WHITESNAKE
"Forevermore"

(Frontiers)

01. Steal Your Heart Away
02. All Out Of Luck
03. Love Will Set You Free
04. Easier Said Than Done
05. Tell Me How
06. I Need You (Shine A Light)
07. One Of These Days
08. Love And Treat Me Right
09. Dogs In The Street
10. Fare Thee Well
11. Whipping Boy Blues
12. My Evil Ways
13. Forevermore

RATING: 8.5/10

WHITESNAKE 2011 brings it with the hot 'n hardy riffs and shredding solos of Doug Aldrich and Reb Beach, and a musical approach dripping with blues-drenched, hot rockin' strut. That's "Forevermore", folks, and in a general sense often recalls a bigger riffed, harder edged version of the material heard on albums like 1978's "Trouble" and 1980's "Ready 'an Willing" with an occasional glance in the direction of 1984's "Slide it In".

Yet another homerun from Frontiers, the Doug Aldrich/David Coverdale-penned "Forevermore" is the sound of an energized band that's playing it straight from heart. Coverdale's voice has aged well and is more than ever best suited to a style rooted in the British blues-rock tradition. But it is the work of Aldrich of Beach that is nothing short of magnificent; song after song is loaded with head-turning moments of six-string heroism. Maybe even more than any other WHITESNAKE album, "Forevermore" is one for lovers of hard rock guitar.

The tough and the bluesy abounds, as represented by the slip, slide, and shuffle of "Steal your Heart Away", "Tell me How", "All Out of Luck", "Love Will Set You Free", and the serious old-school, hard-rockin' boogie of "My Evil Ways" (the dueling guitars on it are all goose bumps and raised neck hairs). On every one of those cuts, the power of the punch is equal to the degree of infectiousness. "I Need You (Shine a Light)" is similar in some sense, but offers more in the way of fundamentally hook-based, uplifting rock "Dogs in the Street" (a little more Euro-metal) and "Love and Treat Me Right" are respectable toughies.

The devil laughed and the world shook when WHITESNAKE recorded "Whipping Boy Blues". It is in no uncertain terms the album's "holy shit!" highpoint, which says a great deal considering the quality of material on "Forevermore". Just plain bad to the bone, the tune is a massive example of early WHITESNAKE swagger and LED ZEPPELIN Bonham stomp.

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On the lighter side, there are three cuts that range from ballad-esque to the classily epic. "Easier Said than Done" is perhaps closest to classic WHITESNAKE balladry and incudes soulful melodic lead guitar, as well as featuring one of keyboardist Tim Drury's guest appearances. A little soul infects "One of these Days" too; mid-tempo, pop-based, and emphasizing acoustic guitar, it is most unlike what some would consider the classic WHITESNAKE sound. The acoustic guitars, keyboards, and vocal treatment of "One of These Days" make it one that reminds as much of some combination of NAZARETH and '70s-era Rod Stewart as anything WHITESNAKE has recorded in the past. The seven-minute title track closes the album with a classic build from heartfelt acoustic to another example of Bonham beats and ZEPPELIN exoticness; it is the one of the bunch that best defines "classy".

If you were one that loved the earlier WHITESNAKE catalogue or may have enjoyed WHITESNAKE's MTV period, but got burned out on it, then "Forevermore" is the album for out. Alternately, if you want an album of powerhouse performances and dyed-in-the-wool British blues-based hard work, then you sure as hell can't go wrong with this one either. From top to bottom, a dandy of an album.

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