“This is a big hearted and ferocious triumph” – declared Dom Lawson of Metal Hammer, while Nick Ruskell of Kerrang! go even further and proclaim: “British Lion is a brilliant album”. Well, it have its moments, but far not so brilliant as the media (and EMI) try to sell it to us. I can understand and generally I appreciate the British proud and the unconditional support for their own artists, and if not Steve Harris, the former and leader of one of the most famous and influential Heavy Metal bands of all time – talking about Iron Maiden, obviously – then don’t know who else might be called a “Rock icon”, but still, these 10 tracks are not so thundering and lightning Metal masterpieces as they are advertised. Actually singer Richard Taylor is another pale and weak copy of Ian Gillan mixed up with Bruce Dickinson, fortunately 100 better then poor Blaze Bayley, but not even close to the almighty Dickinson. This album with Dickinson, well, then, maybe, this could come closer to the praises. But Richard Taylor’s voice is smooth, but completely powerless.
On the other hand David Hawkins and Grahame Leslie delivered some excellent guitar parts while Steve Harris, surprisingly, managed to play his bass more colorful as he regularly does it in Maiden. Worth to highlight it, there are a couple of actually brilliant guitar solos on the album.
And strangely, the album here and there reminds me more of some Dickinson’s solo work from the 90’s, rather then sounding as a 2012 Metal album. And for God’s sake, the lyrics, who was interested in another song about Judas??!
Regarding the title of the album, Steve explains: “I’ve always been proud to be British, and I don’t see any reason why I shouldn’t be. It’s a massive part of being me. It’s not like I’m flag-waving or trying to preach, this is not a political statement at all. It’s like supporting your football team, where you come from. I just think it lends itself to some really strong imagery too, and to me it fits in with the sound.”
Giving a like on their Facebook page can listen the whole album, although the album was announced on 18 July 2012 with a release date set for 24 September.
“This Is My God” could find its place easily on Dickinson’s “Skunkworks”, have that “Alternative Metal” taste of the 90’s. Only Richard Taylor’s voice is too weak while everything else it’s too familiar, already chewed. “Lost Worlds” is only getting worst, and the production sound kind of sterile, balanced, but not biting, not breathing.
My favorite is “Karma Killer”. Not because it’s revolutionary, but because at least it’s have a catchy vibe, a healthy groove and a powerful chorus.
“The Chosen Ones” sounds as a lost and found Thin Lizzy song, almost feel the breath of Phil Lynott through the verses and that classy sing-a-long chorus. “A World Without Heaven” sound so familiar that it almost hurts. The verse brings back the memories of some cheesy 80’s Hair Metal song.
“Judas” is an almost “Alternative Metal” take, Dickinson had this kind of songs in the “Balls to Picasso”/”Skunkworks” era. “Eyes Of The Young” it’s a bloody Pop song packed with guitars and having again a little Thin Lizzy flavor with some John Waite/Bad English aftertaste; it would be fun in the 80’s, but then again, this is 2012 and this is just cheesy now. “These Are The Hands” is totally forgettable, it’s just tasteless and traceless, eventually reminds me of Rainbow in the Graham Bonnet era. The closing “The Lesson” with its orchestral arrangement and verses like “as I walk this lonely road” is a total disaster, serves no other purpose then leave you with a strange, bitter taste in your mouth while echoing empty in your ears.
If Mr. Harris have the nostalgia of clubbing for a while and want to have fun, it’s absolutely OK. But if EMI hoping for serious sells, they definitively miscalculate it.
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
08. Eyes Of The Young
09. These Are The Hands
10. The Lesson
Heavy British music has moved on… check Slunq for instance.