Metal Truly Survives Through Epic Albums Like This One
LawrenceSvetlana | USA | 01/12/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The year was 1985, heavy metal was on a major up-swing, and many, many bands came out of the woodwork to get a piece of the pie. One of the bands that truly added something new and vibrant to the metal scene was White Lion. Led by Mike Tramp's melodious and gritty, pretty-boy-street-kid vocals and Vito Bratta's amazingly talented, virtuoso guitar wizardry, White Lion came on fast and rose to popularity quickly. They were young and spoke to a youthful crowd but also had a heavy stock of mature songs that were focused on everything from love to war to social problems and they even proved ahead of their time by giving credence to the Germanic and Norse myth-ethos that has now turned into a major musical genre all its own. Every pre- and post-adolescent kid really into the metal scene rocked to the title song and whole-heartedly bought into the guts and glory of fighting to survive (even if it was only through the hallways of your local middle school). Today this album still carries its weight muscle-bound. Songs like "Fight to Survive," "All the Fallen Men," "All Burn in Hell," and "El Salvador" stand up to any of the biggest bands' hardcore hits. What I especially appreciate about this cd is the fact that there's not one throwaway song on it. Vito Bratta has frills and sidebars and fret-fireworks in every single song. His opening trills on "Fight to Survive" and his Spanish guitar intro to "El Salvador" make metal shredders go nuts every time they hear them, whether for the first or hundredth time. The two ballads ("In the City" and "The Road to Valhalla") are hard rock worthy, close to epic. The other pop-metal songs ("Cherokee," "Where Do We Run," and "Kid of 1000 Faces") probably don't deserve to be called such since they're honed to such a sharp edge. Although Hauke's production (probably admittedly with limited funds) caused the band to always desire re-recording (a much better sound quality for three of these songs can be found on Rhino Records' _White Lion: The Definitive Rock Collection_), the rhythm guitar crunch that came out of it was part of what kept them from sounding like everyone else playing metal at the time. And as camp as it might look now, every kid who saw the seemingly dead metal warrior's body draped over the feet of a statuesque (literally) and brave-sorrowing lion got chills up his spine. Mike Tramp has currently reformed WL, but he's the only original in the band. If you want the best of the best of White Lion, or just some awesome early 80s metal, get this one. And get it now. It's getting harder and harder to find. One thing is for sure: If you're a heavy metal fan and miss this one, you've let a gem fall from your grasp.