Released by: Mascot Label Group
Release Date: Out Now!!!
Genre: Classic Whitesnake
Adrian Vandenberg – Guitar
Jan Hoving – Vocals
Sem Christoffel – Bass
Mart Nijen Es – Drums
1. Lust And Lies
2. Close To You
3. Good Thing
5. Steal Away
6. Line Of Fire
7. Out Of Reach
8. Feel It
9. Leave This Town
10. One Step Behind
12. Nothing Touches
13. Sailing Ships
Adrian Vandenberg made his name with Vandenberg, and the song ‘Burning Heart’ and gained further international recognition as a world class guitarist when he joined Whitesnake, co-writing with David Coverdale many of its hit singles, like ‘The Deeper The Love’ and ‘Now You’re Gone’. He also provided the 1987 guitar solo to ‘Here I Go Again’.
After a lengthy hiatus from the music business, he made a notable guest appearance with Whitesnake at Sweden Rock’s 20th Anniversary festival and has now built a band up around his exceptional playing to deliver Vandenberg’s Moonkings.
‘Lust and Lies’ opens with a deep baseline and rapid drum beat before Vandenberg lets his fingers do the talking and he adds his distinctive style that shone through with Whitesnake. For those people thinking that a guitarist driven album will be an instrumental affair, the introduction of professional David Coverdale impersonator Jan Hoving will come as a pleasant surprise. Imitating DC in his prime, Hoving hits all of the high notes and holds them in place.
Overall, the album feels reminiscent of pre-1987 era Whitesnske and will seem very, very familiar to long term fans. On the intro to ‘Close to You’ you can almost hear DC uttering “hear the wolf howl honey, sniffing around your door”.
‘Good Thing’ continues the vein of blues driven rock music with its “could be the best thing that ever happened to me” line lodging firmly in the head. The addition of female backing singers give the song some depth and more of a Deep South feel to proceedings.
‘Breathing’ offers up the first ballad of the album and ticks all of the right boxes; Acoustic guitars and mellow vocals underpinned by string instruments for atmosphere, CHECK
High energy guitar and harmonised vocals on the chorus , CHECK
Dial it down for slow mellow finale? CHECK
‘Steal Away’ will translate well to the live arena with its strong hook laden intro and chorus. It’s likely to get energetic responses from the crowd. Vandenburg plays some great solos and lyrically it’s classic trousersnake material, “steal away your love, if you won’t give it to me, or you won’t set me free, I’ll take a chance on heartbreak”.
‘Line of Fire’ sees a slight change in vocal style from Hoving with shades of Dio’s distinctive sound coming through. Again no bad thing on what is a very catchy song. The whole album has been produced very well, all tracks are lovingly crafted and prominence given to each musician as appropriate on the tracks. Given the band and album belongs to Vadenberg there was always a chance he might overshadow everyone else in the mix but this is not the case. The tracks highlight the right people at the right time and as such it sounds like a very well crafted debut.
Strings and acoustic guitars return on sublime ballad ‘Out of Reach’ with the album following the old school approach of 2-3 rockers before every slow track. It provides a good balance at the albums mid point before ‘Feel It’ ups the tempo and ‘Leave This Town’ sees Vandenburg again pushing that Southern Rock feel might see them supporting Lynyrd Skynyrd in the future. ‘One Step Behind’ is perhaps one ballad too far on the album as the listener probably needs balls out rockers to maintain interest towards the tail end. On ‘Leeches’ all of the Zeppelin traits that have been levied at Whitesnake over the years are brought into play and to great effect as well.
Finally, the album closes with a guest vocal appearance from non other than Jan H….. sorry…., David Coverdale! on ‘Sailing Ships’.
Overall, it’s well produced, well written, has good musicianship but perhaps plays it a little too safe and is more a tribute to Vandenberg’s former team than a stand out new project.
Written by Adrian