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Return Of The Pride
White Lion
Return Of The Pride
Frontiers Records
Hard Rock
Mark Balogh
3.0 stars

The new WHITE LION album is a bit of a confusing one for me. Obviously most people know the story since the original band broke up in the early 90’s. Singer Mike Tramp went the solo route, first with the heavier (and at times alternative sounding) FREAK OF NATURE, and then just going simply under his own name and releasing more stripped back, straight-ahead rock songs.

Then back in 2005 Tramp took WHITE LION back out on the road with a new lineup. Tramp vowed to give the fans what they wanted and to perform the songs as they sounded back in the day. I never felt he quite lived up to that statement because I just didn’t think the new band or Tramp himself sounded like they did back in the day. Obviously the guitar sound of the great Vito Bratta wasn’t there and you certainly couldn’t blame Tramp for that because he tried for a long time to get Bratta back into the scene. Problem was Bratta didn’t seem to be into doing music anymore. There were the stories and rumors floating about as to what he was up to but nothing it seemed had him involved in the music business anymore. So I can understand why Mike Tramp did what he did with the WHITE LION name.

That now brings us to the brand new release aptly titled “Return Of The Pride”. The band is the same as the one that backed Tramp on tour in ’05 but the big question is does it live up to the WHITE LION name? Well not really in my opinion but let me explain.

If you take the approach and compare this record to the WHITE LION that put out such genre defining songs as “Wait” and “When The Children Cry” then you are not doing it justice. So instead I took the approach that this is a more of a new “Mike Tramp Band” effort. When you listen to it on its own merit there are some real good songs on offer.

One of those really good songs is the lead track off the album “Sangre de Cristo”. The song starts off with a tribal chant before leading into a solitary Tramp vocal backed only by acoustic guitar. Is that kind of a strange start for an album one might ask? Well not as soon as the band kicks in big time with the crushing drum and guitar sounds! Those classic Tramp vocals are back and the song has a bit of an earlier “Fight To Survive” WHITE LION feel to it. Even the guitar tone by Jamie Law is “Vito-esque” and I am impressed! The track is truly epic, clocking in at well over eight minutes.

Other tracks like “Dream”, “Live Your Life” and “I Will” are all guitar riff based tunes but are very melodic with catchy choruses and are just strong songs.

“Set Me Free” has a mellow acoustic beginning before settling into a classy rock track with a decent chorus reminiscent of something from the “Mane Attraction” record.

The 2nd big epic track from the album comes in the form of “Battle At Little Big Horn”. The song comes in at just over seven and a half minutes in length and builds and flows like WHITE LION epics have in the past.

“Never Let You Go” is a piano-based ballad with a nice vocal from Tramp. One thing I do notice on this album is that Mike Tramp’s vocals sound more seasoned than in the early days and it makes for a more enjoyable listening experience at times.

The second half of the record seems to fall off a bit in quality with tracks like “Gonna Do It My Way”(riff heavy with tougher sounding vocals but nothing earth-shattering in the lyric department) and “Finally See The Light” (catchy enough but uninspired sounding).

The album closes with the tracks “Let Me Be Me” and “Take Me Home”. The songs bring the quality of the back end of the record back up a little. Especially with the acoustic-based European bonus track “Take Me Home”. The song is a nice and mellow end to the album.

In summary, this record is somewhat of a mixed bag to me with some truly good songs and a few misses along the way. Come to think of it, if you look back at the last couple WHITE LION releases before this (“Big Game” and “Mane Attraction”) you sort of got the same thing, so this maybe is closer to the old WHITE LION than I originally thought. Still, it does seem light-years from the “Pride” era. But like I said in the beginning of the review, that’s not a bad thing if you don’t try to compare it to that period of the bands history at all. Let it stand on its own and it’s a decent record from Mike Tramp and company.

Band Lineup:
  • Mike Tramp - Vocals
  • Jamie Law - Guitars
  • Claus Langeskov - Bass
  • Henning Wanner - Keyboards
  • Troy Patrick Farrell - Drums


Track Listing:
  1. Sangre De Cristo
  2. Dream
  3. Live Your Life
  4. I Will
  5. Battle At Little Big Horn
  6. Never Let You Go
  7. Gonna Do It My Way
  8. Finally See The Light
  9. Let Me Be Me
  10. Take Me Home


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