It's a shame that White Lion's debut album is so hard to find, because it may well be their best release. Fight to Survive didn't make much of a splash when it was released in 1984. It wasn't until 3 years later that their second album, Pride, brought them the attention they deserved.
Fight to Survive is a solid album and a great example of the kind of melodic hard rock/heavy metal that was so powerful in the mid to late 1980's. It features the single Broken Heart, which was re-recorded for White Lion's final album Mane Attraction. Broken Heart is probably my favorite White Lion song. Other standout tracks include the title track and El Salvador. Singer Mike Tramp and guitarist Vito Bratta worked quite well together on this album, and managed to record some very melodic songs with great guitar hooks and smart lyrics. Like later releases, which always had at least one song that just didn't seem to fit (Dirty Woman from Big Game is a good example); Fight to Survive's only dud is the song Kid of 1000 Faces. That one song aside, I give White Lion's debut album a very high rating.
This is a must-have album for all White Lion fans, as well as fans of the whole 80's hard rock/hair metal scene. It's one of those albums that totally captures the spirit of that era.
NOTE: For the longest time, the only way to get this great album was to buy an expensive Japanese import. Fortunately Fight to Survive was reissued by AOR Heaven in 2005. This is good enough news all by itself, but the best news is that the album was digitally remastered under the supervision of Mike Tramp himself. After hearing both the old and new releases, I can tell you the difference in sound quality is very noticeable. The reissue also features 7 bonus live tracks. They're a nice enough addition I suppose, but they're not all from the Fight to Survive era (only two songs are from this album), so I can't really see how it made sense to include them here. Still, the remastering alone makes the reissue a more than worthwhile purchase, especially for those who may have missed the album the first time around.