Progwereld (NL), february 2010
The Dutch band Chinawhite already exists twenty years, but I know of them just recently. Given the history of their releases their pace comes slow. A heap of compilations, demo material, EP’s and cassette releases fills the discography, but Challenges is a full independent release, just like Breathe Fire from 2000 and in a certain way the 1997 EP A Dragon’s Birth. In any case we deal with a band with perseverance which already has a long road behind them.
Chinawhite operate somewhere between the prog bands Rush and Saga and the classic rock band Deep Purple in where metal riffs from the eighties are used as a guiding principle to keep the affair together. It is obvious that the keyboard parts have been based on the guitar, as a result of which they get a supporting function. Of course there is nothing wrong with that, but in that couple moments where the keyboards become more prominent, I find it a pity that he not gets a more prominent role in the compositions. Generally the music excels nowhere and also we never get blunders served up. For an hour the music largely acts in a state of readiness where the tension is held until there is a final that … makes in fact as much impression as the preceding foreplay. Because of this the auditor knows exactly what kind of climaxes the compositions hold and with which intention it is all written, but it does not succeed with certainty this way. There are two reasons why this applies: First the music frequently flows in a comfortable area of good located riffs and chord progressions, that it might be a risk to leave that, thus risking little. The second cause lies in production which is considerably undersized. The vocals are badly audible and the guitars are particularly present. The bass generally follows what the guitar does thus making that area more thickly, whereas the drums sound fragile. When the band use a producer that understands his profession on the next album, I am sure that they will make a much bigger impression.
All in all “Challenges” is by no means a bad album, but because of the missed chances in the production and the lack of guts in the compositions I think that the band still has a long way to go. Ruard Veltmaat