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Chickenfoot are back with a second album to consolidate their original assertion at their inception that they would outlive expectations of the supergroup ephemera that usually afflicts such an esteemed lineup of rock luminaries. With the non-consecutive titling of 'III', I'm guessing they deemed 'II' a little too obvious and at least it differentiates them from the output of fellow supergroup Black Country Communion who recently released their sophomore album named '2'. First things first, though, the packaging deserves a degree of scrutiny before moving onto the songs that constitute this release. At first glance, the CD is housed, once again, in minimalist slimline packaging but with its much touted 3-D gimmickry, it's actually a cleverly designed, well thought out glossy cardboard case loaded with latent optical depth that only becomes apparent when utilising the accompanying 3-D glasses that can be found inside. High quality pictures of the band spring to three dimensional life when viewed through said lenticular aid, both those included as part of the actual case and on separate cards - one per band member. There are also a variety of hidden messages that only appear when looking at them through just one of the lenses, including a lengthy piece of latent text on the CD itself and the actual cover which alternates between displaying 'III' and the band name/emblem dependent on which lens you use. It's all rather impressive and nice to see such effort being made for a release that will undoubtedly sell by the shed load anyway given their debut album sales across the globe and the band's ever growing fanbase but I'm guessing it's also a safer bet for the record label to entice people into actually purchasing the physical CD in an age rife with illegal downloading.

So then, gimmicks aside, how do Chickenfoot fare music-wise on this second outing? The collective talents of Sammy Hagar, Joe Satriani, Michael Anthony and Chad Smith have blended once more to make a record that's as good, if not slightly better, than their first album. Slightly better, that is to say, with certain tracks, at least in my opinion, but generally, for me, 'III' is a sideways step from their eponymously titled debut. That's far from a criticism, though, as through the respective talents and evident combined chemistry of the four musicians, they already set the bar ever so high for themselves. 'Different Devil' is perhaps the first track that genuinely shines as a step forward in Chickenfoot's songwriting, a mid-tempo, epically anthemic rock tune that will undoubtedly engender mass sing-alongs when aired at live shows. Moving away from generic compositional structures, 'Three and a Half Letters' also stands out as a finely crafted song, incisive yet also kind of raw in its execution (notably on its heavied-up mid-section and outro as Satch really lets rip with all kinds of dissonant fretboard craziness alongside Smith's off-beat rhythms). Hagar's spoken word verse on said track juxtaposed against his usual rock voice on the chorus also works a treat and the man even descends into a death growl at the climax of each chorus (yeah, you read that right!). It would be fair to say that, a few lighter moments aside (mainly 'Come Closer' and 'Something Going Wrong'), 'III' has a slightly heavier edge overall than its predecessor which occasionally transcends its rock underpinnings and verges a little into metal territory. It's refreshing to see the four musicians progress their established vibe this way although, ultimately, what 'III' offers is more of the same from Chickenfoot's debut apart from the few aforementioned stylistic departures. This will undoubtedly be good news for established Chickenfoot fans and, all in all, 'III' is another strong album.
Review by Mark Holmes
24th Oct 2011
1) Last Temptation
2) Alright Alright
3) Different Devil
4) Up Next
5) Lighten Up
6) Come Closer
7) Three and a Half Letters
8) Big Foot
9) Dubai Blues
10) Something Going Wrong
"The collective talents of Sammy Hagar, Joe Satriani, Michael Anthony and Chad Smith have blended once more to make a record that's as good, if not slightly better, than their first album."