After The Purple Tour, the band would continue and finally record a new album full of all new original Whitesnake songs. This would be the first album of new material since ‘Forevermore’ back in 2011. This would also be the first album that Joel Hoekstra gets to actually perform and play songs that he actually helped write and record and not be a Deep Purple cover band.
Speaking of writing, David likes to write with his star guitarists. This time though, David really has 2 star guitarists that are both very capable and talented writers. David has 3 songs written with Reb Beach and 4 written with Joel. And to get even better, he has 2 written with both of them. And to go even one step further, they all co-produced the album along with Michael McIntyre.
‘Flesh & Blood’ was supposed to come out in early 2018, but was delayed in to the Summer of 2018 due to an illness with David. This is actually the 2nd time an illness had delayed an album. If you remember this happened back for the 1987 album and John Sykes almost staged a coup and move on with out David. Yeah, and that didn’t end well for John.
When the new due date came, the album was then pushed back all the way to Spring 2019 due to “technical issues” that came about during the mixing of the album. I’m not sure what that was, but whatever it was, it was massive and delayed the album almost a full year. By this time, I wasn’t holding out much promise for this to be any good. I thought “technical issue” meant…”this album sucks and we need to re-record it”. Boy, was I wrong…or was I??? We will never know.
The line-up of the band is actually unchanged from The Purple Tour live album. Nice to see the band stay intact for a change from one album to the next. They usually have a hard time keeping either the bass player or keyboardist. And with all that, why not get to the music.
The album kicks off with such a classic Whitesnake sounding riff on “Good To See You Again”. This is one of two songs by Coverdale, Beach and Hoekstra and if this is the shape of things to come, we are in for a treat. This is heavy, blues-tinged rocker with a hint of that old sleazy rock vibe and what you want to hear from the bad boys. “Gonna Be Alright” keeps the party going with a hint of 90’s rock vibe full of confidence and swagger. Doesn’t fully sound like a typical Snake song, but I think that is a good thing.
Then we get to a song that we haven’t seen from Whitesnake in quite some time. A song that is memorable and makes you sing it long after the song is over. “Shut Up & Kiss Me” is that track. This purely and utterly classic late 80’s Whitesnake and something we can never get enough of. Plus the video is so cheeky, you got love it. This was written with Reb and I am so glad he now contributes more to the band now as he is a much needed kick in the ass.
Then we get to the other song written by the three amigos, “Hey You (You Make Me Rock)”. You get another heavy track full of sleaze, grit and an infectious energy. The solo on this one is quite impressive as well, but one yet. I can’t remember the last time they had an album with such a strong 4 song opener. It is impressive. Also, I think this will make a fun song to be played live! “Always & Forever” continues this party with some ‘Slide It In’ style, but lives in today as well. Just listen to the guitar work and the David delivers the song. It feels like it could’ve been on that album. It does feel a little corny, but I like the throwback.
I was wondering when we would get a ballad by this point, but 6 songs in, David finally gives us one. “When I Think Of You (Color Me Blue)” is laced with a blues guitar sound and sounds like a throwback to 70’s soft rock. It is an okay track, but nothing to write home about. All it does is delay the instant gratification of the best song on the album, “Trouble is Your Middle Name”. This is a complete scorcher written by Joel and David. This is what I could listen to all day from them. You even get two guitar solos with Beach up first and then Hoekstra on the second one. It is heavy, cock-rocky and bluesy all at the same time. David feels right at home on this one vocally. He was built for this.
The title track, “Flesh & Blood” is another rocker, but I have to admit this one is a little generic and kind of boring for me, so I will skip this one. “Well I Never” is up next and it brings back a little of that sleaze that we so desire. The guitar work is great and yet another fantastic solo, but listen to Tommy on this one pound away and keep that groove going strong.
The tempo is slowed down with “Heart of Stone”, but not quite ballad status. There is a great groove to it. David is a little raspy and singing a little deeper on this which gives it a cool vibe. To me, this harkens back to the early Whitesnake days before ‘Slide it In’.
“Get Up” does just that as the tempo is increased and the guitars get heavy again. I love the opening guitar riff sound. This song will get you out of your chair and get those feet moving. It is a fun song full of adrenaline with some dual screaming guitars reminiscent of ‘Slip of the Tongue’ era plus a drum beat from Tommy that keeps the song going at warp speed.
“After All” changes the tempo and opens with an acoustic guitar a la Page and Zeppelin as David seems to capture that Coverdale/Page vibe on at least one song. However, that doesn’t make it that exciting. It seems to meander along and go no where. And it doesn’t get any better. “Sands of Time” is David trying to capture something epic like “Sailing Ships” did, but he is rehasing the Zeppelin feel (think Kashmir, honestly listen to some of the guitar parts). It does feel bigger than it is and David sounds fantastic, but it is trying to hard.
The Deluxe Edition gives you a music video of “Shut Up & Kiss Me”, some behind the scenes shorts and a few remixes of songs that aren’t on the CD. On the CD you get 2 additional tracks which we won’t go in to here as we are focusing on the original album as intended.
- Good To See You Again – Keeper
- Gonna Be Alright – Keeper
- Shut Up & Kiss Me – Keeper
- Hey You (You Make Me Rock) – Keeper
- Always & Forever – Keeper
- When I Think of You (Color Me Blue) – Delete
- Trouble is Your Middle Name – Keeper
- Flesh & Blood – Delete
- Well I Never – Keeper
- Heart of Stone – Keeper
- Get Up – Keeper
- After All – Delete
- Sands of Time – Delete
The Track Score is 9 out of 13 which is a 69%. Now, I think the album is better than that score. Yes, there are four bad songs in my book, but the songs that remain are some of the best the band has done in 20 years. Yes, this is the strongest album since ‘Slip of the Tongue’. I found the songs more memorable and the way Reb and Joel play off each other is fantastic. Their guitar playing helped make this album what it is…a Beast!! And don’t forget David. Coverdale is laying waste to those lyrics and he still sounds great (in the studio). He is still one of the best in the business. For all that, I give this a 4.0 out of 5.0 Stars. I hope we eventually get a new album of original material, but if don’t…this is a nice way to end it.
Sadly, at this time there is only one more album left in the series. I know there are two more albums in the works of remixes, The Love Album and the Blues Album plus a ‘Restless Heart’ Box set, but until those come out, ‘The Rock Album’ is the final one.
Up next…Whitesnake – The Rock Album
The David Coverdale Series:
- Deep Purple – Burn
- Deep Purple – Stormbringer
- Deep Purple – Come Taste the Band
- Deep Purple – Made in Europe
- David Coverdale – Whitesnake
- Deep Purple – Last Concert in Japan
- David Coverdale – Northwinds
- David Coverdale’s Whitesnake – Snakebite
- Whitesnake – Trouble
- Whitesnake – Lovehunter
- Whitesnake – Ready an’ Willing
- Whitesnake – Live…in the Heart of the City
- Whitesnake – Come An’ Get it
- Deep Purple – Live in London
- Whitesnake – Saints & Sinners
- Whitesnake – Slide It In
- Whitesnake – “Give Me More Time” 12″ Single (Bonus Review)
- Whitesnake – ‘The Best of Whitesnake (Bonus Review – 1982 release)
- Whitesnake – Whitesnake (1987)
- Whitesnake – “Is This Love” 12″ Promo (Bonus Review)
- Whitesnake – Slip of the Tongue
- David Coverdale – “The Last Note of Freedom” – Single Review
- Coverdale/Page – Coverdale/Page
- Coverdale/Page – “Take Me For A Little While 12” Single (Bonus Review)
- David Coverdale & Whitesnake – Restless Heart
- Whitesnake – Starkers in Tokyo
- David Coverdale – Into the Night
- Whitesnake – Live…In the Still of the Night (DVD)
- Whitesnake – Live…In the Shadow of the Blues
- Whitesnake – Good To Be Bad
- Whitesnake – Forevermore
- Whitesnake – Live at Donington 1990: Monsters of Rock
- Whitesnake – The Purple Album
- Whitesnake – The Purple Tour (Live)
- Whitesnake – Flesh & Blood
- Whitesnake – The Rock Album
- Whitesnake – The Albums Ranked Worst to First
- David Coverdale – The Albums Ranked Worst to First
Other David Coverdale Albums reviewed – (Box Sets and Bootlegs):
- Whitesnake – 1987 (30th Anniversary Edition) – Box Set
- Whitesnake – Slide It In (35th Anniversary Edition) – Box Set
- Whitesnake – Unzipped – Box Set
- Whitesnake – Slip of the Tongue (30th Anniversary Edition) – Box Set
- Whitesnake (Snake) – Still of the Night Live in Battle Creek, Mich. July 26, 1987 (Bootleg)