Whitesnake – Flesh & Blood review

The perfect antidote to the grimness of reality. 9/10Whitesnake b+w

The sultry tones of David Coverdale are an essential part of my life. From the Deep Purple and early Whitesnake played by older relatives to his bombastic reappearance in1987 with a new line-up, versions of Crying In The Rain and Here I Go Again (from 1982’s Saints and Sinners), new hair and Tawny Kitaen in the music videos. It was earth shattering in my pre-teens. When Slip of The Tongue (featuring ex-Zappa and David Lee Roth) ‘stunt-guitarist’ Steve Vai launched with even more flamboyant style, I was delighted. My cassette, personally recorded from BBC radio live from Donnington (1990) was a treasured possession. His work with Jimmy Page and the live performances were tremendous, hawking back to a bluesier, more organic vibe before returning with Whitesnake’s Restless Heart in 1997 which was intended to be a solo album.  The touring did not end and Good To Be Bad (2008) was a triumph with a superb lineup.  Forevermore didn’t quite tick all the boxes for me personally, but after their 40th anniversary tour they are back with Flesh & Blood.

The marvellous Reb Beach is still on board and is regarded as bandleader and has co-written five tracks, but Joel Hoekstra (who joined for The Purple Album, the Deep Purple collection) co-wrote six numbers with Coverdale. The legend that is Tommy Aldridge is miraculously still on drums as the longest serving member of the myriad line-up changes of the greatest rock musicians available to quite possibly still the greatest voice in rock.

Good To See You Again opens with a classically sounding Whitesnake riff, it’s good to hear you again! Upbeat, engaging, somewhat sleazy, bluesy with that unmistakable voice. It’s a great kick off. Gonna Be Alright and I have faith; the guitar has a hint of 90’s Seattle grunge style, but not overtly so- giving an unique flavor to somewhat melancholic number with an euphoric melody that transitions into a mantra of positivity. Valentines Day, 2019 saw the release of  lead single Shut Up & Kiss Me with its somewhat tongue in cheek video and sound reminiscent of those 80’s chart-busting glory years. If you have been hibernating under a non-rock, rock and need some upbeat hard edged party rock and roll to get your weekend/ motivation started then you can’t go wrong with this. Believe me when I say it’s a grower…

Hey You (You Make Me Rock) was released last month and is a heavier, sleazier beast of a track with hints of ‘desert rock’ or old school AIC crossed with (dare I say it, Def Leppard!) A little suggestive of the reimagined 87 version of Crying In The Rain in its emotiveness. It is a quality number and delivered expertly.

Always & Forever has an even deeper old school feel (Slide It In era), it’s unexpected and a delicious delight. Feelgood, with a hint of cheesiness, without being over the top.

When I Think Of You (Color Me Blue) commences with a 70’s bluesy riff (slightly reminiscent of Mott The Hoople) which is sweet, without being saccharine for a slower tempo ballad. Lighters aloft and listen closely for those sighs (from the Cov and adoring female masses!)

Trouble Is Your Middle Name sirens wail and a delightfully raunchy, bluesy guitar introduce a pumping blowout of a song. The guitar solos are simply magical and  certain to get you smiling! (If you care as much as I do, here you go: Reb Beach’s solo: 1:38-1:55; Joel Hoekstra solo: 1:56-2:25;  Reb’s outro solo: 3:35-4:07. With thanks to Hoekstra for posting!) The title track, Flesh & Blood is a mid paced stomper, simple enough lyrically for even the most cider-sodden festival reveller to chorus (I look forward to joining the horde!)

Well I Never brings us back to the down and dirty, with the primal percussive throb of Aldridge driving the party. Heart Of Stone drops the pace for a darkly moving ballad. Get Up ups the pace and gets the party in full swing, the harmonised backing vocals somehow add a different dimension. After All starts with a delightful classical guitar and is gloriously pared back and gentle in its almost folk rock style. The vocal work is sublime. Sands Of Time closes the album in majestic Whitesnake style

This is a spectacular return to form, this could have easily followed Slip Of The Tongue. The production is wonderful and the music is great. This is unashamedly and unmistakably Whitesnake. The perfect antidote to the grimness of reality. Grab onto Flesh & Blood with both hands and enjoy the ride 😉

Tracklist:

  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 & Digital versions:

  1. Can’t Do Right For Doing Wrong (Bonus Track)
  2. If I Can’t Have You (Bonus Track)
  3. Gonna Be Alright (X-Tendo Mix) – DVD audio track
  4. Sands Of Time (Radio Mix) – DVD audio track
  5. Shut Up And Kiss Me (Video Mix) – DVD audio track

Flesh & Blood is available to purchase now via Amazon

Each Monday The Metal Report sends out a list of all stories, interviews, reviews and features we’ve posted for the previous week. You can sign up for it here

European Tour Dates

6/12: Tilburg, NL @ 013
6/14: Donnington, UK @ Download Festival #
6/17: Prague, CZ @ 02 Arena **
6/19: Milan, IT @ Mediolanum Forum **
6/20: Zurich, CH @ Rock the Ring Festival #
6/22: Clisson, FR @ Hellfest #
6/23: Dessel, BL @ Graspop Metal Meeting #
6/25: Budapest, HU @ Barba Negra Track
6/27: Zajecar, RS @ Guitar Festival #
6/29: Plovdiv, BG @ Hills of Rock Festival #
7/1: Bucharest, RO @ Arenele Romane
7/3: Zagreb, CR @ SRC Salata
7/5: Sered, SK @ Sered Amphitheatre
7/7: Cologne, DE @ Palladium
7/10: Gavle, SE @ Furuviksparken *
7/15: Saint Petersburg, RU @ Bkz Oktyabrski Theatre
7/17: Moscow, RU @ Crocus City Hall

*WHITESNAKE Only
#Festival Appearance
** With Def Leppard

Each Monday The Metal Report sends out a list of all stories, interviews, reviews and features we’ve posted for the previous week. You can sign up for it here