ARTIST: Pride Of Lions
ALBUM: Pride Of Lions
SERIAL: FRCD 170
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:
LINEUP: Jim Peterik - guitars, bass, keyboards * Toby Hitchcock - vocals
Musicians: Mike Aquino - guitars * Klem Hayes - bass * Ed Breckenfield - drums * Christian Cullen - keyboards
TRACK LISTING: 01 It's Criminal * 02 Gone * 03 Interrupted Melody * 04 Sound Of Home * 05 Prideland * 06 Unbreakable * 07 First Time Around The Sun * 08 Turn To Me * 09 Madness Of Love * 10 Love Is On The Rocks * 11 Last Safe Place * 12 Music And Me
A well overdue review of this album is warranted. Particularly because many people rate it as the album of 2003. I was keen to hear what everyone was jumping up and down about. Well, after listening to the album, I came away highly impressed, but not completely blown away. Pride Of Lions are to 2003, what Mecca
was to 2001. Both are great AOR albums but they are both definitely nothing that has made any significant improvement upon a genre that had its heyday in the eighties. More of a reiteration which is not a bad thing. I'd be lying to myself otherwise. However, what Pride Of Lions has done is unearth an exceptional vocal talent in Toby Hitchcock. For a first-up effort you can say he's a natural. Lets put it this way, line him up against a guy like Clay Aitken
and I'd know who I'd like to win! Kudos to Jim Peterik for discovering him. Jim's World Stage backing band provides the musical expertise in the back-end. The material is a cross between Survivor
, Le Roux
, and current-era Dakota
. A pervasive amalgam of all four, whereas Hitchcock's vocals touch on some of the greats of the genre: Mark Free
, John Elefante
, and Bobby Kimball
for example. Vocally, this is not just Toby's project as Peterik also co-sings on many of the tracks. The dual-vocal thing not quite working in my book as the songs don't seem to flow as well. To be honest, the dual-vocal thing never worked for me even when Gregg Rolie
was working with Steve Perry
and Kevin Chalfant
. However despite that, the Pride Of Lions material is very strong nonetheless, Peterik's lyrics in particular are as expressive and poetic as usual, as evidenced by the stuff you've heard previously with Survivor
and all his other co-writes.
Across the twelve tracks there are the obvious ones which stand out: 'It's Criminal' opens its account strongly, while the pairing of 'Gone' and 'Sound Of Home' are the pick of the bunch for me. 'Prideland' has touches of Terry Brock
's 'Return To Eden' wrapped around it, a nice subdued tune with Aquino's guitar taking on a Bruce Gaitsch
like tone. 'Unbreakable' is another strong effort, the powerful vocals reiterating the song-title to a tee! Taking a leaf out of the book previously written by Toto
, particularly the Bobby Kimball
era, is 'First Time Around The Sun'. The rhythm section shuffle is one that will bring a smile to the faces of the Porcaro brothers (RIP Jeff). 'Turn To Me' has many aspects similar to Survivor
, without the heavy-handed rhythm section of Ellis and Droubay. I quite liked the staggered approach to 'Love Is On The Rocks', this one a hark-back to Le Roux
at their best. Talking of Le Roux
, a track called 'Last Safe Place' rears its head (no not that one!), and a sublime piece of music it is too. The impassioned vocals of Hitchcock an absolute delight! Finishing off with 'Music And Me', this one also powers along on the back of Hitchcock's singing, the ending has a sonic outburst courtesy of Mike Aquino.
Overall, a great slab of music, and one that Peterik and Hitchcock can take (excuse the pun) 'pride' in. I would definitely love to see this lot 'live', as I believe Toby's voice would simply shine like a beacon. A very good album nonetheless, one of the better ones of 2003, alongside Jim Jidhed
, and Coastline
. I give it a 9 out of 10. Hope that keeps everybody happy!
Related ArticlesPride Of Lions - 2003 Pride Of LionsPride Of Lions - 2004 The Destiny StonePride Of Lions - 2007 Roaring Of DreamsPride Of Lions - 2012 Immortal
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