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DPRP (NL), march 2000

In 1989 Chinawhite evolved from two other bands (Jester’s Tear & Trouwens). The popularity of the band grew and several (acoustic) performances on radio stations followed. In May 1995 the band recorded 5 tracks in 3 days, which were mixed in one additional day. The band was not 100% satisfied with the result and the project was put on ice for a while. In 1997, after about 100 gigs since they were founded, the band remixed the 5 songs and finally released them on a mini CD called A Dragon’s Birth.
Chinawhite plays melodic heavy rock with progressive influences. Sometimes it leans more towards AOR, but there’s more than enough subtle bits and pieces in the tracks to keep the open-minded prog fan happy. At the same time the compositions are quite accessible. At times it reminds me of Asia, while Peter Cox’s howling guitar often reminds me of Frank Usher’s work for Fish. Saga and Rush influences seem to be present as well. The song Rock and Water first appeared on the Southern Comfort compilation. It is a very catchy track, accessible and perhaps the best one on the album. It’s got a great drive and must be wonderful when played live. The Revolution by Night is originally from the A Thousand Thoughts tape. The starts reminds me a bit of the Goede Doel classic Nooduitgang (sorry for all the non-Dutch). The track evolves in a nice rocker with interesting rhythm and mood changes and fine multi-vocals. A Dragon’s Birth is basically just a half minute instrumental with some keyboard chords (hardly a real song) that leads into Big Money, which was also first released on the Southern Comfort compilation. A nice rocking track with some fine multi-vocals. Lurker is the last track on the album, and probably the one that is the least accessible. I find it a bit harder to get into this one, compared to the more energetic other tracks on the album. The bass and guitar solos are great though ! The ballad section in the middle of the song sounds a bit forced into the track. A bit too many ideas in 5 minutes perhaps ? The guitar solo’s are very good. Bass and drums lay a solid rhythm, although some of the songs contain some weird ticking percussion that gets on my nerves a bit. Keyboards play an important supporting rather than a soloing role. Finally the vocals are okay, although Don has the tendency to overdo it at times with some needles cries and occassional grunts. The nice CD cover was done by Don as well. All in all, Dragon’s Birth is a fine debut CD with lots of great melodies by a band full of energy and drive. Not the most original thing I’ve heard but certainly highly enjoyable. Check it out. Since 1998 Chinawhite has been working on their new album Breathe Fire, which should be available later this year. I’m looking forward to hear it. Conclusion: 7.5 out of 10. (Ed Sander )

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