DPRP (NL), April 2010
The origins of Chinawhite date back to 1989 and their first actual album, Breathe Fire, dates from the year 2000. The band also had quite an amount of demo-tapes recordings which surfaced on their follow up album A Dragon’s Birth in 2001 and which contained all previous released EP’s and demo’s. In 2007 they started with the recording of Challenges which was released in 2009.
The style of music is on the hard rock side of progressive rock, heavy riffs with Hammond organ and melodic guitar solos. Music for fans of Deep Purple, Uriah Heep, Threshold, Vanden Plas, Saga and Rush.
In The Beginning is an almost completely instrumental song with keyboard sounds, a mellow, ambient, slow build up to the start of the album. Challenges – Dreams Of A Child kicks in with a heavy riff with thick Hammond sounds and really Deep Purple like. They stick to that same riff for a bit too long but finally after three minutes the vocal parts start. That is also the place where my interest is heavily disturbed, the vocals are mixed in terribly. The vocals are not out of tune but they do not sound powerful and they are mixed in very softly. Sadly this situation stays throughout the whole album – the instruments sound heavy but in the back you can hear a voice desperately trying to be heard. When the solos start it is better, great guitar solo and the build up very good.
My Venus Rising is of the same length structure, more solo parts for the keyboard. Stranger is a rock song with more groove in it and that reminds me of another Dutch band, Splinter. How Many Miles sounds very like eighties AOR with an Iron Maiden like guitar solo, sadly it falls apart in the bad production. A Hammond opening, like Don Airey for and a galloping rhythm like Iron Maiden on Better Than You. Apart from The Storm Rages On the rest of the songs are pretty standard and not bad at all, apart from the bad production. The Storm Rages On reaches the eight minuter barrier again and has got some more strange structures and odd changes, Dream Theater like.
The style of music that is presented by Chinawhite is completely to my personal taste and the bands named as influences are all ranked high on my list. The songs and choice of instruments are also exactly what I normally listen to but this is one of those cases where the quality of the production ruins it all. As stated the vocals are mixed in terrible, the instrumental parts are not bad but the sound is very raw, almost demo in sound. When I heard Challenges – Dreams Of A Child kick in loud I loved it, but when the vocal part starts it all fell apart. I hope the next album will have a better production because then you can count me in.
Conclusion: 5 out of 10