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Articles Home » 2012 Articles » Harris, Steve - 2012 British Lion
 
Harris, Steve - 2012 British Lion



ARTIST: Harris, Steve
ALBUM: British Lion
LABEL: EMI
SERIAL: 9733132
YEAR: 2012

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:

LINEUP: Richard Taylor - vocals * Graham Leslie - guitar * David Hawkins - guitar, keyboards * Steve Harris - bass * Simon Dawson, Richard Cook - drums

TRACK LISTING: 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 * 07 Judas * 08 Eyes Of The Young * 09 These Are The Hands * 10 The Lesson

RATING:

WEBLINKS: www.steveharrisbritishlion.com


Background
When news of this albums release filtered out several months ago I have to admit I was more than curious to hear the results. With reports of a more basic hard rock approach taken by Harris' long shelved solo project, it seemed more promising than the lure of another 79:59 minute Iron Maiden prog-metal bollocks extravaganza. In fact this album dates back twenty years, with Harris having taken a 'mentoring' role with British Lion, who supposedly he thought so great he took it upon himself to collaborate with them. Upon the bands demise the music was left somewhere in the vaults, but not enough that our own George hadn't heard them! Two decades later and Harris suddenly decided these songs were such gems that the general public needed to hear them. I have a feeling there will be more than a few punters who will have expected something different than this. Then again Harris was working on 'Fear Of The Dark' at the time..


The Songs
I admit to being in that percentage who initially thought this might be a blood and thunder metal album with no ponderous ten minute epics. It doesn't contain the latter thankfully, but neither does it contain the former. What these songs sounded like in demo format I have no clue, but the result is a middle of the road rock album which honestly couldn't be labelled metal, despite the 'British Lion' tag. In reality it's a melodic rock affair with shades of heaviness, but just not enough to really make the grade. The grunge riffs of opener 'This Is My God' aren't encouraging, but the chorus is less overbearing, with Taylor's vocals similar to Ian Gillan's on this and the whole album. The lack of power on 'Lost Worlds' lets the track down and to my ears this sounds like a tenth rate modern Uriah Heep, especially with the acoustic nature of the song. The influence of Harris' bass is obvious on 'Karma Killer' but this track moves too slowly and with zero dynamics in the musicianship. There's a flurry of galloping riffs on 'Us Against The World' but it slips into mid-paced mire in the verses and when it intensifies in the chorus, Taylor's vocals are decidedly lacking bite. 'The Chosen Ones' is longer at six minutes and slightly more upbeat in tone and definitely more melodic than the dourness of the previous songs, complete with Boston type guitar harmonics. I still can't shake the notion this is a second-rate Gillan album though. Even longer is 'A World Without Heaven', opening in a haze of melodic riffs that bring 1986-88 Maiden to mind. Some of the guitar work is superior here, but again that's mainly due to the Maiden similarities. 'Judas' is a relative bore, coming off as an outcast from Heep's 'Sonic Origami', but this is made up for by the excellent AOR of 'Eyes Of The Young'. This is archetypal English melodic rock with hints of Heartland and other early 90's rockers of that ilk. There's still room for more sludgy riffs, 'These Are The Hands' not really excelling in any area in all fairness. 'The Legend' is a somber ending, a ballad with orchestral elements and with some pretentiousness. This is a bit too predictable and rote.


In Summary
This is one that Maiden enthusiasts will probably be foaming at the mouth to hear, spurred on by their guru and father figure Steve Harris himself. After all everything he does is perfect in the bizarre alternate reality Maiden fans live in. The reality is there is nothing essential to be heard here. Despite a few promising tracks, all of which fall into the AOR realms, the rest is eminently forgettable and I guess there's a reason they were kept locked up for so long, even if Steve thinks they are milestones in rock history. For an album he and Kevin Shirley both worked on I was expecting more, but given Maiden's work lately it really doesn't come as a shock.


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Comments
#1 | gdazegod on September 26 2012 12:37:17
This is a pretty disappointing effort to be honest. I was hoping for so much more. The quality of their early 90's demo material which I have - is much better than most of the stuff on this. For me the best song is 'Eyes Of The Young' which is the only demo that has been resurrected here. Why they couldn't have included songs such as 'Hey Rebel' and 'Thank My Lucky Stars' is beyond me. Much promise gone down the tubes.
#2 | rkbluez on September 26 2012 13:45:53
Played some samples and it sounded bland to me...I thought it would be some nice punchy hard rockin' stuff...you would think if Steve Harris put his name on it it would be a lot better...I'll be skipping this release.
#3 | george_the_jack on October 16 2013 01:19:30
The songs here are not bad imo. The problem is in the mixing which is a big let down indeed. Seriously what Harris was thinking with this one? The vocals sound weak and I'm pretty sure that it's not entirely the singer's fault. If there was a sharper-edgier porduction ( something like the lion in the cover...)that would kick a little more leveling up the songs, the result would have been a lot better. Still I quite like the material with ''A World Without Heaven'' and ''Eyes of the young'' being the better cuts.
 
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