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breathe fire

DETRITUS (USA), march 2001

Man, talk about misleading artwork! This indie album’s cover features a dragon breathing fire in the foreground, a castle atop a flying chunk of detached earth in the background, and the band’s logo superimposed on a sword at the bottom. Screams "Dungeons & Dragons power metal, possibly of the Italian variety," don’t it? But no. The band is a Dutch quintet, and the music is an intriguing mixture of AOR, hard rock, prog/art rock, and yes, a dash of metal. Everything’s done in a slightly left-of-center manner, and this only serves to enhance Chinawhite’s uniqueness. I’m sort of at a loss but I suppose I can describe their sound as a heavier, wackier Styx, as there are lots of keyboards (both organ and crisper, brighter tones) and vocalist Don Feltges has some similarities to Styx’s wildman James "JY" Young. Guitarist Peter Cox and keysman Rolf Vossen team up for some great alternating solos, and their phrasing is not cliched at all. (In a few nutty places, the tone of Cox’s understated guitar parts recalls what The Police’s Andy Summers was doing on SYNCHRONICITY!) "Foolin’ (The Real Places)" is a highly commercial mid-tempo rocker with a riff that playfully nicks the Sleeze Beez’ "Stranger Than Paradise" (they are countrymen and can do that I guess), "Infatuation" is an engaging instrumental that starts out funky/slappy and then builds into a domineering boil, "Changes" is a great AOR tune, and "In My Mind" jams and thunks along mightily, supported by Vossen’s big organ (no pun intended). As I said, the scattershot style is interesting, but it also leads to my one big complaint, and that is I feel some of the songs get interrupted by too-long, or pointless, breakdown sections that ruin the flow. (Cases in point: "Foolin’" and "In My Mind.") But otherwise, this is a grower and special mention has to be made of the crisp, clear production. Amazing sound. (Tim Wadzinski)

AORWEBSITE (It), februari 2001

The dutch band is back with its first full lenght cd, once again produced by Fred Hendrix (ex Terra Nova). At the beginning of "BF" we find "Elevation ticket" and "In my mind", two rough hard rockers with ’70s hints, but it’s with "Foolin’", a uptempo melodic hard rock recalling of Terra Nova and Red Danw, that Chinawhite highlight the scene. "My one and only" sounds like an AOR version of Slade with traces of the most mature Poison, "Changes" brings the band on a hybrid street made of prog rock (verse and solo portion) and melodic rock (listen to the catchy refrain) with good results. After so much energy, there’s a long pause with the AOR ballad "Permament vacation" led by the rich keys of Rolf Vossen and by the voice of Don Feltges, then there’s the good instro "Infatuation" close to the solo albums of Steve Lukather. "Loser in the end" is an average song of prog hard rock, but things get better with the uptempo "No fear of the dark" and the short closing instro "The entity returns". The crowded european rock scene has found another band looking for the deserved attention, even if I think Chinawhite should find a better songwriting balance. 80 points (Andrea Bertamino)

PROGRESSIEF (NL), februari 2001

What strikes most while listening to the second album of Dutch band Chinawhite is singer Don Feltges. His expressive, somewhat raw vocals give the band an own identity. A man with a lot of talent. Chinawhite does not stick to one style. Some numbers tend towards melodic metal, others more clearly move towards progmetal. Trademark seem the catchy choruses. I think Chinawhite will definetly shine live. Especially up-tempo rockers In my mind , Foolin’ and the powerful No fear of the dark are songs that will go down well on stage. But the semi-ballad Permanent Vacation is the absolute hightlight to me. Mainly because the vocals are superb and show once more the versatility of singer Don. Also on the instrumental part the band knows what it is doing. This is shown during the longer instrumental parts in songs like Elevation ticket and Changes. It is strange that a group like Chinawhite still has no contract. This doesn’t prohibit the production being very decent en pretty powerfull. Chinawhite once again proves that Holland houses enough talent. (joost boleij)

DARK WAVE (F), februari 2001

Holland’s Chinawhite releases here its first full CD and after a good mini CD, we listen a great progression. First of all, this progression is in the technicality and the professional approach, the compositions are more mature and we feel a good work behind them. Secondly, the band uses more atmospheres, more keyboards giving very diversify things and atmospheres in the music. Chinawhite plays always hard-rock music mixed with heavy-metal influences but I find the compositions really original and it isn’t a copy of others bands, Chinawhite has its own step. Excellent sound for a great album, very original and the band understands how to play an original music. (8/10) (Fabrice )

BACKGROUND MAGAZINE (NL), december 2000

A couple of years ago, 1997 to be more precisely, Dutch progband Chinawhite released their debut on CD, a mini-album titled "A Dragon’s Birth". This was a nice effort for a debut.
Recently the band has released a full-length album "Breathe Fire". So the dragon, born 3 years ago, has matured? This can be heard in the production (although both CD’s were recorded in the same studio), but also music wise the band has grown. In the same line-up, the 5 members have released an album that can compete with hardrocking progsters from abroad. This dragon doesn’t have a small flame, but a giant torch! They know how to heat up a good rock song with great instrumental muscles. If the band carries on like this, they will certainly achieve international fame.*** (Henri)

STRUTTER (NL), december 2000

CHINAWHITE are from Holland their debut CD ‘Breathe fire’ has been co-produced by TERRA NOVA leader Fred Hendrix. The album counts 11 tracks and musically it is a mixture of AOR, Progressive Rock, Hard Rock and some Metal. The lead vocals of singer Don Feltges are a bit raw and sometimes it works, but on the melodic AOR songs it doesn’t always work and that’s a pity, ’cause the songs are damn catchy at times. The start is a bit weak with songs like "Elevation ticket" and "In my mind", these songs show an experimental 90s typed Metal band, but from track four ("Foolin’") on it gets a whole lot better and pretty sensational! "Foolin’" is a damn catchy fun 80s typed uptempo melodic rocker in the style of ZINATRA and TERRA NOVA. The song also contains a cool keyboardsolo by keyboardist Rolf Vossen. This is definitely one of the best songs on the album and also the following few tracks are pretty good. "My one and only" for example is another good uptempo melodic rocker, only this song has some slight Party/Glamrock influences (due to the raw vocals). More keyboardsounds can be heard in "Changes", a very melodic song with some great harmonies. The AOR ballad "Permanent vacation" is up next and is the fourth track in a row that can be labelled as good quality melodic rock. Then comes the TOTO inspired instrumental "Infatuation". "Losers in the end" is a progressive rocker and not really something special. Uptempo Hard Rock can be heard in "No fear of the dark". Closing track is the instrumental outro "The entity returns". A lot of different Rock and Metal styles can be heard on the CHINA WHITE CD and although not all songs are convincing, still this band has a lot to offer and even the fans of AOR/Melodic Rock may find something of interest on this record. (Points: 7.5 out of 10) (Gabor Kleinbloesem)

PROG-REVIEWS (Se), november 2000

Last time we heard Chinawhite in 1997, it was their 20 minutes debut four-track mini CD "A Dragon’s Birth". "Breathe Fire" is their debut full-length album. They have grown as a band, but they still need some improvements before they can become a real threat. I think they have to find a clear direction with their music. Sometimes I would’ve wanted to hear some better hooks but most of the time it’s really good. Here you have tracks like the opening symphonic track "Elevation Ticket", the heavy 70’s sounding "In My Mind" where you can hear some similarities to Uriah Heep, the catchy rock song "Foolin’ (the real places)", the ballad "Permanent Vacation", the instrumental "Infatuation" with great guitar playing by Peter Cox, and the rocker "Losers In The End". We have got to known Chinawhite as a very skilful band with great musicians and a strong vocalist, but they need some improvements in the song writing before they can separate themselves from the constant stream of bands and albums on the market. But still I have to say that they’re worth an investment if you’re into heavy melodic hard rock. A diamond in the rough! (Greger Rönnqvist)

PLAYGROUND (NL), november 2000

Chinawhite being a force to reckon with in symphonic rock circles comes as no surprise to the fans. The band with singer Don Feltges visited the Energy Studio’s in Mariaheide several times in the past year and a half. And the result shines. Did the debut mini CD suffer from a moderate production and mix, now the open sound allows the musical capacities of the band to shine through. Also the lyrics of Peter Cox are of a higher level. As a whole it has become a very divers album that has been enriched by the beautiful original artwork of Feltges himself. Heavy rock songs, ballads and instrumentals try to nest themselves in your memory, but before judging the album it is best to give it a few spins. Breathe Fire has a fairly constant level so it is hard to discover real highlights. This CD is a must have for the lovers of Dream Theater, Saga, Queensryche, Everon and Threshold who should add this high quality album from this leading band out of Limburg to their collection. ( René Giesbertz)

MUSIC MAKER (NL), november 2000

<heavy uptempo symphorock>
The symphonic rockband Chinawhite from Northern Limburg exists for over 11 years now and has over the years played as a support to Uriah Heep and The Golden Earring. After 3 democassettes 1997 saw the arrival of the mini cd"A Dragon’s Birth". Without professional distribution or marketing this cd sold over 750 times.
Regarding this succes (also abroad) the first longplayer took a long time. But now there is "Breathe Fire", containing 11 originals. Chinawhite make music in the tradition of 1970’s acts like Yes and other symphonic bands. The kind of rock that has disappeared into the background a little with the coming of more tougher rockstyles within metal. But Chinawhite follows it’s chosen path stubbornly. Besides energetic songs as "In my Mind" and "Foolin’", the cd contains lengthy epics like "Permanent Vacation" and the titlesong "Breathe Fire / Changes". Yes, monumental rockopera’s lasting about 7 minutes from musicians who wish not to join in on the radioformat prescribed by commercial radio. That is Chinawhite’s typical mark. (Vrouw Antje)

AARDSCHOK (NL), november 2000

After 3 cassettes and a minicd the first "real" album of Dutch band Chinawhite has arrived. And I must say we have gained a very nice Dutch rock band. Chinawhite perform progressive rock, with a twist of AOR. "Breathe Fire" contains 11 songs, of which the 5 longer ones are clearly the best. Especially the musical variation in these tracks, for example "Elevation Ticket" is very positive. Also the guitarplaying of Peter Cox is magnificent and reaches it’s top in the great instrumental track "Infatuation". "In my Mind" is the heaviest (Uriah Heep sounding) track, and the present (ofcourse) power ballad is called "Permanent Vacation". "N.T.T." and "The Entity Returns" are 2 keyboard interludes and "Foolin" is a real Dutch rock track; meant to sing along to. All in all a succesful product with a few minor details, like the long-winded "My one and Only" or the sometimes monotonous or chaotic vocals like during "Losers in the End". Furthermore nothing but praise. (Martien Koolen)