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RECORD RACK

* * * * Great Balls of Fire * * * Good Vibrations * * Maybe Baby * Running on Empty : : METAL--NO APOLOGY

May 10, 1987|SHARON LIVETEN

* * "WHITESNAKE." Whitesnake. Geffen. Forget speed, melody and glam-metal. With Whitesnake's first album in three years, singer and founder David Coverdale has brought back heavy metal. "Whitesnake" has an armload of songs with anthem-like lyrics, no-frills guitar solos, a rhythm section carved in granite and nary a nod to pop crossover.

Unfortunately, in keeping things basic Whitesnake occasionally leans heavily on the past. "Still of the Night" is second-class Led Zeppelin, and "Crying in the Rain" hearkens back to Coverdale's old band, Deep Purple. All of which would be more interesting if guitarist John Sykes had the range of Jimmy Page or Ritchie Blackmore.

But flashy guitars aren't the point of Whitesnake--David Coverdale is. Musically, the band operates as a single machine, but the album's production is such that everything becomes a sidebar to Coverdale's archetypal growl. He's in fine voice and pulls it off, helping make "Whitesnake" everything is strives to be: a completely unapologetic heavy metal record.

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