White Lion

Return of the Pride

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The last time White Lion issued a new studio album, the musical world was a very different place. Hair metal was still en vogue, but its death knell was rapidly approaching (with the arrival of Nirvana). The group collapsed soon after the lukewarm reception bestowed upon the release of 1991's Mane Attraction, and remained in hibernation until the late '90s, until singer Mike Tramp began touring under a few different White Lion-related names (such as "Remembering White Lion" and "Tramp's White Lion") and issuing live albums. But 2008's Return of the Pride is the first post-1991 release to be credited solely to White Lion. Despite Tramp being the only member present from the group's late-'80s glory days, the group's heavy yet melodic sound remains very much intact. Instead of attempting to give White Lion an updated stylistic makeover, much of Return of the Pride sounds as if it could have been released in 1989 and not be out of place at all. New guitarist Jamie Law manages to fill Vito Bratta's shoes pretty well, which is no small task (as Bratta was considered one of the more talented "shredders" of the hair metal era). Close your eyes and be prepared to be taken back to the carefree days of hair spray, spandex, and cowboy boots, as evidenced by such unmistakably White Lion-sounding tracks as the surprisingly heavy album opener, "Sangre de Cristo," as well as "Live Your Life" and the obligatory power ballad, "Never Let You Go."

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