Flesh & Blood

Whitesnake

Frontiers Records, 2019

http://www.whitesnake.com/

REVIEW BY: Mark Millan

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 03/30/2020

One must admire David Coverdale’s persistence and unending commitment to the Whitesnake brand. Since the official reformation in the mid-2000s, there has been a steady supply of new material, live albums, concert films from the endless dates on the road, and of course, The Purple Album (it’s terrible, by the way.)

For the most part, this constant activity has been a pleasing ride for fans of the band like myself and despite the occasional line-up change (Doug Aldrich departed and was replaced by Joel Hoekstra in 2015 prior to the Purple fiasco), Coverdale has managed to keep the material fresh and the sound rooted firmly in the hair rock days of 1987 and beyond.

For this latest effort, the lineup consists of Coverdale on vocals, Hoekstra on guitars, Rob Beach on guitars (still), Michael Devin on bass, Michele Luppi on keys, and ‘Snake stalwart Tommy Aldridge on drums. Beach and Hoekstra produced the album along with Coverdale and Michael McIntyre; they also co-wrote no less than nine of the thirteen tracks with Coverdale.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Flesh & Blood itself definitely sounds like a “band” album. There’s a tight cohesive sound that is relentless throughout the entire record. Of all the recent Whitesnake releases, this one sounds the most “live,” the most like the guys are standing in a circle grinding these songs out one by one the old fashioned way. For that part, I’ve enjoyed listening to this record; it’s fun, sexy, and powerful. Coverdale’s voice has held up well. His beautiful rich baritone is still killer but the higher range has lost a lot of what it once had. This is to be expected, and thankfully there is minimal screaming and shrieking here so it’s not that noticeable (unlike some of the recent gigs.)

A couple of minor gripes would be the overall sound. Yes, the band is tight, but I’m not a fan of the amount of compression that seems to be have employed here during the mix. When I listen to a band like this, I want it loud and I want it to knock me sideways – this just sounds a little too “radio friendly” for my liking. As a typical ‘Snake affair, we have the massive power chords (the banger “Well I Never,” the second single “Trouble Is Your Middle Name,” and the killer title track.)

We also unfortunately have the power ballads. “Gonna Be Alright” is the strongest of this set; it’s also the fastest, so that’s probably why. “Heart Of Stone” is a fine breakdown, a sweet lower-range performance from Coverdale but lyrically a bit silly and overly clichéd. “After All” is a sappy acoustic track that almost seems like an afterthought here. Two of the best cuts to be found here are the first and last songs. The opener “Good To See You Again” is classic Whitesnake: massive chords, gang vocals, and a snarling vocal from Coverdale. Closer “Sands Of Time” is a mid-tempo march through the past and a perfect way to close out this solid (but far from classic) Whitesnake album.

Overall, Flesh & Blood sits somewhere in the middle of the entire ‘Snake catalogue. It’s far from their worst, but also a ways off their best. As far as the last two decades go, it’s redemption for The Purple Album, much more consistent than Good To Be Bad, but falls short of the latter day classic Forevermore.

Rating: B

User Rating: Not Yet Rated


Comments









© 2020 Mark Millan and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Frontiers Records, and is used for informational purposes only.