Out Of Luck’ and he shows flashes in ‘Love Will Set You Free’. Being the first single, it’s easy to say that ‘Love Will Set You Free’ sounds a bit more commercial compared to the first two opening tracks, and it’s true to a point drawing comparisons to late ’80s Snake, but the heaviness is there and the thick sound still gives it than dirtier, less polished sound.
After three solid rockers to open the album, the first proper ballad is ‘Easier Said Than Done’ and it reminds me of the WHITESNAKE (1987) and SLIP OF THE TONGUE (1989) era, it has that ‘Is This Love’ & ‘The Deeper The Love’ emotion that could easily propel it to a hit if radio played bands like Whitesnake. Same thing with the uptempo ‘Tell Me How’, it reminds me of those two classic albums’ sound much like the title track from GOOD TO BE BAD a few years ago. Another song that has that melodic commercial hook is ‘I Need You (Shine A Light)’, another song that could easily be a radio single. After listening to this song once, you instantly pick it up right away and start singing along but, as you hit repeat, you can hear a Boston influence. Listen closely to the guitar tone and the vocal harmonies, there’s a touch of Boston in there, probably because it’s such a melodic track.
Moving into the second half of the album you get the acoustic mid-tempo/ballad ‘One Of These Days’. It’s a pretty simple song with the focus on David’s solid vocal and the guitars, a perfect song if the band was ever going to perform unplugged, listen for the harmonies on the chorus…..superb. It almost doesn’t sound like Whitesnake! A song like ‘One Of These Days’ is perfect for a Rock album like FOREVERMORE because it breaks up all the heavier fast songs and adds a different layer to the album. The Hard Rock continues with ‘Love & Treat Me Right’ and the all out Metal of ‘Dogs In The Street’, a song that immeadiately reminds me of ‘Bad Boys’ from the 1987 s/t album. Talk about going back in time! It’s like Whitesnake recorded this sometime between 1987 and 1989, put it in a vault and released it 20+ years later. Forget the Blues base here, this is Metal! Following the assault of ‘Dogs In The Street’ is another good acoustic ballad ‘Fare the Well’ that’s very similar to ‘One Of These Days’ but slower. That’s three ballads through ten tracks, it may be a bit excessive but Coverdale’s track record can’t be denied, he’s had plenty of big hits with mid-tempo songs and ballads. The band continues to keep us guessing by giving us another rocker that sounds influenced from the COVERDALE/PAGE record from 1993 and mixed with GOOD TO BE BAD. It’s a very riff heavy song and Coverdale keeps his voice in that higher register from back in his younger days. Brian Tichy gets his quick solo moment with the opening drum intro to ‘My Evil Ways’, another guitar driven blues rocker that borders on ’80s Metalwith the trademark Coverdale screams and trade-off guitarwork fron Aldrich and Beach. There’s a Thin Lizzy meets the George Thorogood vibe here if you listen: Thin Lizzy with that twin axe attack and Thorogood with that honky-tonk Blues groove…..definitely a cool fast song. Ending the album is the fourth ballad, and third acoustic ballad in a row, ‘Forevermore’. I can’t fault Coverdale for going to what he does best, writing love songs, and he does this throughout the entire record. The title track is in the same style as ‘Easier Said Than Done’ but slower and more gentle until the solo break where the band kicks in and everything sounds lush with the big power ballad sound. Any doubts about David’s voice should be cast away after this song, after this album, because he sings with plenty of power, emotion and ability as he ever has.
If you’re an insane collector like me, then you needed to buy the limited edition that included three bonus tracks and a DVD. The three bonus tracks are an alternate mix of ‘Love Will Set You Free’, and acoustic version of the title track and a different drum mix of ‘My Evil Ways’. These songs are very similar to the originals and are a nice bonus for a couple of dollars more. The DVD includes the video for ‘Love Will Set You Free’, the making of the album and the video. Again, a nice bonus tucked into the deluxe glossy digipak packaging for a couple bucks more.
Here we go again! Whitesnake has released another great album that mixes the older Whitesnake sound with the late ’80s bombastic style. There’s a great mix of bluesy Hard Rock, ’80s Metal and acoustic ballads that keeps the album fresh with every listen, it’s a great record. The songs are full of melody and hooks that draw you in and gets you singing right along while you fiercly air guitar. The album sounds full and rich thanks to a great production and the musicianship is top notch with Aldrich, Beach, Devin, Tichy and Drury putting on a blazing sonic display. The one question on FOREVERMORE was how good David Coverdale would sound after having vocal issues in 2009 and 2010…..the question is answered in spades with a great vocal performance by one of the masters of Hard Rock. Coverdale sounds as good as he ever has singing with power and emotion proving that talent defies age. Stacking this up against GOOD TO BE BAD is tough because that album had such an impact after 11 years of waiting for new Whitesnake but FOREVERMORE continues where GOOD TO BE BAD left off and even goes beyond it at certain points. Definitely a must have for Whitesnake and Hard Rock fans and a contender for Album of The Year for 2011!
This is going to be a hard one because there isn’t a weak song on the album and I like every one of them. If I had to pick five favorites: ‘Steal Your Heart Away’, ‘Love Will Set You Free’, ‘I Need You (Shine A Light)’, ‘Dogs In The Street’, ‘My Evil Ways’