Mr Steve Harris, bass player with Iron Maiden is a busy fella. After finishing a lengthy tour he has released an album with his side project British Lion, and booked a mini UK tour followed by loads of dates in the US.
British Lion has been a project he’s been involved with since the 90’s but, it only came to fruition in their debut self-titled album in 2012. Since this time he’s been somewhat preoccupied with being in the best group in the world (in my opinion, but still correct).
So what do you get from a British Lion album? Not Iron Maiden that’s what. The album jumps straight into City of Fallen Angels with lyrics hitting you from the very first bar. This is totally different from Bruce, more conversational singing while holding the rhythm of the track. I’ve heard British Lion’s style reminiscent of classic 70’s rock and with this opening number there can be no doubt.
While I didn’t really notice Steve’s distinctive style in their first song, that is put right immediately in the second and title track The Burning. Arry’s fingers do the walking all over this. The guitar harmony is pure class as well. I will be adding this to my classic rock playlist!
Father Lucifer reminds me of Ronny James Dio in style, although with no insult intended, the vocals are not up to the same mark (who’s are).
I’m not sure if this is a damning indictment of modern Metal but on Elysium Richard’s vocals sound almost too nice. Maybe I’ve just become desensitised to screaming!
One of the magic tricks Steve seems to have, is to record songs that work as good, if not better, live. Lightning is such a beast. In my minds eye I can see Mr Harris standing next to Richard, as the song starts, hammering on his bass strings while soundlessly wording the lyrics.
While I don’t want to be negative in my review Last Chance for me misses the mark. The intro is great, slow precise finger picking but as the music ramps up it losses it way. Even a crowd-pleasing sing along section can’t save it and yet I bet that when it’s played live we’ll raise our arms and join in.
Legend is the first time Richard’s true vocal range is explored and he doesn’t come up short. Once again I’m sure the crowd at any gig will be woo-oow’ing along.
I’ve tried throughout my review not to mention Maiden but, with Spit Fire, I can’t hold myself back any longer, the opening sounds like the modern prog rock offerings from the lads. While once it gets going it is classic Maiden. Thundering bass, galloping rhythm and fast soloing. The vocals however make this track its own beast (Number of, see what I did there).
While I’m on the subject of Iron Maiden I’m sure if the next track Land of the Perfect People had been written for them it would have been a 10 minute+ affair. British Lion keep this down to a more palatable 4.52. Have I just criticised the best band in the world!
Not one of the numbers on the album have been slow but Bible Black starts at a frantic pace. As the lyrics start it does settle down to a more manageable metronomic beat.
Last track Native Son is the slowest song on the album and left me feeling melancholy but satisfied with an enjoyable listening experience.
- City Of Fallen Angels
- The Burning
- Father Lucifer
- Last Chance
- Spit Fire
- Land Of The Perfect People
- Bible Black
- Native Son