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White Lion Return Of The Pride Frontiers Records
FRCD367
Produced By: Mike Tramp & Claus Langeskov

Running Time:

Release Date: Out Now

Released:

Musical Style: Melodic Hard Rock

Links: Frontiers
91%
Songs: 92%
Sound: 90%
I fully expect this to be one of the more discussed albums of this year. Already the debate has covered Mike Tramp's use of the band name and now it is time for the music to speak for itself. I wonder how many people will get hung up on the name White Lion rather than the music within? Too may I fear.
White Lion was one of those bands that seemed forged on a partnership between Tramp and guitarist Vito Bratta and it is regrettable that the pair couldn't find a way forward after all these years. So Mike decided to use the name of the band he formed and has been a part of since day one, and that's fair enough. So many others do the same and if people chose to get hung up on this example, then that is perhaps not entirely fair.
The music sees Tramp return to the energy and direction of the old band, but I wouldn't say that it directly compares to any past White Lion record. Again, will people accept that or refuse to see past it?
Rather, I see Return Of The Pride as a mixture of influences from past releases with the addition of a new spirit.
What I hear most prevalently is the sound of Mike's own solo work, albeit in a harder edge style akin to that you'd expect to hear from White Lion.
I also hear a little of Mike's post WL band Freak Of Nature here especially on a couple of tracks with a more contemporary slant and of course I do hear some classic White Lion in the mix.
I hear influences from Pride and also from my favourite album from the band Mane Attraction.
This is also the most varied record that Mike has delivered. The style and tempo and length of the tracks are all quite varied and perhaps the diversity is something that makes the album a grower, rather than an instant hit.
Not every song is a classic and not every song worked the first time I heard it. But I have had quite a lot of time to live with this album and above and beyond all other comments it is as catchy as it could be, with each song in it's own way offering a hook to sink your teeth into.
I'm a long time fan of Mike's writing style and his records so I see Return Of The Pride as an extension of that and can't see why other Tramp fans won't be equally as impressed.
Track By Track:
Sangre de Cristo is one of two epics on the record, this one closing in on 9 minutes in length and featuring a fairly progressive slant as far as time changes. I guess Lights And Thunder could be the song's distant cousin, but it stands alone with it's fast pace and choppy guitar riffs.
Dream for me is almost a sequel to Mane Attraction's Love Don't Come Easy, especially in the chorus, albeit with a more contemporary guitar sound.
Live Your Life is the first track I found hard to get into and probably still is my least favourite of the album. The uptempo breezy rocker has a punkish sound amplified by the thumping bass line and lead guitar sound. Sometimes I feel the chorus feels a little simple for my taste, especially after the more intense opening tracks, but it still hangs in your brain.
Set Me Free is another track that features a haunting intro that builds to a hard edged guitar riff that then drives the song forward. It is Broken Heart for a new millennium and one of the more classic White Lion sounding tunes of the new record.
I Will is one of my favourite tunes of the new album. A sentimental uptempo melodic rock anthem, it is something a little different from Tramp who I am not used to hearing such breezy and uplifting fare from!
Battle At Little Big Horn is the second epic of the record and is lyrically just as intense as the opening salvo. This track is a little darker, a lot heavier and is over way sooner than the 7 minute plus time frame should indicate.
Never Let You Go is the first proper ballad of the album and is a classic piano lead sentimental ballad with a strong and very likable chorus.
Gonna Do It My Way is another track which sounds like it could have been lifted from Pride, until the song moves on a little, then I figured it as something that sounds like it could have come from Mike's solo records. It has the mix of both influences and the simple chorus defies the intensity of some other tracks on the album.
Finally See The Light is another breezy pop rocker with a chorus that sticks in your head. It is a bit of a singalong song with some 80s keyboards creating a retro feel.
Let Me Be Me is another uptempo and rocking track with a mix of styles similar to Gonna Do It My Way. It's breezy, it's simple, yet it's also very catchy.
Take Me Home is a European Bonus Track and sees Mike stripping it right back to an acoustic and occasional electric guitar accompanying his raw vocal. A very nice ballad with additional orchestration. A nice way to close the album.
The Bottom Line
Looking beyond the name, the music here is another great addition to Mike Tramp's history and it is nice to hear him rocking it up again after a couple of more singer/songwriter style solo records. The execution of a few songs might not sound as polished as they could be and on a song or two I'm still not sure I like the guitar sound used. But I think that is the attitude chosen for this record a raw, almost live feel. At the end of the day I find myself humming along to any number of songs on this record and that's the key point that counts.
Discography / Previously Reviewed
White Lion:
Fight to Survive
Pride
Big Game
Mane Attraction
Return Of The Pride
Tramp Solo:
Capricorn
Recovering The Waysted Years
More To Life Than This
Rock N Roll Alive
Songs I Left Behind

Line Up:
Mike Tramp: Vocals, Guitars
Jamie Law: Guitars
Troy Patrick Farrell: Drums
Claus Langeskov: Bass
Henning Wanner: Keyboards

Essential For Fans Of:
Mike Tramp
Track Listing
Sangre de Cristo *
Dream *
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

--*Best Tracks


26/11/08: Tom - tom.timmermans@flexsys.com
Rating: 70
It's a Mike Tramp album, no doubt about that. But it ain't a White Lion album. The classic White Lion sound is Tramp + Bratta. I agree with some others below; Mike should've just released this one as a new solo album.

23/07/08: Dave - djgug_email-dj@yahoo.com
Rating: 70
I hadn't heard any of Mike Tramp's solo stuff, and all I can say after listening to this is that it doesn't remind me of anything White Lion at all. So, if you are looking for some classic White Lion, I don't think this is the answer.

15/07/08: Paul Ottowell - paul.ottowell204@mod.uk
Rating: 90
Having recently seen White Lion in London (great show!!!!) I went out and bought the CD. It is more like MT's solo stuff but it still is a great album. Sangre, I Will and Dream are excellent whilst Little Big Horn is a classic. Next time he plays go and support him! He definitely still has it.

02/07/08: Wardy - micktward@ozemail.com.au
Rating: 70
I'm kinda torn on this one.

IMO Mike's prime was with Freak of Nature, his solo output for the most part paled in comparison and it was interesting to say the least to hear he was delivering a new White Lion album. Aside from a handful of fine tunes, White Lion finished with a bang with what could only be described as a classic album - the being Mane Attraction, and for that reason alone the Return had a lot to live up to!

Before I go on though, I might add that though Recovering the Wasted Years, for what it was, was pretty darn near a classic, I for one was starting to find solo Tramp getting a bit long in the tooth, and while hesitant I was also excited to hear what Mike would deliver this time around under the moniker of White Lion.

But Return of the Pride (brave title there Mike) isn't what I for one hoped for. Much of this is still solo Tramp (which ain't a bad thing, even long in the tooth solo Tramp is still pretty neat), but solo Tramp with some additional punk some additional forward momentum... but not IMO 'White Lion'. Sure we can argue all day that this is WL moving forward but honestly, isn't that what he's been doing since erm... White Lion!?

A mixed bag it is HOWEVER... what I will add is that while I may not be sold on Return of the Pride, how bloody cool are the tracks Sangre de Cristo, and Battle at Little Big Horn!!!!? Bloated? Sure! OTT? You betcha! But man these two tunes just reek of WL and da Freaks and to be honest now that I've read that of the new album Mike wants to play these two tunes live - man you gotta wonder where Mike's heart truly is!?

Both these epic tracks are layered with progression and movements that haven't ever been heard this way before on a White Lion album, and the Freak of Nature styled riffing that is evident particularly on opening the track Sangre de Cristo is just a pleasure to hear!

Hell I'd written this thing off but ya know I'm going to throw down some coin for this simply for those two tracks alone.

If this is how Mike wants to play it for any future album - count me in! This thing may be mixed but those two tracks are perfect Tramp IMO and worth the price of admission alone!

Health to ya Mike and bring on more of the likes of these two tracks please!!!!!

13/06/08: gregg - gmcpa1@verizon.net
Rating: 92
I agree with Andrew here. Some excellant songs. You feel with Bratta on board this could have been a 95-100 score effort.
"Battle At Little Big Horn" is one of the best Lion tracks ever.

05/06/08: Zok - micke_016@hotmail.com
Rating: 91
White Lion have done a great album, the sound is from every era of the band. Fav songs is Sangre de Cristo, Dream, Battle at Little Big Horn and Never Let You Go. Check this out. I have no problem with the use of the name White Lion.

19/05/08: Ty - deadlyvenomno5@aol.com
Rating: 90
I was pleasantly surprised. Sangre De Cristo and The Battle of Little Big Horn are classics I continue to play over and over and I Will, Dream and Set Me Free are strong, catchy songs. The only two songs that didn't grab me were Let Me Be Me and Live Your Life.

15/05/08: Monster Cock - thenuge1@aol.com
Rating: 90
Pretty good, Sangre de Christo, Dream and Battle of Little Big Horn are classics! Take Me Home is a great way to end album. Tramp's vocals are mature, and he sounds great! I hope his continues with this version of White Lion as the band will only get better together and gel and release a stronger album next time around.

14/05/08: William - williamslestat@yahoo.com
Rating: 87
I was excited about this cd! The cd has some pretty cool tunes! I enjoyed songs like(I will, battle of the big horn, and never let you go! Those three songs alone make the cd a good investment!

14/05/08: Ktz - kotzensue@hotmail.com
Rating: 90
This is a good album. The bonus track Take me home it's one of White Lion best songs ever. With Vito this would have been an awesome comeback.

14/05/08: Chris Kaiser - soundadvice2k@bresnan.net
Rating: 0
White Lion is just not White Lion without Vito. I agree with that point from all the other reviews. I think Mike Tramp should have just put out another solo disc and this one would be one of his best. I don't like the fact that he used the name to sell more CDs. I am a Mike Tramp fan and I like this CD but it is not WHITE LION.

13/05/08: dek - catscratchfever68@yahoo.co.uk
Rating: 50
poor!! am goin to see them next month, and maybes in a live setting the songs mite sparkle a bit more, but i know millions will disagree with what about to say, as people will say, you have to move on ,but white lion without vito bratta is like watching a new rambo film, ie souless!!! he should jst stick to using the name mick tramp, and forget using the name white lion, you put the name WHITE LION on a cd and you raise the bar, expectations are raised!!! heres hoping the tour is better!!!

05/04/08: Martin - ab@dc.de
Rating: 10
Only good song is "Dream" - the rest sounds like leftovers from MT soloalbums. Embarrassing! A shame for the "WL" name.....

05/04/08: H.C.D. - USA - dolphin80@yahoo.com
Rating: 75
Ok, so its not the White Lion we all knew and loved in the 80's, but its something. Yeah, Vito is missing and that's a big piece, but once again, this is still better than being forced to listen to Mariah Carey's "Touch My Body" 1000 times in a day. The music is solid and Tramp's vocals are still in top form. The CD doesn't hold a candle to Pride or Big Game, but its still a good effort.

Speaking of Vito Brata, has he done ANYTHING since Mane Attraction? Has he recorded anything? This guy seems to have just dropped off the map. Does anyone have an update on this guy? I'm not even sure he'd return to the scene even if Tramp wanted him to.

04/04/08: RockMan - purjfo98@msn.com
Rating: 70
This disc didn't hit me well either. I do think Mike is talented and can write good music. However, when you are going to use the name White Lion, it better have some correlation to the music that White Lion made in the past and not what Mike Tramp has done. This SHOULD NOT have been a White Lion disc as it has no relationship to the White Lion sound, chord progressions, musicianship of the guitar player, etc. that WAS White Lion. This isn't all that bad and is enjoyable but it makes me mad that it will be labled as White Lion and not Mike Tramp.

04/04/08: Rich - gggsmutluvr@yahoo.com.au
Rating: 10
seriously why bother! its not WHITELION....one original member ala Axl Rose and Guns N Roses. This is not even close to classic Whitelion so why still use the name! No Vito No Whitelion! This is obvious with this release. Should just call it the MIKE TRAMP Project....I`m a huge Whitelion fan dont get me wrong but this is just very average indeed sad to say

04/04/08: bigal523 - gajjnatale@hotmail.com
Rating: 50
I am sorry guys,this album stinks,plain and simple.It totally lacks in song quality and has a dreary mid tempo pace,it is clear the man has totally run out of ideas,the music is stagnant.this my friends is NOT white lion,go back and listen to the cd's with vito,THAT is white lion.I can name at least 20 releases this year alone that mop the floor with this crap.sorry to be a downer,but lets be realistic,this does nothing to get you excited.mike needs to SWALLOW HIS PRIDE,and return to vito and make a classic cd.he obviously cannot cut it without him.this is white lion strictly in name only.I gave this cd a 50 rating and that was being nice.we need to tighten up on our initial ratings and be more selective with the 80's and 90's we give out so easily

04/04/08: Tim Dombrowski - timmy5ton@gmail.com
Rating: 0
I found this release to be a pleasant surprise, though the kid in me still misses Vito Bratta's infectious riffs,Tramp's vocals come across more seasoned and impassioned, well done.

03/04/08: Morten Nohr - mn@lyd-billed.dk
Rating: 90
Great release, to me it is White Lion-Fight to Survive-Pride era, with a little bit of Freak of Nature and some Mike Tramp solo work. My favorite tracks: Sangre de Christo, Dream and Battle at Little Big Horn. You can really hear that these guys have done a lot of touring together, the album has a fine live sound to it, good work indeed.


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