Album Reviews

Great White – Elation Review

Released By : Frontiers Records

Genre : Blues Rock, Melodic Rock

Links : http://www.greatwhiterocks.com/

 

Lineup:

Terry Ilous – Vocals

Mark Kendall – Guitars

Michael Lardie – Guitars, Keyboards

Audie Desbrow – Drums

Scott Snyder – Bass

 

Tracklist:

01. (I’ve Got) Something For You

02. Feelin’ So Much Better

03. Love Train

04. Heart Of A Man

05. Hard To Say Goodbye

06. Resolution

07. Shotgun Willie’s

08. Promise Land

09. Lowdown

10. Just For Tonight

11. Love Is Enough

12. Complicated

 

Hmmm… How do you approach a review involving GREAT WHITE these days?  Nobody with any sort of interest in the melodic rock scene would deny that they were easily one of the best bands to come out of that scene, and subsequently their leader Jack Russel is regarded very, very highly across the board.    The last couple of years however have been one big fat joke.  Russel’s highly public knowledge drug and alcohol problems got so bad that he starts falling over on stage, cutting sets short, cancelling shows and in general tarnishing the legacy of the band. Eventually things came to a head and ex-WARRANT frontman Jani Lane was chosen as a stand-in while Russel got his shit together, sadly we lose another star in the sky as Jani Lane himself passes away which in turn forces Russel to start getting his life together. Then, when he announces to the band that he is ready to come back they tell him that they have chosen to go on without him, recruiting former XYZ vocalist and all-around nice guy Terry Ilous. Then Russel decides to take his ex-bandmates to court to stop then from using the name, claiming he has full rights to it, now we have this version of GREAT WHITE, featuring Mark Kendall, Michael Lardi, Audie Desbrow and Scott Snyder, whilst Russel himself his begun gigging again under the JACK RUSSEL’S GREAT WHITE moniker!

It’s a shame things have to be like this really, but it is what it is and now any of us that don’t have any direct personal ties to the band or Jack Russel have no choice but to judge the new album on it’s own merits, regardless of which personnel we think should have been included. Musically, ELATION follows the cruisy blues rock feel of the band’s previous two records, 2007’s BACK TO THE RHYTHM, and 2009’s RISING, and whilst some will yearn for the days of old, in all honesty it does sound, in certain places, like a pretty natural progression for the band to take, albeit with a different voice up front of course.

Interestingly enough, ELATION sees Terry Ilous in fine form and it’s the best record he has been involved with in a long time, trumping his last couple of projects like last year’s BRIDGER etc. ect. His vocals sound as crisp and clean as ever, but boy can he still hit those tasty power notes when he wants to. The only thing that lets this record down a little bit is that occasionally the songwriting feels a little drab in places, and while the cruisy vibe is very enjoyable, you can’t help but think that two or three high-octane rock tunes would have helped push this baby that extra mile. That’s not to say though that the album doesn’t offer up a few rippers… Opener (I’VE GOT) SOMETHING FOR YOU is a rollicking bluesy rock tune that mixes seventies glam rock with a bit of a BLACK CROWES backbone and is a great way for the band to introduce what it is they are up to these days. LOVE TRAIN is a slow burner that recalls the feel of early BAD COMPANY. HARD TO SAY GOODBYE is a nice ballady campfire song that feels like it could have been co-written by the BLACK CROWES, but also follows the formula that most melodic rock bands followed in the past for the obligatory acoustic ballad on each album. The rest of the tunes follow a similar vibe and maybe SHOTGUN WILLIE’S is the best of the so far unmentioned tracks.

All things aside, I really enjoyed most of the album. Do I consider it a GREAT WHITE album though?…. Not too sure about that. I personally don’t have a problem with this incarnation taking the band name, in fact I think it’s probably the right way to have done things, but there’s not really that much here sound-wise to indicate that you are listening to a GREAT WHITE record. Tery Ilous sounds better than ever though and really was the perfect choice, and good on them for releasing some fresh material rather than have Ilous having to sing the Jack Russel back catalog at live shows. ELATION works better when looked upon as a curio, much like the one-off FOREIGNER record that featured Johnny Edwards up front and the one-and-a-half album tenure of Robert Hart to BAD COMPANY. If considered in this vein rather than as a straight-up GREAT WHITE album, ELATION comes off sounding like a fully functional modern day blues-rock album, and probably one of the best releases of it’s kind for 2012. Fans will obviously choose sides in the ridiculous battle going on between Russel and the band, but if you can put all of that aside for a moment, there is a worthy album here waiting to be discovered.

 

Written By ZeeZee

Ratings    Zeezee    8/10

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