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For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge

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iTunes Review

Though Eddie Van Halen's inventive guitarwork is what established the band's reputation, his playing is much more in context with the songs during the band's Sammy Hagar days. The solos still leap from the speakers, but much of the rhythm work is shuttled to the middle of the mix, where it blends with the band's excellent rhythm section. The group that made its name as the wildest party band on the Southern California circuit with David Lee Roth leading the charge refocused its approach to be the most tasteful hard rock band on the planet. "Poundcake" is an arena-ready hard rocker, while "Judgement Day" swings like only these Pasadena boys can. "Right Now" is an instant classic that proves the band's arrangement skills have matured and evolved in complexity. "316" is a sweet, understated instrumental. "Top of the World" recalls the band's vintage pop power. "The Dream Is Over" corrals the group's subtle funk. There isn't another hard rock group alive with as much natural ability. 

Customer Reviews

Van Hagar's best

The band was firing on all cylinders here: Ed is at his Hagar era peak, as is Alex Van Halen, whose drums never sounded better thanks to Andy Johns behind the glass. The real surprise here is Michael Anthony's bass riding nice and high in the mix, giving the whole thing a bottom end Van Halen records never had before.

You can credit Ted Templeman's return to the soaring vocals from Sammy and Michael and the songs are MOSTLY amazing, from mid tempo, slap and tickle rockers like Poundcake to singsongs like Runaround (Which sounds better in the studio than live), plus the amazing antics of rockers like Pleasure Dome and Judgement Day (with its STUNNING tapping techniques.). Even the lone keyboard piece, Right Now, is shockingly fun to sing along to and features an amazing guitar solo. The final tune, Top Of The World, is pure summer singalong fun at its best.

It rocks, most of the time

There is a definite feeling that they tried to go back to their roots and make a hard rock album, and the effort was not with a Grammy win in the "Best Hard Rock Album" category. There are some standout tracks that rank with the best of the bands efforts, notably "Poundcake," "Runaround" and "Top of the World." Of course "Right Now" may be the most popular song of the Sammy era. However, the title reflects a running theme throughout the album and causes it to fall a little flat in places with some uninspired songs like "Man on a Mission," "Spanked" and "In and Out." As well, the instrumental "316" hardly seems worth putting on the disc as it is a short and extremely simple piece that seems more like an introductory guitar piece. Not their best overall effort, but definitely one that should be heard.

Best VH Album

This is the Pinnacle of music genius for Van Halen. Everything after this is measured to this album. From start to finish this is the best Effort, musically all around.


Formed: 1974 in Pasadena, CA

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

With their 1978 eponymous debut, Van Halen simultaneously rewrote the rules of rock guitar and hard rock in general. Guitarist Eddie Van Halen redefined what the electric guitar could do, developing a blindingly fast technique with a variety of self-taught two-handed tapping, hammer-ons, pull-offs, and effects that mimicked the sounds of machines and animals. It was wildly inventive and over the top, equaled only by vocalist David Lee Roth, who brought the role of a metal singer to near-performance...
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