RATINGS: A = must own B = buy it C= average D = yawn F = puke

Great White – Elation
Frontiers Records


Rating: B

Over the last year Great White has been dragged through the ringer. The war between the former vocalist and the rest of the band has ended up with lawsuits being filed. The band, however, have decided to ride the storm out and officially move on from the dynamic, yet unpredictable singer Jack Russell and moved forward with ex-XYZ singer Terry Illous. The result is an exciting new collection of tunes titled Elation.
The album, while solid, actually is much deeper, both lyrically and musically, than many of Great White’s earlier efforts. While instant gratification may not come easily, as one gives the album repeated listens, they will realize that this is one of most complete albums the band has ever released.

The band took a risk with Terry Illous, as he is not a Jack Russell clone, meaning the band have taken on the added challenge of introducing the fan base to a new look and voice. Terry, it must be pointed out, is a much better singer than Russell. On “Promised Land” and “Complicated” he is so good, and natural, at his craft that it is downright scary. This guy can flat out sing and the band was smart to go with him over a look-alike/sound-alike replacement. This moves shows that Great White are looking to the future and not just relying on their past.

The album has a certain angst to it, which is quite natural as the band wrote and recorded these songs in the midst of total professional chaos. There is also an excitement that comes through on songs like “Heart of a Man” and “Shotgun Willie’s” that show the band knew they were happy with where the music was taking them.

The album contains enough hard rockers for the boys and enough ballads to keep the girls happy. Produced by band members Michael Lardie and Mark Kendall, the album sounds enough like Great White to still be Great White but enough different that the diehard fans will understand what is really going on here, which is that Great White are moving on.
There is no obvious hit single on this album instead it is a solid effort from start to finish. While a strong tune ala “Save Your Love” or “Rock Me” is missed, the totality of the album makes up for the flash of one or two songs. Still, if there is one knock on Elation it is that it is missing that ‘one’ song that will forever be a classic.

Great White wrote and recorded this album very quickly, so as good as this one turned out, one wonders what a summer on the road will do to the group’s collective creativity. If all turns out well with Illous, then this band could finally come out from the dark shadows that have surrounded them for years and, once again, see the light of day.

Elation is a definite step in the right direction.

By Jeb Wright