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White Lion - 1989 Big Game

ARTIST: White Lion
ALBUM: Big Game
LABEL: Atlantic
SERIAL: 7 81969-2
YEAR: 1989
CD REISSUE: 2015, Rock Candy Records (UK), CANDY269
SPONSOR: Rock Candy Records


LINEUP: Mike Tramp - vocals * Vito Bratta - guitars * James Lomenzo - bass * Greg D'Angelo - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Goi' Home Tonight * 02 Dirty Woman * 03 Little Fighter * 04 Broken Home * 05 Baby Be Mine * 06 Living On The Edge * 07 Lets Get Crazy * 08 Do't Say It's Over * 09 If My Mind Is Evil * 10 Radar Love * 11 Cry For Freedom

Whie Lion's 'Pride' was one of my favourite albums of 1987, and I recall playing the thing until my turntable was black and blue. The boys from New York surely received a few assisting hands from those around them, because 'Pride' was more commercial than their debut 'Fight To Survive', which saw that LP shunted from pillar to post since its original release was back in 1984. Anyway, 'Pride' went on to do big business, and hard rock fans waited eagerly to see what their third album 'Big Game' had in store. The album and the band overall was more about what guitarist Vito Bratta bought to the table; more so than singer Mike Tramp. That might sound a tad unfair, but in an era full of heroes, Bratta had it in spades. A simply astounding guitarist who is much missed from the current scene.

The Songs
'Big Game' is all about pop metal, and we really should've reviewed this years ago. I guess that's the beauty of the GDM site.. it's all about the glory daze of music and an album like this is a reminder of why we write stuff like this. 'Goi' Home Tonight' is a simple rocker turned upside by Bratta's soloing. 'Dirty Woma' is a bit grittier and bluesier in delivery, but come solo time, Bratta again turns things on its head, very Van Halen in style. 'Little Fighter' is perhaps the most recognisable song from the album, and apart from what Warrant delivered on their 1989 debut, this is the sort of song which made 1989 so enjoyable. Interestingly, the song was about the deliberate sabotage of the Greenpeace vessel Rainbow Warrior, which was sunk in Auckland Harbour, NZ in 1985 by the French Secret Service. Umm yeah.. 'Broken Home' with its organ intro and southern blues slang, is a different sort of fit for White Lion, but no less appetizing. It's a very down-home sound, with none of the over-produced studio gimmicks. 'Baby Be Mine' is quite different too, understated too, more melodic guitar lines without the fuzz and distortion until chorus and solo time. Listen to those soaring double layered guitars in the solo section. 'Living On The Edge' is a power anthem, with tough lyrics and off-the-wall guitar work. What else would you expect? 'Let's Get Crazy' takes things to another level. A manic cross between Dokken's fury and Van Halen's OTT style. One of my fave tacks here is 'Do't Say It's Over', which probably best represents White Lion's commercial and melodic style without hinting at other influences. Bratta goes for broke on the very metallized 'If My Mind Is Evil', which to my mind is the odd man out on the album. The Golden Earring cover of 'Radar Love' was the other most recognized track here, while 'Cry Freedom' was eventually released as the album's third single.

In Summary
The album received healthy results on album charts around the world, most noticeably in the U.S where it reached #19. At least four of their songs made it to singles an also to video. White Lion would return for one more crack with 1991's 'Mane Attractio', before winking out. The band would eventually reunite for a 2008 effort 'Return Of The Pride' but without Vito Bratta at the helm, this was never going to hold the same sort of magic from the late 80's.. sorry to say.

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#1 | spawn71 on October 21 2015 19:15:17
I like this one: not at the same level of 'Pride', but still very good and enjoyable. The band was pressed by label to release a new record, but Tramp and Bratta (what a guitar player! Wow!) did a great job trying different styles. My favorite track from this album is a cover, the wonderful 'Radar Love'!
#2 | melodiapositiva on March 11 2016 19:27:44
I think Vito Bratta was the best guitar player of all the hair metal bands in the 80's. Same level as Vai or Satriani. For me, their best album is MANE ATTRACTION, more mature and best produced.
#3 | gdazegod on March 11 2016 21:33:42
Agreed. Vai, Satriani, Van Halen..

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