28 years ago. January 24, 1995.
The Seventh Seal
The sound of the monks immediately gets my attention.
When the whole band kicks in, the running bass line from Michael Anthony stands out, while EVH is playing power chords with the high E and B strings ringing out, Anthony is changing the root note.
Then the palm muted riff for the verse begins. It’s perfect.
How good is the section with the lyrics “under darkest skies”?
In relation to album openers, it’s one of their best since “Running With The Devil”.
Can’t Stop Loving You
It’s the Sammy Hagar vocal that rocks here over a chord progression influences by the 60’s and songs like “Stand By Me”.
EVH is also playing a-lot for the song, His free spirited approach is still there but focused.
Don’t Tell Me
When I purchased my 5150 Peavey Combo Amp, this was the first riff I played on it.
A simple riff, with some palm muting, the melodies from Hagar are perfect.
I like how EVH tweaks the chord progression for the second verse, bringing in some arpeggios.
The solo break is perfect. Just the three of em, jamming and no rhythm track. Plus we get an outro solo.
And underpinning it all is the Bonham like drumming from AVH.
That section from the 3 minute mark. Wow. And I wanted that outro solo to continue until the band stopped but they faded it out.
Big Fat Money
A Bluesy tune but from the fingertips of EVH it’s like progressive blues. The energy is “Hot For Teacher” like level.
Hagar’s breathless delivery in the verses are a highlight. And AVH and Michael Anthony are solid in the rhythm foundations.
Yeah this track was a waste back then and still is. EVH is hitting the strings on the piano I think.
This one is a sleeper hit. Their take on songs like “Hey Jude”. B
Check out the solo here from EVH. His phrasing and his Bluesy bends are the highlight.
My favorite track here. Its shredding. I felt that they tried to rewrite it with “Humans Being”.
Regardless, press play and let your ears enjoy the Van Hagar version at their Metal best.
Especially that section from 2.48.
Then again the solo from EVH is a masterclass in different techniques.
Yeah, I would have left this off.
And this as well.
Take Me Back
EVH channels his love of Jimmy Page.
An awesome deep cut. Eddie goes to town in the solo.
“Balance” is so underrated in the world of VH. It is heavy, yet it has a bit of everything.
The drama that came after the “Ambulance Tour” between Hagar, manager Ray Daniels and the Van Halen brothers shrouds the greatness of the album.
And before I forget, the production from Bruce Fairbairn is stellar.
5 thoughts on “How Has It Aged: Van Halen – Balance”
I took a bit of heat for my Balance review. I was far less kind.
Good album and you’re right the production is stellar. Feelin is a deep track and one VH track no one ever talks about. I need to reacquaint myself and give this one a listen to again.
Great job Pete
I completely agree with you. Balance is mostly stellar stuff but unfortunately it contains 3-4 really bad cuts, true suckers, which make the album a mixed bag and not enjoyable to listen. Why, oh why did not they replace instrumentals with Crossing Over which is one of the best VH songs before and after Sammy Hagar.
Yes I forgot about Crossing Over. Great track.
This was an enjoyable album. It does have some stuff that doesn’t need to be there, as you said, and the quality varies here and there, but overall it was well-executed and a pretty heavy jam in spots.