White Heart - Freedom (Rewrite)

geoviangeovian Earth Orbit
edited April 10 in year-1989

I'm sure White Heart rank among the best CCM rock bands of all time, this album sitting within a cluster of super albums released over a ten-year period.

White Heart - Freedom
ARTIST: White Heart
ALBUM: Freedom
LABEL: Sparrow
YEAR: 1989
CD REISSUE: Discogs Reissue List

LINEUP: Rick Florian - lead vocals * Billy Smiley, Gordon Kennedy - guitars * Mark Gersmehl - keyboards, vocals * Tommy Sims - bass * Chris McHugh - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Bye Bye Babylon * 02 Sing Your Freedom * 03 Let The Kingdom Come * 04 Over Me * 05 Eighth Wonder * 06 Power Tools * 07 Invitation * 08 The River Will Flow * 09 Set The Bridge On Fire * 10 Let It Go * 11 I'll Meet You There



I'm sure White Heart rank among the best CCM rock bands of all time. But I seriously question that the buying public whether Christian or secular truly appreciated the quality and excellence of this Nashville institution. I suspect not. Having heard all of their back catalogue, most are consistently good albums, probably with the exception of their last two albums (1995 and 1997).

From about 1985 onward, White Heart entered a golden period and remained relevant for the next decade, even through the dreaded grunge era. Truly, the clutch of albums released during this timeframe should all be compulsory acquisitions for your AOR collection.

The Songs

Let's kick it off, and without beating around the bush, the first five tracks are killers. 'Bye Bye Babylon' is a beefy entrance, spider-like bass work weaves a pattern, spicy synth parts when required, and desperate vocals which has Rick Florian invoking his inner Steve Walsh. An aggressive opener for sure.

The anthems strike early with 'Sing Your Freedom' providing the clarion call. Interesting to hear the band dip into U2 territory toward the back end of this one. 'Let The Kingdom Come' presents a massive wall of melodic rock. The two big drum smashes in the mid-section completely changes the direction of the song, becoming more epic and powerful. Love it.

'Over Me' sees White Heart doing AOR with their eyes closed. A masterful track, with Florian holding the cards once again. Vocally like Steve Walsh and John Farnham combined. In keeping with the previous track, 'Eighth Wonder' is also kept on a melodic leash, fans of the band will be purring like a cat after listening to this.

We're into the second half of the album now. Navigating past the array of sound effects, 'Power Tools' is a cranky hard rocker, big on the guitars not so the keyboards. 'Invitation' is both boisterous and funky, similar to CCM contemporaries Mylon LeFevre and Broken Heart.

White Heart dial it back for the mid-tempo 'The River Will Flow', a flowing arrangement which meanders. There is no real hint of rock on this one. 'Set The Bridge On Fire' sees the band attempting melodic rock with an offbeat delivery, it's punchy I'll give them that, check out Tommy Simms' bass work.

'Let It Go' highlights Rick Florian's wonderful voice once more (perhaps he is the eighth wonder?), the album finishing up with the hybrid ballad 'I'll Meet You There' which is melody soaked and would make for a compulsory unplugged version in a live setting.

In Summary

I've always felt this was an album of two halves, the first half being better than the second. Immediately beyond this album, the band made further inroads into the melodic rock and AOR scenes courtesy of 1990's 'Powerhouse' album, albeit with a few lineup changes. Thankfully I was fortunate enough to catch the band live at the Wellington Opera House, NZ while they were out in support of that album. Super band all round.

[Note: this review has been completely rewritten from the original submitted a few years ago.]


Let The Kingdom Come

Over Me

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