Whitesnake – Forevermore (2011)

Posted: March 11, 2011 in Music

As an impressionable teenager back in the mid-Eighties, while having an interest in music but not following any particular genre, I remember stumbling on a MTV countdown of Top Metal Videos. This was a time when commercial Rock music was reaching its peak, and the video was just as important as the song. I recall seeing for the first time the video for ‘Living On A Prayer’ with Jon Bon Jovi soaring above his audience on a harness, and thinking it was pretty cool, and suitably impressed when Def Leppard performed ‘Pour Some Sugar On Me’ in a house while it was being demolished.

But then I remember being absolutely blown away when I saw a Whitesnake video for the first time, for this one had it all; the flashy car, the sexy lady, the hugely elaborate stage setting, the big hair, the excessive posturing…wait a minute, did that guy just lick his guitar?? It was 1987, it was ‘Still Of The Night’, and from that moment on, I was hooked. Rock music would go on to dominate my life, and David Coverdale and his band of merry men would always hold a special place in my heart. While the self-titled album from 1987 will always be regarded as the band’s ‘classic’, I’ve loved everything that they’ve done, going back to discover the earlier years, and then everything since, for a while I thought ‘Slip Of The Tongue’ was even better than it’s predecessor, and although to all intents and purposes it was a solo album, ‘Restless Heart’ was a fine piece of work too.

After a period in the wilderness, Coverdale resurrected the band for the 25th anniversary tour in 2003, but it would be another five years before we would get a new album. ‘Good To Be Bad’ (2008) was a bold statement of intent, demonstrating that Whitesnake were still a force to be reckoned with. It was by far the heaviest album to bear the name, but without sacrificing what endeared them to their legions of fans all those years ago, as it fused all of the different ‘Snake eras into one, and added a modern heavy rock sound. Many anticipated that it would be their last album – but roll on to 2011, and ‘Forevermore’ shows that Mr. Coverdale isn’t planning to hang up his microphone just yet.

It seems that the revolving door of band members will always remain turning, the band are now back to a five-piece following the departure of keyboard player Timothy Drury (though he does feature as a special guest), former Lynch Mob bassist Michael Devin has replaced Uriah Duffy, and ex-Billy Idol and Pride & Glory drummer Brian Tichy has taken the stool vacated by Chris Frazier.

However, rather pleasingly the guitarist line-up has remained unchanged, and you would have to go all the way back to 1982 and the ‘Saints And Sinners’ album for the last time that happened. Doug Aldrich (ex-Dio) and Reb Beach (ex-Winger) have established a formidable partnership, their riffs and solos absolutely dominate proceedings. As for David Coverdale’s voice, although it’s not as powerful as it was back in the Eighties (and he would probably be the first to admit it), it’s obvious he has his limits, and he stays within those confines comfortably and sounds just fine. And his abilities as the frontman will never be questioned.

‘Forevermore’ picks up where ‘Good To Be Bad’ left off, and is not quite as heavy as it’s predecessor, and moderately more melodic, which has resulted in a slightly more eclectic collection of songs. Opener ‘Steal Your Heart Away’ with it’s subtle harmonica parts bridges the gap between the Seventies and Twenty-Tens perfectly – strip away the modern production sound and this would sit comfortably on the ‘Trouble’ debut. The likes of ‘All Out Of Luck’, ‘Tell Me How’ and first single ‘Love Will Set You Free’ are riff-heavy chest-beating melodic rockers absolutely teeming with hooklines, while ‘I Need You (Shine A Light)’ eases back on the muscle without losing the power, and has the biggest chorus on the album. ‘Love And Treat Me Right’ is slightly reminiscent of the classic ‘Love Ain’t No Stranger’; ‘One Of These Days’ is a bright and breezy acoustic driven number with a hint of The Eagles: ‘Whipping Boy Blues’ sounds like it could be a leftover from David’s collaboration with Jimmy Page, and ‘My Evil Ways’ is a rip-roaring rocker that again harks back to the old days – complete with an awesome guitar duel.

And as for the ballads, ‘Easier Said Than Done’ is a classy mid-tempo smoocher, and ‘Fare Thee Well’ is a beautiful acoustic based piece with a subtle Southern Rock influence. Under normal circumstances this would be the perfect closer to the album, however that honour is reserved for the seven minute plus sweeping epic ‘Forevermore.’ It’s a dynamic number that resembles ‘Sailing Ships’ from the ‘Slip of the Tongue’ album, beginning with gentle acoustic passages and smooth vocal lines, before erupting into a huge power ballad with fantastic guitar work, and is quite simply one of the best songs Coverdale has ever written.

To sum up, if you liked past Whitesnake albums, then you will love ‘Forevermore,’ and in my humble opinion, this is every bit as good, if not better, than the classic from 1987. Sexy, suave and well-written, this is an album that deserves high-rotation on your iPod.

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