70/100: Chinawhite was founded somewhere in the south of Holland in 1989. During the next 5 years they released 4 demos containing original material and some covers. 1997’s mini-cd "A Dragon’s Birth" was the first release containing pure Chinawhite stuff, 4 songs to be precise. Now, in the year 2000, the band decided it was time for a full studio album. "Breathe Fire" was released a little later than expected due to various reasons but they can be proud of the result. The album perfectly illustrates what they stand for: melodic rock spiced with some symphonic and progressive influences. Also the production, of which all credit goes to Fred Hendrix of the late Terra Nova, is very clear and enables the band to show their talents to the full. The album contains some older stuff too, which results in a concoction of traditional melodic rock songs (like "Foolin’") and songs with a more symphonic approach ("Elevation Ticket" and "Breathe Fire/Changes"). "Breathe Fire" is not an essentional album, but if you like melodic and symphonic rock you should at least give it a try. (Stijn Lambert)
CHINAWHITE from the Netherlands have promised to release their new longplayer in late 2000 and here it is … entitled "Breathe fire". CHINAWHITE’s music can be described as melodic hardrock with progrock influences somewhere beteween bands like TOTO, FOREIGNER, MARILLION and heavyrock-bands. The album comes with very good sound, but unfortunately not all of the songs are convincing as the vocal lines are missing some hooks. Songs with hooks are "Foolin", "My one and only", the monster groove instrumental "Infatuation" and the 70ies-style "Losers in the end" which even tends into the progmetal genre. CHINAWHITE’s 1999 EP did set too high expectations for me … expectations that could not be fulfilled and so this album is endangered to drown in the flood of similar melodic rock / AOR-prog releases. 5 points
Jack : First of all, I’d like to start with saying that I’ve always liked this type of vocals, a lightly broken voice with volume and reach like Jimmy Barns (Cold Chisel). Well, that’s been said, now for the rest of the review. The first three tracks are somewhat experimental, due to the sound of the keyboards. On ‘Foolin’ there’s more room for guitar (Peter Cox) and that is a major improvement. It’s a rather commercial track with great background vocals, a nice support for leadsinger Don Feltges. ‘My One And Only", track 5, is a rather smooth ‘American highway’ song. Track six is more interesting, it’s divided in two parts : ‘Breathe Fire’ en ‘Changes’. It opens with a threatening atmosphere and is followed by some great guitar playing, while a lot’s of variation in tempo keep it all interesting. ‘Permanent Vacation’ follows, a modest song where a subtle played piano (Rolf Vossen) and the voice of Don make the song, but I had expected some more. Next song ‘Infatuation’ opens a bit fushionlike, a slapping bassguitar with ‘Dave Weckel’ drums, nice loops and instrumentally ok, but with songs like this the album becomes a hotchpotch of different styles. Anyway, they show a lot craftmanship this way. ‘Losers In The End’ means we’re back on the Rock track, with guitars and hammond organ to match, and again nice singing from Don Feltges. Track 10, "No Fear Of The Dark" opens with some ill chosen keyboards and has next to the rock orientaded part an experimental part which is not appearing clearly. The last song on this album is an instrumental track wich lasts only for 70 seconds, and this New Age tune adds nothing whatsoever to this album. In conclusion, this band from Holland has got some great musicians, a good singer and most of the songs are pretty good. I won’t say this is a Symphonic or Melodic band, but more an experimental Rock band. There are too much various styles packed on this album, which makes it less listanable, but these guys defenitly have a future. I find it difficult to rate this album due to the big difference between the songs, but I think a 6.5 is fair. I know it doesn’t reward the the good songs en musical talents, but the album just isn’t well balanced enough, and that’s something I concider to be pretty important. Rating : 6.5
Frans : Founded back in 1989, so they’ve been around for a while. After three succesfull demo tapes and a 100 gigs (for example as support act for Uriah Heep and The Golden Earring), they recorded a mini CD in 1997, and now it’s time for their first full lenght album. called ‘Breath Fire’. It’s obvious that their roots are melodic Hard Rock with symphonic/progressive influences, but they’ve managed to create their own style. Due to the skills and experience of these five men ‘Breathe Fire’ has become an outstanding album, wich has already been proven, while without any form of marketing the first 750 Cd’s are already sold. Rating : 9
Breathe fire is the second album of our Dutch friends from Chinawhite. Compared with the debut Chinawhite made a lot of progression. The songs are more complex and heavier, and also reveal more of an original identity. "In my Mind" is a competent progrock song which differs is a positive way from the next song "Foolin", where the Zinatra influences shine through. The threathening "Losers in the End" is more than nice, whilst "No Fear of the Dark" is too straight to be real fun. This band has a lot of potention but should consider a definite style choice: the songs with the symphonic and progressive influences are really good, as opposed to the others which are pretty standard. Just develop them prog influences! 4/7 (Bart Maurijssen)
CHINAWHITE Breathe Fire (8 /10)
CHINAWHITE is back with their first real full-length CD "Breathe fire" an album filled with good PROGRESSIVE Rock and again with a excellent production done by FRED HENDRIX from fellow dutch rockers TERRA NOVA (Now & Then records). Everything from the front-cover to the music performances by the band members is very professional done, and with great skill I might add. It´s a pure joy to listen to skillful musicians that play the music they like, instead of trying to follow stupid trends or money hunger. CHINAWHITE is mostly a Prog Rock band a-la SAGA,MARILLION, SPOCK´S BEARD etc. but mixed with Classic 70´s Hardrock like URIAH HEEP, CAPTAIN BEYOND. These guys have been playing together since 1989 and it really shows. First track "Elevation Ticket" is a nice opener with a cool Prog-Groove "N.T.T." is a short instrumental keyboard track and "In my mind" sounds very 70´s with some great "Hammond" keyboards by ROLF "FUCHS" VOSSEN. The more melodic "My one and only" has a really catchy chorus and some lovely guitar work by PETER COX ,The vocal harmonies by the boys are also very good. "Changes" is another cool song with haunting keys and a strong chorus while "Permanent Vacation" is a nice Piano Ballad.
Bottom line is that "Breathe Fire" is an really good PROG Rock album with a good production and I´d recommend every fan of Prog/Classic Hardrock to check it out. Find out more about the band at their homesite http://come.to/chinawhite (Urban "Wally" Walstrom)