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On disc: China

Light Up The Dark - Claudia Ehrhardt - 8 stars

Light Up The Dark

Light Up The Dark
(Metal Heaven - 2011)

China is a Swiss band which started in the mid-80's, their self-titled debut was released in 1988 and was followed by Sign In The Sky a year later. If memory serves they toured around that time with Victory and Bonfire... And in 1990 with Yngwie Malmsteen. Since their 4th studio album Natural Groove 15 years have been passing by. Light Up The Dark was released in their home country in 2010 and finally get released outside the Confoederatio Helvetica. In 2003 the band disbanded and came back a few years later. After the reunion they played some live shows and released a Best-of album. Only guitarist Claudio Matteo is still in China, but singer Eric St.Michaels returned.
The title track is also the album opener, a heavy rocker with a catchy hook. With Light Up The Dark they revive their musical past, but without sounding dated. At the end of the song the chorus is Beatles-que which sounds interesting in combination with the heavy riffing. She's So Hot is a stomping pub rock song with metallic riffs, becomes a glam metal tune - but the almost spoken word parts give it a modern touch. Gates Of Heaven is a balladesque rocker which would have been played at MTV back in the late 80's / early 90's.
At On My Way they get joined by Krokus fronter Marc Storace for a country rocker. True metal heads won't he delighted, but open-minded rock fans should enjoy this one. With Stay they offer a bluesy balladesque tune which would also make a good acoustic tune... After the balladesque tracks the heavy riffs of Deadly Sweet sound even heavier. A mix of modern metal elements, late 80's backing vocals, melodic lead guitar and varying vocals make this one differ from the rest of the songs on this CD. An up-tempo party rocker is Trapped In The City, another track which back in the late 80's / early 90's would have got airplay. Flesh & Bone shines due to the guitar play while the vocals are a bit repetitive.
China are back, even if not as strong as in their early days, but they try to sound modern. Not too modern, it's a mix of their old sounds and modern elements. Additionally they add some other sound elements, they take the risk to try something different. It might not please everybody, but melodic metal fans should give it a try!

8 stars

Claudia Ehrhardt


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