Great White – Rising (CD)

It would be easy to write off Great White as just another way past its prime hair metal band trying desperately to relive the 80’s. But Great White, like Tesla and a handful of others who got caught up in the atrocious metal scene 20 years ago, had actual talent and some great songs to back up their bluster.

The band always had a bigger footprint in the blues camp versus the cheesy glam camp of their peers. That in mind, it’s disappointing just how bland the songs on Rising sound, The record, only their second in a decade, is still anchored by band founders, singer Jack Russell and guitarist Mark Kendall.

Despite their presence, the energy that made Once Bitten such a great blues-fused metal record is pretty much at its lowest levels. Songs like “I Don’t Mind” get lost in a swirl of keyboards, leaving the listener to wonder when Great White stopped listening to AC/DC and started playing Europe in the van. The lyrics are just as drab with countless clichéd takes on “giving it your all” and “heart and soul” (in fact, five songs contain the words “heart,” “soul” or a combination of both). All of this likely won’t matter though to the thousand expected to flock to Oklahoma this summer to see Great White and others for the four-day hair metal fest aptly titled Rocklahoma. Break out the spandex and aqua net, because Great White is back! (Along with Kix, Ratt, Night Ranger and countless others you’ll pretend you didn’t listen to in the 80’s).

Rating: 5 out of 10

Great White – Rising / CD / 11 Tracks / Shrapnel Records / www.greatwhiterocks.com

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