Friday, August 02, 2013

Van Halen
"Van Halen" (CD)

Released in 1978, this debut album received mixed reaction initially, but has come to be regarded as one of the most important, groundshaking debuts ever recorded.   When put into its historical context, it's musical language may even be more immediately groundbreaking than any who had come before.

At the tail end of Led Zeppelin's lifespan the public had become weary of the bloated shadow Page, Plant & co. had become.  A digital revolution in the recording industry was afoot and young ears were itching for a "new" sound.

Enter Eddie Van Halen and his noisy brood of bar music.  It was a harbinger of things to come.  Behind Van Halen would be a host of hair metal glam rockers that would dominate the next decade.

But it all started here.  While I'm not the biggest fan of a lot of Van Halen's output, this album is particularly ear-catching. There's a healthy homage to the riff-driven heavy rock from before, but Van Halen's screaming guitar antics were unlike anything previously attempted.  The classic track "Eruption" would quiet any doubts about the band's raw ability.

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