CD Reviews

Pride Of Lions - 'Immortal' Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     August 21, 2012    
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A resounding master class of an album.

Whilst the good ship Survivor continues to plough forward (in whatever guise), I can’t help but think there’s something missing. No disrespect meant to any of the guys involved with the current band, but without the songwriting talents of a certain Jim Peterik they seem to be scrambling to chase former glories with little to no realistic chance of ever truly getting close. The optimist in me would never rule out a Peterik/Survivor reunion (after all, one should never say never), but with the chances of that happening any time soon being fairly remote, we should instead content ourselves with the resurrection of Pride Of Lions.

Debuting nearly a decade ago with the perky effervescence of ‘Pride Of Lions’, it not only reinforced the status of Peterik as a songwriter extraordinaire, it also introduced the world to the previously unknown vocal talents of one Toby Hitchcock, his warmly evocative voice the perfect muse to Peterik’s dramatically charged melodies. Since that eponymous debut the pair have issued two further studio albums and a live set, each in turn proving the debut was no fluke and that if anything, time and familiarity made their working relationship even stronger.

It’s been more than five years since their last album together (2007’s sublime ‘The Roaring Of Dreams’) – five years in which they both went their separate ways in search of fresh opportunities – but with the impending release of ‘Immortal’, Pride Of Lions are set to bounce back with all the vibrancy and vigour you’d expect, nay demand.

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Much like Jim Steinman, Peterik has a uniquely identifiable songwriting signature which combines melody, memorability and melodrama in broadly equal proportions and as this new release slowly begins to seep into the innermost recesses of my brain, it’s abundantly clear that none of that passion has been lost. Yes there are still obvious parallels to classic Survivor (more overtly the Jimi Jamison era, although fond memories of ‘Premonition’ were evoked several times), but that just proves my earlier point about what’s missing from the current set up of Peterik’s former band.

Steeped in glorious hooks, drenched with passion and emotion and acting as a timely reminder of those far off halcyon days when the song was truly king, tracks such as the smouldering power ballad ‘Sending My Love’, soaring ‘Vital Signs’ (which after a gestation period of more than 25 years, finally got finished!) or fervent opener ‘Immortal’ are everything a Pride Of Lions fan could’ve asked for and then some. The sound is absolutely huge (as befits songs of this magnitude), the handpicked guest list (Thom Griffin, Kelly Keagy, Mike Aquino, etc.) makes a tasty dish even more mouth-watering, and as for Toby’s vocals ... well, put it this way, 30 years ago he would’ve been talked of in the same breath as Gramm and Perry!

A resounding master class of an album ... now who was it that said AOR was dead?!

Dave Cockett

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