In 1984 Whitesnake released "Slide it in" and it was a change in style. The band became more hard rock and they also got noticed. Fans were excited about a follow-up, but it was delayed some until the self titled release finally emerged in 1987. This is a strange one in a way because here was a band that had been around for about decade yet many people who took to this album thought they were a new band. Then again the style here is very different from the early albums as way. There is no denying that this is a good representation of a big production 80's hard rock album. The sound is very sharp production wise and you can just tell that this music was very much intended to be played in a big arena. I have always thought that David Coverdale is a very strong singer and he doesn't disappoint here. John Sykes has been sorely overlooked at times because his playing here is tight and strong on the small details. He is also a good back-up singer. Add in a solid rhythm section of former Jefferson Starship and Journey drummer Aynsley Dunbar and longtime Whitesnake bass player Neil Murray and you have a good start. Now I have to admit that I was not real fond of this album back when it was released. I loved "Slide it in", but had kind of given up waiting on the follow-up and also I was very into speed metal at the time. However time has been kind to this album and I have gotten over the many times I had to hear the hits off this song. It's holds up well and they did good job of mixing up the pace for the most part. Although I would have liked to have seen maybe one or two more rockers on it for good measure. Even though I have come to terms with the tracks that were once played to death on the radio, it's really some of the other songs that stand out to me now. Like the opener "Crying in the rain" and it's larger than life sound and spot on vocals. Then there is "Bad boys" which despite the ultra-cheese lyrics is still a catchy tune with a good opening riff and a killer solo from Sykes. "Children of the night" has an opening riff that is actually heavy enough to remind me of Dio and a big drum beat that keeps it going. However my favorite track on this album is "Straight for the heart" with it's streaming melody and a sound that's a bit of a blend of late 70's and 80's hard rock. My only real complaint about this album might be that I might have switched the last two tracks. "Don't turn away" although a decent song gets kind of lost at the end of the album. It's the ballad you don't know and it follows two of the heavier songs on the album. I think "Straight for the heart" might have been a better closer. That's a small complaint though. It's good album that has held up nicely. It was also the breakthrough for this band as it would eventually hit #2 on the Billboard charts. Unfortunately Coverdale cleaned house and the main line-up that recorded the album were replaced when video and touring time came around.
**Remember this is March Metal Madness which means three other bloggers are reviewing this same album today. So if you have not already done so, go ahead and hop over to Hardrock hideout, Heavy metal addiction and Pulses, verses and other flotsam to read their Whitesnake reviews.
***The madness continues next Monday as all four of us will be reviewing Dio's Dream Evil.