Steve Harris - 'British Lion'

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Steve Harris - 'British Lion'

A very solid offering of retro flavoured rock that has 'Britain' written right through it.

Eternal Iron Maiden bassist and songwriter Steve Harris is joined by vocalist Richard Taylor, guitarists Graham Leslie and David Hawkins, plus drummer Simon Dawson for his first official side project. With ‘British Lion’ Harris has put his retro shades on and decided we all need to get back to our, or his, roots.

Vocalist Richard Taylor has been receiving a plethora of plaudits for his vocals, with his soulful style of singing ensuring that ‘British Lion’ has an entirely different flavour than any Maiden stuff. I have to say that I think Harris made a good choice. The style is comparable to Black Country Communion (although Taylor is no Glenn Hughes), and if you like the Midlands marauders then this should be right up your street.

There are some unavoidable Maiden sensibilities in a couple of songs, with ‘Us Against The World‘ delivering an opening guitar salvo that would fit in with any Maiden album, and although this disappears, the bassline throughout is pure Harris. ‘The Chosen Ones’ has a great melody to it, oddly reminding me of an early, lost track by fellow NWOBHM-ers Def Leppard, before they went all sparkly, with a hefty slice of UFO at their most radio friendly. If this was 1981 it would be a great single, and has in the middle a perfectly balanced guitar solo. The same can be applied to the light and catchy ‘Eyes Of The Young‘, which bounces along at a great pace, a reminiscence of younger days when we all thought we were invincible.

The more I listen to this, the more I like it, and I have a suspicion that it will be the track I come back to in years to come when I’m compiling playlists. ‘A World Without Heaven’ is the longest track at over seven minutes, and it’s a credit to the band that it doesn’t outstay its welcome at all, featuring some very soulful vocals from Taylor and a great guitar break. The album ends with a bit of a whimper with ‘The Lesson’, a sombre, reflective track that is pretty good in itself but a bit of a come down after all that has gone before. In between, there’s not a bad track to be had, and I’m enjoying this more than any Maiden album since ‘Dance Of Death’, because it just seems so upbeat and free flowing, with Harris a British lion let out of his cage for a while.

‘British Lion’ is a very solid offering of retro flavoured rock that has ‘Britain’ written right through it. It’s going to get publicity because of the Harris involvement, but to be honest I’d like this regardless of who was involved. Word is that they band are going to tour some smaller venues to promote the album, and I for one will be first in line, because this is a cracker, and I ain’t lion about that (sorry…!)

Alan Holloway

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