Genre: Prog Hard Rock
Playing time: 66:06
When I receive a CD over half a year past its original release, then reviewing it is not one of my top priorities. That is why Challenges is passing it’s 2 year date before enlightening these pages. Because of the Dutchmen not jumping on any bandwagon and also not likely getting a short lived promo push by some record company, this waiting probably isn’t much of a problem.
„In the Beginning“ turns out to be an extended intro, lasting 4 minutes. Its sound, spiced with didgeridoo and keyboard violins, reminds me in a remote strange way of Peter Gabriel, and is surely different than the rest of the album.
Heavy guitars are the focal point here, and they give Chinawhite some serious bite, without turning the band into a full metal outfit. A song like „How many Miles“ can be compared to modern day Uriah Heep, also quality wise. The same can be said about the often present vintage Hammond.
All in all Chinawhite prove to be less basic than the famous Brits and, without turning into exaggerated freakiness, have a definite progressive character. The vocals often laying too deep in the mix is a bit of a shame. Especially during the big rocker „Stranger“ and the hook laden „Dive with a Dolphin“ a stronger emphasis on Don Feltges‘ vocals would have generated a higher qualification.
Playing tips are the closest thing to prog metal long track „Challenges – Dreams of a Child“ and the already mentioned „Dive with a Dolphin“, which qualifies as real good guitar dominated Hard Rock.
|1||In the Beginning||4:03|
|2||Challenges – Dreams of a Child||8:01|
|3||My Venus rising||7:28|
|5||How many Miles||3:44|
|6||Better than you||5:13|
|8||The Storm rages on||8:09|
|9||I am I||5:02|
|10||Dive with a Dolphin||5:46|
|11||Wings of the Wind||8:31|
Peter Cox (Git, Production, Mix, Mastering)
Don Feltges (Voc)
Sander Stappers (B)
Rolf Vossen (Keys)
Hans in ’t Zandt (Dr)
Harrie Huveneers (Ocean Drum, Didgeridoo)
How we rate:
|00 to 05||Not recommended|
|06 to 10||Recommended but with flaws|
|11 to 15||(Mainly for Fans) Recommended|
|16 to 18||Very Recommended|
|19 to 20||Classic|
ChinaWhite – Challenges
Kaj Roth (Staff)
There are some good things about ChinaWhite´s new album "Challenges" like the cool hammond organ parts, the majestic intro "In the beginning" and the influences from Rush and Genesis where they have borrowed from but I don´t mind. But this Dutch progrock band also has a less good side to show up on this 66 minute long album, the drumsound is way too poor and the singer would fit better in a stoner rock band than singing prog – Don Feltges just isn´t the right person for the job here. They do not only lend musical ideas from Rush and Genesis, guitarist Peter Cox also stole the riff from Fall on me by Kings X on the track "Better than you" or perhaps its just a coincidence? Nah, I will never listen to this again.
CHINAWHITE – CHALLENGES – Rock Company – 7,0
Now we are glad to inform you that 2 albums you can buy directly from Rock Company. It starts with our 1997 debut EP A Dragon´s Birth (CD is now out of print) and the 2008 download only album Demo´s 1990-2005. Both albums are available at an unbeatable price (with the holiday sale making it even more silly not to buy it).
And if you prefer, you can download just the tracks you want. On the audio page a sample of all tracks can be heard.
CHINAWHITE – CHALLENGES (B-) Rock Company, 2009
11 tracks, RT: 1:06:04
[ https://www.chinawhite.nl/ ]
[ http://www.myspace.com/chinawhitenl ]
[ http://www.rockcompany.nl/ ]
This one’s been out for about a year now (sorry fro the delay!). I first "found" Chinawhite back around the time of 2000’s BREATHE FIRE… and I was surprised to learn there weren’t any releases between it and CHALLENGES. The Dutch quintet — Don Feltges (Joe Stump) on lead vocals, Peter Cox on guitar and vocals, Sander Stappers (Sengaia) on bass, Rolf "Fuchs" Vossen on keyboards, and Hans in ‘t Zandt (Vengeance, Mad Max) on drums — plays a somewhat quirky type of Hammond B3-infused melodic/prog rock, with old Uriah Heep being a decent starting point for comparison’s sake. Or maybe a more AOR/ melodic version of early Dream Theater, with Jon Lord on keyboards?!
The sound is hard to pin down, and the album is a grower, so it took me a while to get my head wrapped around it. The disc’s clear highlight is Cox’s tasty guitar work; he can bolster a seemingly pedestrian track by pulling a nice solo out of thin air, and there are enough meaty riffs here to please air guitar enthusiasts. The B3 is overused at times, particularly in "I Am I" (not a Queensryche cover!) where it’s used to fill a lot of spaces in the music. I’ve got nothing against the B3, mind you — it is used perfectly over a dark, buzzy riff in "Stranger," and adds a nifty Deep Purple-meets-Black Sabbath air to "My Venus Rising’s" spooky intro — but too much is distracting. Fuchs can also tickle the ivories quite nicely, with "Dreams Of A Child" and the excellent "Better Than You" showing off his piano work. The latter, its riff-tastic follow-up "Inside," and driving closer "Wings Of The Wind" (minus the final four minutes of oceanfront sound effects…) are probably the album’s best tracks. If
a few of the lengthier songs were pared down (this feels more like a 50-minute album, not the 66-minute behemoth it is), and the mix was more level (in "Stranger" the cymbals practically scream at you and the vocals are too low) CHALLENGES would definitely rate a "B" or higher.
– Tim Wadzinski
China White – Challenges – Rock Company – Chinawhite’s album has been out a while too, but I still see it mentioned. unfortunately I cannot be so kind to this record as I have been some others. It just doesn’t stack up quality wise to what else is on the market. The production is horrible. Badly mixed for starters. The vocals are way down in the mix and the keyboards way up. The drums are pedestrian and the guitars too thin. Then there are the songs – there are four tracks here around the 8 minute mark and there simply isn’t the substance to make them work for that length of time. I guess the band is trying to add a progressive edge, but you have to have the songs and hooks in place first before you can go off any tangents. And for a vocal band, you don’t hear one word of singing until 7 minutes into the album after a horribly slow 4 minute intro piece. I’d like to comment more, but the mix is just so bad I can’t hear the melodies as they should be heard and the loud organ/keys are really annoying me. MR is thanked in the liner notes and guitarist Peter Cox is a terrific guy, but I simply can’t hear the album well enough to talk more favorably about it.
Andrew McNeice – 29%
Hit the notes…
Those who have seen us live know that our guitar player Peter likes to rock out. So enjoy some fretwork from him he did:
7 String riff The Storm Rages On)
Tapping Guitar Solo
The idea had been floating around for a while, but a recent trip to Austria finalized the perfect stage for a new video! So welcome How Many Miles. The audio is of course available via our 2009 CD Challenges. Buy it at our shop.
Underground Empire, July 2010, Walter
Chinawhite´s album Challenges proves an extremely contentful piece of rock music, which stretches the sound of dominating 70’s hardrock, over innumerable ProgRock quotations, up to Metal in melodic and progressive design. CHINAWHITE use “historical” sounds, particularly the omnipresent Hammond, so I keep making comparisons with URIAH HEEP, and also DEEP PURPLE. One can also call RUSH (covered in early periods of the career) regarding the Prog accents as influence. The material animates however not only through this, but also invites to join in on the groove and occasionally also to really rock. The presented work is housed in one extremely tasteful Digipack, and is powerfully fun.
Read The Music Is Out There by Nicky Baldrian here.