Breaking a musical silence that – apart from a few live appearances and a song written for his local football team – has lasted 20 long years, Dutch axemeister Adrian Vandenberg has emerged from his self-enforced exile with a renewed fire in his belly and this new project with a new, young band.
‘Moonkings’ is very much steeped in the classic British blues tradition in which Vandenberg grew up – and, indeed, on more than one occasion gives more than a passing nod to the earlier incarnations of Whitesnake – but also has a very modern twist. What this most definitely is not is a vanity project by a recluse rock star seeking to relive old glories: far from it. This is very much a band project, with Vandenberg happy to let both the songs and his fellow musicians breathe and stretch themselves – witness the contributions of bassist Sem Christoffel, for example – which in turn helps the guitarist deliver a series of performances which are exuberant and enthusiastic.
Vocalist Jan Hoving has a rich and luscious voice: yes, there is a very Coverdale feel to some of his performances, such as ‘Steal Away’ and the vitriol-fuelled ‘Leeches’, but there are also elements of Cormac Neeson and Myles Kennedy – just check out ‘Breathing’, which would not sound out of place among the best of Alter Bridge’s catalogue – combined with a passion which is matched only by that of the returning guitar hero.
The album closes with a genuine piece of history as, 25 years after originally writing the song together, Vandenberg and David Coverdale finally unite to perform ‘Sailing Ships’ – and the result is even better than the original, as the pair wring every ounce of emotion from every note, to provide the icing on the cake of a powerful album which hopefully spells the return of its proponent to more regular active duty.
Lust And Lies / Close To You / Good Thing / Breathing / Steal Away / Line Of Fire / Out Of Reach / Feel It / Leave This Town / One Step Behind / Leeches / Nothing Touches / Sailing Ships
‘Moonkings’ is released on February 24 on the Mascot Label Group.
Check out our recent interview with Adrian Vandenberg: http://planetmosh.com/adrian-vandenberg-interview/