Great White “Rising” for me, is a retrospective listen, and it is not Heavy Metal. This is some inspiring, well written and high quality – Hard Rock. I can even go as far to say that “Rising” can be defined as a Rock album. You are not going to hear the 1980′s flamboyant, grandiose, guitar riff – infused Heavy Metal tunes here. No insanely – Metal driven solos either, some tastefully crafted solo’s do appear however, (“Danger Zone”), so do not despair. What I do hear on “Rising”, is a band that has clearly found themselves creating music straight from the heart. I am not trying to sound sappy here, sappy is not allowed on Metal Odyssey. What I am trying to convey is that Great White has proven to us Metalheads years ago, that they can play heavy and light up an Arena or two. I am convinced, after listening to “Rising”, that Great White is just as enthusiastic and talented as ever. Great White are real musicians… they do not need to carbon copy their past albums onto a 2009 release. “Rising” has some really addicting Old School Hard Rock flavor throughout.
Jack Russell on lead and background vocals has close to no resemblance of the Hair Metal heyday of his 1980′s voice. Forget the comparisons anymore to the legendary Robert Plant! (It started to get very old, even though Great White is what I consider the greatest Led Zeppelin cover band in the world). It is refreshing to hear Jack Russell not sound like a 1980′s retread. His vocals are absolutely superb on this album. “Danger Zone” and “Down On The Level” are two of the more hardest rockers on “Rising”, giving way to some of Jack Russell’s vocal past. “My Sanctuary” exemplifies what the Hard Rock ballads sound like on this album… free flowing with plenty of catchy grooves. “Situation” and “Shine” are songs that are similar, being heavy enough that they are very far removed from being mellow meltdowns. “All Or Nothin” is laden with enough grooves, hooks and foot stomping moments to make this my favorite track. “Loveless” is a real retrospective visit to late ’70′s early ’80′s Hard Rock sound- only it is a really good visit at that. Great White in my Metal opinion, has found the perfect balance of melody and harmonious vocals with just enough heavy guitar and rhythm section to make “Rising” a legitimate Hard Rock keeper.
I cannot possibly compare Great White of the ’80′s to Great White of 2009. I dig the music from both Great White eras. I find it cool when a band, especially one that is renowned for Heavy Metal, digs a little deeper into their musical souls and delivers a knock out of an album, filled with tunes you were not really expecting. Great White “Rising” should appeal to a very vast audience of genres… Hard Rock, Rock and Heavy/Hair Metal fans should find what they like on this album, I know I have. With all of my mentioning of retrospective on this review of “Rising”, I am steadfast against the labeling of music as being dated. Just because music brings back memories of other decades or sounds like music from the past, does not make it uncool. Look at how many CD’s and albums that the immortal Elvis and legendary Beatles sell on a weekly basis… if dated music does exist, then I guess dated music is in. Great White of 2009 is happening for me. I have spoken my Metal point.
“Rising” was released on April 21, 2009, on Shrapnel Records. And now, a Metal Odyssey roll call of the members of Great White, as they appear on “Rising”: Jack Russell – lead and background vocals, Mark Kendall – guitar and background vocals, Audie Desbrow – drums, Michael Lardie – guitar, keyboards, mandolin, sitar, harmonica, percussion and background vocals, Scott Snyder – bass and background vocals.