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ROCK UNITED (Se), February 2010

Rock United, Wally Wallstrom, 4

The dutch Prog-Rockers of Chinawhite and their latest offering, "Challenges". I’ve been following this band since the late 90’s and I do and did enjoy some of their earlier work (see our archive for reviews of the 2000′ release ‘Breathe Fire’, plus some EP’s). However, I must say that I ended up quite disappointed with this one. It’s like an unfinished painting with mad barking children running around without their heads and tails on a meadow full of playing dogs. Huh?Ehem, not a pretty picture, I asure you.

The production is a mess where the vocals are buried way deep in the mix and have to struggle to make any sort of impact whatsoever. There’s a mad roaring Hammond right in your face and you wish it’d go away if only for a couple of minutes. It’s like listening to Uriah Heep on a bad acid trip or something. It’s simply just too much of a ‘good thing’, if you catch my drift? Plus, some of the tracks are very similar in structure and arrangements and it’s actually quite difficult to tell them apart.

Final Verdict: Their old ‘Saga’ inspired sound is no longer relevant and that darn hammond is merely a nuisance. It’s a shame really since we know what Chinawhite are capable of at their best.

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