January 15, 2020 British Lion – The Burning (Album Review)
British Lion are one of the more interesting and intriguing side projects in Hard Rock and Heavy Metal today. Arguably the most dynamic and engaging bassist of his time, Steve Harris is best known for emphatically standing on stage with his foot on the amp while pounding out ferocious bass riffs for Iron Maiden. In 2012, Harris founded British Lion, a side project musically focused on straight up Hard Rock mixing in elements of Classic Rock. While at times touching on Iron Maiden’s sound, British Lion refreshingly do not even come close to being a knock off.
In this new year, British Lion present the release of their sophomore LP, The Burning, slated to drop on Friday, January 17, 2020 thanks to their new label Explorer1 Music. At heart, the core of British Lion is made up of five entities: Richard Taylor on Vocals, David Hawkins and Grahame Leslie on Guitar, Drummer Simon Dawson, and, of course, Harris, who not only plays bass but keyboards, as well.
A long awaited release, The Burning follows up British Lion’s self-titled debut album which received rave reviews from critics and fans alike. Eight years in the making, The Burning consists of eleven new songs all engineered and mixed by Tony Newton at Barnyard Studios and produced by Harris. When asked to comment on The Burning, Taylor had this to say: “We’ve been working on The Burning for the past couple of years and everyone is really pleased with the results. We started playing some of the songs live on recent tours and got a fantastic reaction from our fans so we are really excited to be sharing this album with the world. We’re also looking forward to heading out on the road again and seeing everyone at the shows.”
Hearing these lions roar, let’s step into the cage and feel The Burning. As a first time listener of British Lion, one will immediately notice the distinct difference between British Lion and the melodic technical ecstasy of Iron Maiden. Case in point, The Burning begins with “City Of Fallen Angels,” a catchy energy and a freeing Rock sound to motivate the senses. For the title cut, “The Burning” is on the same token as the prior track honing an Iron Maiden like hook that doesn’t steal the spotlight from the rest of this invigorating melody. In a very dynamically driven moment, “Father Lucifer” features this LP’s first big time guitar solo and drum breakdown.
Mid-album, “Elysium” is as exhilarating as the title implies, “Lightening” prevails, and the simmered down texture of “Last Chance” pleads for a second try. Garnering an impressive quality, “Legend” carries an arrangement that is like awakening a new day. Next up, the single “Spit Fire” speaks to weathering the storm and rising better off. A non-existent place, “Land Of The Perfect People” leads to “Bible Black” and a combo of an explosive riff followed by a controlled and mild lyric before “Native Son” ends The Burning with serenity.
A breathe of fresh air, The Burning is nice blend of Classic Rock shaking hands with pure Hard Rock that, as stated earlier, has enough elements of Iron Maiden to please those fans desiring just a taste of Harris’s main act. On top of that, we certainly cannot forget that British Lion has a great singer in Richard Taylor, whose tranquil vocals align beautifully with the compelling guitar melodies of Hawkins and Leslie. This said, if you are looking for something a little different than the rest, get out there and check out British Lion’s The Burning. For these reasons, Cryptic Rock awards The Burning 4 out of 5 stars.
Purchase The Burning:
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