Chickenfoot – Chickenfoot III (Ear Music)

This is the second album by the hard rock quartet made up of two former Van Halen members (Sammy Hagar, vocals, Michael Anthony, bass) along with guitar ace Joe Satriani and Red Hot Chili Peppers’ drummer Chad Smith. Like its predecessor, the new album is a throwback to the hard rock sounds of the 1970s…not surprising given the fact that the 63-year-old Hagar was a part of that era as frontman for Montrose and his own solo albums.

Most of the 10 tracks on offer here stick fairly close to that 70’s hard rock (as opposed to metal) template. They feature big, meaty guitar riffs, uncomplicated arrangements, four-on-the floor drumming, Hagar’s unpretentious vocals and  well-played guitar solos.

The band steers away from the formula occasionally. Different Devil is a bit mellower, even, dare I say it, introspective. Come Closer is also quieter, with Hagar chiming in with some un-typical subtle vocals. And Three And A Half Letters actually takes on a social issue…unemployment and homelessness. These tracks add some weight to the album and turn it into something other than just a riff-heavy party album.

For those waiting for a new Van Halen album, this should fill the bill, at least temporarily. Michael Anthony’s distinctive backing vocals sound the same as they did on the Van Halen albums and Satriani’s guitar style is not a million miles from Eddie’s. Of course, Sammy’s somewhat generic shouting is no different than what he did for VH, either.

The band has attempted to “value-add” the CD version of the album, including 3-D artwork, complete with glasses. I’m not sure if that’s a particularly compelling selling point, but if you’re after some rather (mostly) mindless, yet harmless hard rock, and you’ve worn out your old Van Halen and Montrose albums, get on the Chicken-foot.

Marty Duda

Click here to listen to Alright Alright from Chickenfoot III

Click here to listen to The 13th Floor interview with Chickenfoot guitarist Joe Satriani.