• 8.5/10
    WHITESNAKE - Good To Be Bad - 8.5/10


Release date: April 22, 2008

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Everyone who is into Rock ‘n’ Roll has heard of the band Whitesnake, and unless you were hiding under a rock or completely out of touch during the 80s, chances are your Metal collection includes a number of their multi-platinum chartbusters from that era. Many Metal fans (and Whitesnake fans too for that matter) are curiously not fully aware of the fact that Whitesnake started out all the way back in 1977, and was for the most part a Blues-based Hard Rock band. Yep, for many Metal fans (especially North Americans) Whitesnake came into being when multi-platinum Slide It In hit the stores in 1984; an album that marked a definitive switch by the band from their established Blues foundation to a Melodic Metal platform … with song topics and lyrics that often relied heavily on sexual connotations.

Well, like so many great bands of the 80s, Whitesnake too curled up and became all but dormant during the 90s, knocking out only 1 release Restless Heart (an album that was never even officially issued in North America), in 1997. Fast-forward now to 2008, and David Coverdale has decided to take another crack at it, and along with co-writer and guitarist Doug Aldrich, has put together an 11-track album entitled Good To Be Bad. The other players in the band are the infamous Reb Beach (guitars), Uriah Duffy (bass), Timothy Drury (keys), and Chris Frazier (drums) – plenty of talent across the board, to be sure.

Out of the 11 tracks, 9 clock in between 5 and 6 minutes, with only “Got What You Need” coming in at just over 4 and the ballad “Summer Rain” coming in over 6. The album starts out with the song “Best Years,” which is a well-rounded, “soulful” track that will indeed hit home with Whitesnake fans of both the 70s and 80s eras. The sound of this track definitely has a Blues Rock feel to it, but there’s still energy and power emerging … call it Melodic Blues Metal, if you will. However you define the sound, this track ROCKS, and is nothing short of an excellent opener for Good To Be Bad. Next up are “Can You Hear The Wind Blow” and “Call On Me,” both mid-tempo rockers that again emphasize a Blues edge and display Coverdale in amazingly good voice. Throughout this album, Coverdale’s voice sounds very “warm,” if not “mature.” There really aren’t any Coverdale signature wails like fans heard so many times in the 80s in songs like “Still Of The Night” and “Love Ain’t No Stranger,” although he comes close every now and then. Overall, though, Coverdale seems content to demonstrate that he still has one of the best voices in all of Hard Rock/Metal, while showing too that he can get his message across in perhaps a more subdued fashion. Whatever his intent, he’s still possesses outstanding vocal talent and delivers that message loud and clear amid superb sound production throughout this release.

From top to bottom, Good To Be Bad is a very solid effort … each track holds true to the Melodic Blues Metal format, yet each track has its own personality and the album “feels” very well thought out. The album contains 3 ballads: the heartfelt “All I Want All I Need,” which back in the 80s would’ve been a sure bet to be played at roller rinks everywhere during “couples skate” interludes, the thoughtful and image-producing “Summer Rain” (perhaps would’ve been better if kept a tad shorter), and the album closer “’Til The End Of Time,” a reflective, if not melancholic track that expectedly just kind of fades out at the end. All of these tracks are solid compositions, but Coverdale and Aldrich may have served this album just a tad better if the ballads were kept down to 2 or even 1 in number … however, that’s mild constructive criticism, as songs like “Lay Down Your Love” and the title track “Good To Be Bad” more than save the day and re-energize this album’s karma.

Coverdale was quoted as saying Good To Be Bad “… contains all the elements I enjoy about Whitesnake …” over the years, and that “If this is indeed the last Whitesnake studio record, then I’m happy to finish like this.” It is true — this is an album Coverdale and company should be immensely proud to have created. Like in the band’s glory years, most song topics revolve around love and relationships, though perhaps from more of an “adult” perspective in 2008, and the Melodic Blues Metal sound established and held onto by the band throughout the record is a complete joy to soak in. In today’s market, Whitesnake stands a very slim chance of reaching platinum status with Good To Be Bad, but if any of their albums ever deserved such accolades, this one certainly does.


  • Dan Skiba

    Dan is a former partner at Metal Express Radio, and also served as a reviewer, photographer and interviewer on occasions. Based out of Indianapolis, USA he was first turned on to Hard Rock music in the mid-1970s when he purchased Deep Purple's Machine Head as his first album. He was immediately enthralled with the powerful guitar sound and pronounced drumbeat, and had to get more! His collection quickly expanded to include as many of Heavy Rock bands of the time that he could get his hands on, such as Ted Nugent, Judas Priest, and Black Sabbath, to name just a few.

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