WHITESNAKE – Flesh and Blood
The renowned Whitesnake fronted by the legendary David Coverdale (ex-Deep Purple) hardly need any introduction at all as they have more or less shaped the bluesy hard rock landscape ever since the band’s inception back in 1978. It has been quite a while since this amazing cast of musicians released a proper studio album containing original material (that would be the marvelous 2011 effort entitled "Forevermore"), but that is not to take anything away from the exceptionally cool "The Purple Album" that Coverdale and his talented cohorts issued back in 2015. However, that one consisted of reinterpreted renditions of classic Deep Purple songs from the Coverdale/Hughes era. So what about this 2019 offering of theirs then?
"Flesh and Blood" has a slightly darker tone and atmosphere compared to its two predecessors and it comes across as less bombastic and massive than "Good to Be Bad" and the aforementioned "Forevermore", but therein lies its beauty; this is not merely a copy or a simple and straightforward continuation of what came before. Rather, they have managed to conceive a record that encapsulates the very essence of what Whitesnake is all about while simultaneously incorporating traits and elements from ALL the previous albums and eras and whatnot. From melancholy blues to face-melting hard rock and further on to heartfelt ballads with an 80s sheen to them, "Flesh and Blood" has it all. Not every track works like a charm though; "Always & Forever" and "Get Up" are rather unremarkable compared to the remaining tunes and add little or nothing to the affair, but other than that we are dealing with a hugely entertaining piece of work here. How can one not love such fiery anthems as "Well I Never" and "Heart of Stone"? That slithering main riff in "Gonna Be Alright" is to die for and Coverdale’s vocal melodies throughout "Hey You (You Make Me Rock)" are out of this world. Those were just two examples right off the top of my head. The point is that there are some unbelievably cool moments to be found on the disc, but then why the fuck am I telling you that? This is Whitesnake, damn it! You know how this thing works!
Joel Hoekstra and Reb Beach are a fierce guitar duo, Michele Luppi adds color and nuance to the compositions, and the bone-crunching rhythm section consisting of Tommy Aldridge and Michael Devin is a force to be reckoned with. And the great man himself, i.e. David Coverdale, still sounds as passionate as he did more than forty years ago, and you can tell that he is having the time of his life here, which is just one of the things that makes this such an inspiring and enjoyable listening experience.