British Lion is a release point for Iron Maiden’s Steve Harris, who first tried managing the band in the 90s when looking for more than just his day job and over time using it as an outlet for his love of 70s rock.
It has to be stressed that this is not in any way shape or form Iron Maiden lite, and should not be compared to Harris’ day job at all. Sure, he has writing input and this is recorded at his Barnyard Studios home studio but that is where the comparisons end, with the exception of the odd familiar bass guitar gallop.
The album opens strongly with fairly standard rocker City of Burning Angels and the catchy title track, though it really hits its groove on Father Lucifer where the band finds a hard rock sound all its own, one that allows vocalist Richard Taylor – arguably the weakest link at times – to sit into a groove that sounds less strenuous on his vocals. It also displays just how good the guitarists are with a bit of duelling solo action as well.
More of this sort of well oiled hard rock is on display as the album rumbles on. Lightning and Spitfire help keep the rock alive while Elysium and Native Son see Harris showing more of his love for 70s prog rock than has crept into Iron Maiden since the early 2000s. Bible Black is as close as they get to Maiden. It feels like it only needs Bruce’s vocals and it would fit on any album released since Dance Of Death.
The Burning is a lot easier to swallow than the first release, mainly due to the cleaner, live feel of the production. The bass is still thundering along and holding it all together but the guitars, and even more so the vocals, are cleaner and given a harder edge. Any lover of 70s hard rock will appreciate every riff and soaring vocal melody here.
- City of Fallen Angels
- The Burning
- Father Lucifer
- Last Chance
- Spit Fire
- Land of the Perfect People
- Bible Black
- Native Son