Album Reviews

Chickenfoot – III Review

Released By : Ear Music

Genre : Classic Rock, Hard Rock

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1. Last Temptation
2. Alright, Alright
3. Different Devil
4. Up Next
5. Lighten Up
6. Come Closer
7. Three and a Half Letters
8. Big Foot
9. Dubai Blues
10. Something Going Wrong

The term “Supergroup” is thrown around in the music industry a little too willy-nilly these days. A lot of these aforementioned acts may have two members from past semi-successful bands and a lot of them are actually realistically nothing more than glorified studio projects where sometimes a lot of the members in these groups never even meet each other face to face. Now, CHICKENFOOT however I have no problem at all with them being regarded as a Supergroup and maybe apart from BLACK COUNTRY COMMUNION they are one of the only new bands really worthy of the moniker in decades.

Their debut album that was released back in 2009 was an absolutely awesome piece of hard rock and there was no doubt in my mind that each member of the band more than earned their place and each of these guys contributed their unique skills while still managing to make themselves sound like a united group. Now a mere two years later CHICKENFOOT have dropped their follow-up, which they have titled III, jokingly attempting to skip the widely-known second album slump. So, is it as good as the first album?  Well, the answer to that is yes, but it’s good for different reasons that the debut and is actually a fairly different record too.

I feel that the red rocker Sammy Hagar has a stronger influence this time around than previously but that could be due to a more subdued effort from a couple of the other guys. For example Chad Smith isn’t as prevalent this time around as he was on the debut. His drumming is still awesome for sure, and that unique punchy snare sound is as cool as ever, but maybe the fact that RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS are busier this around kept him from giving his all. Joe Satriani also seems to be getting more comfortable as a band member rather that a solo act as his guitar contribution is a little less virtuostic than last time, he still gets to show his chops occasionally throughout this disc, but just not as often as you might expect. Michael Anthony is still seemingly doing as much, if not more, than last time around and I still stick to my theory that he is one of the most under-rated bass players in the rock landscape. His great backing vocals are also a real highlight again this time around. Overall it’s a more well-rounded effort this time around and it really feels as though these four superstars are beginning to gel together perfectly, I would have preferred to hear a bit more from the Chadster though.

Around half of this album is spent in familiar territory with tunes like BIGFOOT, LAST TEMPTATAION, UP NEXT and LIGHTEN UP all showing remnants of the previous album, it’s the rest of the tracks on offer here that show CHICKENFOOT’S ability to grow as a band. For example while ALRIGHT, ALRIGHT may be pretty standard party rocker it actually feels a bit like a Sammy Hagar with the WABOS song, DIFFERENT DEVIL is a sort of alt-country ballad track with a Van Hagar era chorus, THREE AND A HALF LETTERS is a song that features lyrics directly taken from letters that struggling fans had sent to Hagar, but with the addition of a pretty full-on chorus. This track feels a little bit too political for constant party boy Sammy Hagar but I do like the general idea and think it was a worthy experiment, DUBAI BLUES is a great classic blues-rock tune with some special Satriani magic, SOMETHING GOING WRONG has a softer blues/country vibe and is a decent enough closer, wouldn’t have been much a fan of it though it was any earlier in the track listing. Probably the biggest surprise here though, and the track that will cause the most discussion is COME CLOSER. Apparently Hagar had these lyrics written and he basically just gave them to Satriani and told him to do whatever he wanted with them composition-wise. Funnily enough it has come out sounding not really like anything any of the members of the band have done before, it’s a really slow, brooding minimalistic soul-type track and I have to say that after a few listens this has become my outright highlight of the entire album.

Two albums in and CHICKENFOOT really feel like a band rather than a studio project and I can only hope that they hang around for a few more albums in the future, III is not a perfect album, but fans of the first disc will surely love it and anybody that has been into Hagar’s earlier solo work should find plenty to get excited about here too.

Written By ZeeZee

Rating : 8/10

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