Review Summary: Hear the lion roar!
At first, the idea of Steve Harris doing a solo album feels quite pointless, seeing how he's pretty much the heart and soul of Iron Maiden
. But listening to British Lion
, it becomes quite clear that this isn't just a rehash of Iron Maiden, but instead it's something completely different. Unfortunately, this will either break or make the album for most listeners.
Going into British Lion
, one might expect it to be filled with Maiden style metal, with a progressive twist (seeing how Harris was the sole songwriter on such classics as "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner" and "The Phantom of the Opera"), but instead the album opts for more of a 70's hard rock sound, influenced by such bands as Thin Lizzy
. While this probably isn't what most people are looking for in a Steve Harris album, it works.
opens with the track "This is My God". While a good song, it isn't the best way to open the album. The first thing that strikes you is the singer. While not bad, he's definitely nowhere near as powerful as Bruce Dickinson, opting for a softer vocal style. Fortunately this kind of singing works very well with insanely melodic choruses the album provides. Speaking of which, the choruses, while great and catchy, do provide a problem with the album, in that sometimes they're the only memorable part of the song.
Despite being very different from Iron Maiden's music, there are points in British Lion
where the Maiden-connection becomes quite evident. Songs like "Us Against the World" and "Judas" could very well have been tracks on the next Iron Maiden album (whether this is a good or a bad thing as a solo album, is up for debate).
While the whole album might be a surprise to some, British Lion
does feature songs that might leave people a bit bemused. "Eyes of the Young" is a surprisingly upbeat song, sounding very much like Journey
(which isn't necessarily a bad thing), but is one of the strongest tracks the album has to offer. Another shocker for most Maiden fans, might be the soft ballad "The Lesson". Featuring only the vocals, piano, acoustic guitar and strings, "The Lesson" is another good song on the album (although I'm not sure if it's placement as the last song on the album, was the best one).
Overall, the best way to describe British Lion
is by comparing it to the self-titled Unisonic
album. Most people were expecting Helloween
style power metal, seeing how it was the reunion of Michael Kiske and Kai Hansen, but instead, it was a balls to the wall hard rock album. The same applies here; most are probably expecting British Lion
to be a classic metal album, with the prog rock influences cranked up to eleven, but instead, it's 70's style hard rock. In the end, while it may not be as memorable, or as strong, as classic Iron Maiden albums, like The Number of the Beast
and Seventh Son of a Seventh Son
(but then again what is?), British Lion
is a great album, filled with great songs and catchy hooks.
"Us Against the World"
"Eyes of the Young"
"These Are the Hands"