The new disk of Dutch band Chinawhite is a nice one, but could have been good. The eleven songs on "Challenges" contain a number of nice ideas but these are not refined enough to make it a top album. As a whole it has strong guitar riffs, good drumwork, a Hammond organ, a didgeridoo plus beautiful arrangements from guitar player Peter Cox but it is not quite finished. It is known that there aren’t many good rock singers in The Netherlands, so a lot of bands just have to do with what is available, as do Chinawhite. It seems singer Don Feltges was put aside in a small booth and in a song like ‘Stranger’, built on a strong riff, he is barely audible. Or he screams like mad and strains his voice. Not only in this song though, for example listen to ‘Wings Of The Wind’.
The band exists since 1989 and has been together for a long time (since 1993 in this line up) and released several demo’s and 2 mini-cd’s. They also delivered 2 songs to the sampler ‘Southern Comfort – 12 beauties oet Limburg’. The band rocks out heavily in songs like ‘Challenges – Dreams Of A Child’, ‘Inside’, ‘The Storm Rages On’ (beautiful composition with lots of timechanges), or the log ‘I Am I’ but also have frivolous songs like ‘Dive With A Dolphin’. As a whole the material can be described as melodic prog rock and it contains elements of bands like Saga, Rush, Deep Purple en Uriah Heep. Too bad the (intro) riff of ‘How Many Miles’ was taken from Joe Jackson’s ‘The Harder They Come’ , else it might have been a hit. The 4 minutes of sea sound at the end were better left off. Chinawhite obviously has potential, but need a better production and singer to really hit the mark. (Arco)