Great White - Full Circle

Great White Full Circle cover
Great White
Full Circle
Bluez Tone Records
2017
8
Average: 4.8 (11 votes)
You know the case of Great White perplexes me a fair amount. After almost an eternity together (2017 marks the band’s 40th anniversary) and following the breakups, tragedies and continuing issues with former singer Jack Russell’s addictions, they reached an amicable solution in 2011 and it didn’t take them to long to replace him with XYZ singer Terry Illous, who had filled in for an ailing Russell before then. “Elation” the album that ensued wasn’t bad, but it felt a little “different” that one would have expected from the band…
 
Russell released his debut with his “version” of the band, entitled “He Saw It Comin’” recently, and it wasn’t bad at all, from a composition or performance perspective, leaving only “live performances” as a question. Meanwhile the “original” band, without Russell, released a sophomore in “Full Circle” and the signs are mostly positive. While “Elation” showed great promise, there were moments that felt a little self-conscientious. Now Illous seems to have really gelled with the rest of the band really well, since and collectively they deliver a set of songs that feels a lot more like vintage Great White than ever before, with Illous feeling almost like he was the guy all along; he’s really slipped into his role here and it makes for quite a smooth transition.
 
Also a change was made in the production department with big-wig Michael Wagener overseeing things, which certainly is an improvement over “Elation”’s self-production. There’s a bit more polish and objectivity in using an extra set of unbiased ears and Wagener has just brought it out.
 
There’s a lot to like in “Full Circle”… “I’m Alright” and “Movin’ On” (even with its semi-country twangy guitars) feel almost like a mission statement and are a great one-two of rockers that open the album with enough pizzazz... and frostiness at the same time…
 
“This is the Life” is blues rock extraordinaire with the right amount of electricity to make you sweat and howl…
 
An obligatory ballad comes in the form of “Let Me In”, but it doesn’t feel forced, but rather heartfelt, but it’s the playful and gritty “Moonshine” that is a winner here, a red hot anthemic rocker that’s slow in its verse but pushy in its chorus, just as it should be… sublime…
 
“Cry of a Nation” is a slow and atmospheric song about the Indians that were forced to move away from their lands, during the colonization of the west...
 
But it’s towards the end that the album really comes together in grand fashion. “Give It Up” has a swanky and funky riff that slithers till it’s great chorus hits.
 
“Big Time” is the single the band released for the album and while it starts with a few signature licks that feel a little hesitant, it soon builds into a bonafide rocker that’s among the best songs of the album.
 
Last but not least, “Never Let You Down” closes the album with the blues swagger that’s typical of so many of Great White’s great songs and feels like it could have easily been plucked from “Twice Shy” or something…
 
Basically the album flows organically and has a number of “peaks” so what’s not to like?! Do yourself a favor and check it out.

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