Sea of Tranquility (USA), January 2010, Jon Neudorf, 3,5 stars
Chinawhite are a Dutch band that play melodic heavy progressive rock in the vein of Rush, Saga (especially their heavier material), Uriah Heep and Deep Purple, although it is the latter band that they most closely resemble mostly due to the heavy riffs and loads of Hammond. This is old school 70s style heavy rock that should appeal to fans of the above mentioned bands. Challenges is their fourth full length album.
The band’s line-up includes Peter Cox (guitars), Don Feltges (vocals), Sander Stappers (bass), Rolf "Fuchs" Vossen (keyboards) and Hans in `t Zandt (drums). The music presented on Challenges is a pure hard rock with a few moments of progginess along the way. This album is loaded with Hammond, hence the Deep Purple comparison. Some songs are nicely orchestrated and most contain fine guitar riffs that gives this album that extra sizzle.
In "Challenges/Dreams of a Child" the heavy guitar riffs and raging Hammond morph into a lovely piano melody and vocals. This leads to my only complaint. At times the vocals seem to be buried a little low in the mix and do not come across as forceful as they should which is a shame as I do like Feltges’ voice. That being said this is a minor annoyance which will hopefully improve on their next release.
Other highlights include the emotive guitar solo in "My Venus Rising" and the tight riffs and ripping solos in the rocking "The Storm Rages On". Feltges gives one of his best performances in the melodic "I Am I", a mid-tempo number loaded with excellent Hammond.
This is another one of those albums geared towards fans of 70s hard rock and metal of which I am a fan, so needless to say I liked this record. If that includes you, well, you know what you have to do.