Return Of The Pride

White Lion

When you decide to label your new 'comeback' release with this title you should be […]
By Grigoris Chronis
March 4, 2008
White Lion - Return Of The Pride album cover

When you decide to label your new 'comeback' release with this title you should be ready to expect the most of criticism if things go wrong. Mike Tramp (or the Frontiers headquarters) decided things would be named this way with the new WHITE LION (under question?) album, and I feel - at least - obliged to refer to this verdict with enough of concern, bearing in mind we - the fans - eventually (should) bring on - or off - a band's status. Even in the last years' 'promotional' tornado...
No, it's not only the fact that 'where's Vito Bratta?'. The unique maestro of the original WHITE LION back in the 80s did recently break his long-year silence (Eddie Trunk interview) but we should not forget there were tons of rumors why he had been outta the 'music thing' for all these years (still is). Along to the DOKKEN Lynch/Dokken trademark, the Bratta/Tramp contradiction between the axeman's captivating 6-string killing and the 'loverboy' Mike's emotional singing did actually offer millions of albums for WHITE LION and enough of worldwide fame for nearly 10 years (1983-1992). It's his own right to stay away from professional music in the years that followed, but - then - what about WHITE LION anno 2008?
Repeat: you decide you name your new album in a way that relates to your most successful album (1987's Pride climbed up #11 in the Billboard charts that year, with 'anthem' singles Wait and When The Children Cry scoring #8 and #3 in respect). What do you expect, apart from erecting the 'G spot' of long-time US 80s Hard Rock enthusiasts? Do you have the volume needed to prove you did the right job offering the 'return of the pride'?
The production is as flat and non-nervous as the latest Mike Tramp solo efforts. The guitars sound does try to bring both past and present emotions, and partially succeeds in this. Live Your Life is an American rocker, applicable to a 90s 'B movie party' OST and does fine. A good deal goes for the opening cut Sangre De Cristo; in the songwriting vein of Lights And Thunder (or War Song), it was a have-balls judgment to list it in front of the bunch. Set Me Free looks back to the Pride days, with a great solo by Jamie Law and - to cut a long story short - Return Of The Pride may be valid to your misty city afternoon free time rather than your car stereo ride or local Rock Club night out. Some call it 'maturity'; you choose your title.
Mike's singing is mature and sweet; thinking and sophisticated at times (is it by accident I brought Billy Joel to mind???). It cannot impress me anymore, but devotees of his solo works (plus some of the followers of his FREAK OF NATURE project) will find enough of interest in his 'approach'. Mike Tramp has always been a 'moody' singer, but then he was cross-firing with Bratta's dynamic playing (plus the production formulas those days where more vivid). He even goes 'epic' to a rather interesting Battle At Little Big Horn (remember Fight for Freedom?).
The truth is Mike Tramp did continuously develop/expand his horizons as years went by, from the 80s WHITE LION days to today. Never willing to 'stick' to the sound fame of The Lion, he took his chances and crossed the boarders to New Hard Rock or 'skeptics'/society Rock or mellow Rock or whatever Rock he wanted. The point is; do you need the 'WHITE LION' and '...Pride...' 'key' points to accompany your musical honesty? Not that honest, to me. Under a different band name/album title, add 1-2 points to the rating.
P.S.: On second thought, this album may have more (non-strictly-musical) in common with Fight To Survive (1985) or Big Game (1989) or Mane Attraction (1991).


6 / 10

Had Potential

"Return Of The Pride" Track-listing:

Sangre De Cristo
Live Your Life
Set Me Free
I Will
Battle At Little Big Horn
Never Let You Go
Gonna Do It My Way
Finally See The Light
Let Me Be Me
Take Me Home (European Bonus Track)

White Lion Lineup:

Mike Tramp - Vocals
Jamie Law - Guitar
Claus Langeskov - Bass
Henning Wanner - Keyboards
Troy Patrick Farrell - Drums

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