Just to show you cannot win them all, here a piece on German site musikreviews (9/15). Translation says:
As one of many Dutch bands of the mid-1980s Prog movement, CHINAWHITE have never been out there before when it comes to greater commercial success, but just like Egdon Heath, the group never went below a certain level, even if they never emancipate themselves could … which has valid reasons, as their current album demonstrates.
Even “Different” is despite its title an obvious role model almost slavishly modeled work that will satisfy all genre-hardliners, but should tear little more. The always slightly cool (we speak of British role models) and never overwhelming symphonic sound of the quartet comes despite staff riots in the squad (Drummer Hans is also parallel to about Praying Mantis) as a result of it – sometimes a little too portly, though but always consistent and without noticeable rashes up or down.
Produced by guitarist and keyboarder Peter Cox seem a bit antiquated and maybe that’s why they take over for themselves … at least if you belong to older seasons. The classification under “prog” is therefore to be enjoyed especially among explorers of new with great caution.
Ultimately, CHINAWHITE serve so-spirited minds who would rather have their music with surprises. This is consistent, pleasing trend-resistant and solid knit, but nothing more. As a tip-on for the ultra-conservative factions urge first ‘Light-Years To Heaven’, the no watering cloudy ‘Hello To The World’ and the affable final number ‘Thank You And Goodnight’ on.
CONCLUSION: If you want CHINAWHITE to be evil, you can call it a locally relevant Dinosaur Melodic “Prog” band, which rightfully never went beyond its Dutch horizon. Objectively, her new album is a slightly above average scene work with zero added value.
Ah well… 🙂
Thankfully the short review from Gabor from Strutter is a lot more positive with a 8.3 on a 10 scale!
Spanish site ViriAOR have done a great piece on our album. The original is in Spanish, so here the translation. Thank you Alicia!
Chinawhite are back this summer of 2018 with their fourth album titled, Different. For those of you who do not know, tell you that, Chinawhite was formed at the end of the eighties. With a strong core consisting of Rolf Vossen, keyboards, Hans In ‘T Zandt on drums and Peter Cox on guitars, they recorded some loose songs and incorporated some singles to compilations of the time, all these themes would later come to light in a Demos album. In 1997 they would release their first album, as such, A Dragon’s Birth, and two more in the 2000s, making a classic rock with symphonic arrangements and some passages of progressive rock.
For this fourth album, he also has bassist Sander Stappers, who would put his rhythms on the previous album Challenges and the recent incorporation of the singer Phil Vincent, (D’Ercole, Tragic, Legion) that for my taste exceeds to its predecessor with overkill.
Different is an album composed in its entirety by the band leader Peter Cox, guitarist and keyboardist, composer and lyricist as well as producer of the album. The cover is very cool and is designed by Blekkmark, who has already done countless works for artists of this style (Harem Scarem, Europe, Def Leppard, TNT, …)
This disc is developed in records similar to those of previous works, although in Different there is a twist to its sound resulting in more commercial issues, more accessible to audiences and making less concessions to progressive rock, that does not deprive it of its sophisticated part in terms of arrangements themes and some passages of irregular rhythms.
The throat of the new vocalist gives more body and power to the themes, the orchestral and keyboard arrangements on this occasion are also by the guitarist Peter Cox, although in some songs the old keyboardist Rolf Vossen participates.
We find pieces of traditional hard rock with voices superimposed like in the opening, Kiss of Fire. Scratching the metal with a more serious record by Phil Vincent, who throughout the album will demonstrate how versatile it is. Where I Stand, giving them a touch of softness with pompous choirs. A nice guitar melody is the hook on the whole theme, and symphonic choruses sweeten this Hello To The World.
Money, brings us back to hard rock with guitars and careful vocal harmonies. Different? Eat It Raw, more orchestral beginning to later take us through the classic metal courses. Wings Of The Wind, a mix of powerful riffs, for a cut that rounds the progressive. Mystery, an orgy of instruments superimposing one another creating an overflowing atmosphere of sonic elements. Light-Years To Heaven, more leisurely, but without sacrificing the strength that bring those thunderous riffs of Peter Cox.
Or The Same! A good instrumental exercise, based on the strength of the bass and the guitar, with an interesting melody. It Means Nothing heavy rhythmic base and a dirtier sound for a theme that can look fantastic live. Thank You And Goodnight starts with a piano to give way to all the instruments and immediately give the protagonism to the guitar melodies.
Concluding with Different, Chinawhite have gone a step further by overcoming their previous works, successfully assembling the different classical musical influences, but sounding heavier and more current.
You can find the original here, and a google translation follows. Thank you Hans!
The stayer wins (always) … That is what Peter Cox and Hans in ‘t Zand must have always had in mind. The duo has been involved in the band since the establishment of Chinawhite in 1987. In addition to this beautiful character trait, Chinawhite has at least as many lives as a cat.
It started for the melodic / symphonic metal band in the nineties with the release of a number of cassettes and the mini-album A Dragons Birth in 1997. The first full-length album was released in 2000: Breathe Fire. Then it was nine years quiet, except for a digital compilation album with demos from the period 1990 – 2005. Challenges in 2009 was the next sign of life. But at the moment – with the exception of Cox and in ‘t Zand – everyone thought that the band was defunct, there is suddenly more than thirty years after the foundation and nine years after Challenges in the late spring of 2018 Different.
Fortunately, the ‘test of time’ has not got a grip. Chinawhite still rocks as always. With the familiar symphonic elements through it. Which is not surprising given the musical preference of guitarist and keyboard player Peter Cox. The gentlemen are now tried and tested and know how to produce a fat metal album. Of which deed through the two unadulterated rockers Kiss Of Fire (with a wonderful chorus) and Where I Stand where the album starts. That is partly due to singer Phil Vincent. He has an excellent rock voice, which may require some habituation.
Hello To The World is a quiet composition with beautiful harmonious vocals and a guitar sound that both reminds of the legendary rock band Boston. A sound that you encounter several times on the album. Because of this, I think the album has two faces. Rough, with a legion of overdriven guitar riffs that are sometimes aggressive and then smooth and polished. The varied Different – Eat It Raw shows both faces (hear). One of the positive outliers is Wings Of The Wind. Phil Vincent here shows his best side. Musically it goes down in a variety of straight metal and progressive metal.
Instrumentally Chinawhite also makes good ornamental. As with the pointed and guitar-dominated Or The Same !. But entirely with the closing and with eight minutes longest song Thank You And Goodnight. It is a huge contrast with the previous ten songs. You even wonder if this is the same band. A playful intro on piano (by guest musician Rolf Vossen) is followed by minutes of beautiful melodic guitar playing. Gradually the music becomes more intense due to the use of a second guitar. Then to end in peace and symmetry. I think this is truly a sublime conclusion to a surprising and fresh album.
Different proves that Chinawhite is still alive and kicking. Lovers of melodic and symphonic rock and metal I recommend listening to the album. Perhaps the gentlemen will let us know before 2027 if there is still a new life …
Dutch site Lords Of Metal had the premiere in regards to writing a review on our latest album. And despite their reputation of being quite harsh, this is a very good one, with 80/100 points! Read it in English here.
Next one is from the UK. Writer Mark Ashby talks about stuff like NWOBHM, but that is a bit strange for a Dutch band :). Anyway, still lots of positives in his review
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
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%