Saturday, 6 October 2012

STEVE HARRIS - British Lion (2012)

Genre - Hard Rock / Heavy Metal
Label - EMI Records

Track listing -

01. This Is My God
02. Lost Worlds
03. Karma Killer
04. Us Against The World
05. The Chosen Ones
06. A World Without Heaven
07. Judas
08. Eyes Of The Young
09. These Are The Hands
10. The Lesson

Iron Maiden main man Steve Harris brings us his debut solo album, British Lion, a decade in the making, with asoud that is as far away from Iron Maidens as you could get. The album is a solid effort but not as good as one could have expected considering the pedigree involved. The following review is not my own words but I couldnt agree more with what has been said, so I have reproduced it here.

"STEVE HARRIS, the 'Boss' of Iron Maiden is busy touring the States, reliving some of his main band’s most glorious moments at this time.

He's chosen the same time to release his decade in the making – tracked whenever he could get time, on the backburner of Maiden activities - solo album, which is not entirely him flying solo, but more of a collaborative effort, titled "British Lion".
Apparently, Steve was managing this band in the early '90s and kinda liked them a bit too much and while the project really went no-where at the time and his solo company 'Beast Records' went into limbo, he kept in contact with them and decided to salvage the material which he also got involved with, playing the bass and co-writing some of the songs by issuing it under his name, as a solo album.
"British Lion" is not being pushed as a metal project. Singer Simon Dawson and guitarist Grahame Leslie have recorded in many rock&pop sessions, including The Outfield, so expect vocals quite away to the typical metal stuff.
Without being too long, the songs tend to dwell in mid-tempo territory mostly, and sound a bit long winded. The entire band is fine and British as it comes, but there's a bit of lack of fire and bite.
Repeated spins, make the album grow, but you’d really expect something more upbeat from Harris than an average to good album.
“This is my God” really reminded me a bit of Thunder and Zeppelin and while it has a nice groove and generally good ideas, it's a paint-it-by-numbers hard rocker, while “Lost Worlds” has hints of Maiden, in the form of a really long expressive part.
“Karma Killer” is almost how things should have been. It’s got a nasty, groovy and instantly recognizable riff and grooves. Taylor even convinces thoroughly on this one. Good chorus.
“Us Against the World” is one of the best moments here, mixing Maiden with UFO and the Scorpions quite nicely. Taylor’s melodic ideas are very smooth and nice, and there are some very smart guitar flourishes.
“The Chosen Ones” is very Lizzyesque, and simply quite good. But even here, in such a feelgood song, there seems to be a bit of uncertainty. Taylor, exclaims a 'yeah' at some point and it almost sounds forced and not that spontaneous. Another great song, but a little more flair, would have made it an anthem.
On “World Without Heaven” the guitars are lower in the mix than they should, really battling with the bass at point, not because of volume, but because they are just not as fat and sharp as they should.
“Judas” is darker, with a very abrupt drop out in the middle and some acoustics, “Eyes of The Young” is a more carefree, almost a ballad that rocks hard.
The real ballad is final track “The Lesson”, rich in strings that bears resemblances to Dio and maybe even Marillion.
Steve Harris really takes a chance by lending his name to this project, when he could have called it just “British Lion” and be done with, possibly making some people expect something-or-other that’s not a million miles away from Maiden.
What we get is an album with decent songwriting, but a bit lack of bite in the performances & production that ends up being detrimental to the overall result.
A more aggressive sound, tighter playing and more spirited vocal performances in certain songs would have benefited the CD strongly. Even some double vocals, or gang choruses here or there would have worked better.
Harris can do anything he wants and it would do nothing to dent the man's reputation. “British Lion” is just a fine, uncommon hard rock album with some good moments to enjoy."

British Lion is a good album, just not as good as I had hoped for to be honet. Highlight tracks include, Karma Killer, Lost Worlds and Us Against The World.

Rating - 7/10

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