With a decidedly heavy rock-vibe this roaring debut paints with a full palette of sounds; brooding, melancholic, righteously indignant and exuberantly heavy. With Kevin Shirley at the mixing helm – whose credits include Iron Maiden as well as Led Zeppelin, Journey and Rush among many others – this is an album to sink your teeth into.
From the growling riffage of opening salvo This Is My God to the heavy forlorn balladry of follow-up Lost Worlds which showcases Richard Taylor’s soaring vocals, it’s clear that ‘British Lion’ is an altogether different beast from Maiden.
Karma Killer, with its dirge-like muscularity, and Us Against The World, with its massive chorus, demonstrates just how far ‘British Lion’ has flexed Steve Harris’ considerable musical muscle. Dovetailed with guitarist David Hawkins’ positively gargantuan lyrical guitar melodies, it’s a mere hors d’oeuvre ahead of the epic, riffing-feast of The Chosen Ones, with its swaggering bravado.
A World Without Heaven, at a breathtaking seven minutes and infused with progressive elements without ever teetering into self-indulgence illustrates perfectly these songsmiths’ colossal abilities to create a mood and stay there. Supercharged by Steve Harris’ inimitable style, there’s an un-cynical vibe here that’s as refreshing as it is out of place in today’s all-too-categorised music industry.
And as far as the name ‘British Lion’; “I’ve always been proud to be British,” explains Steve, “I don’t see any reason why I shouldn’t be. It’s a massive part of being me. It’s not like I’m flag-waving or trying to preach, this is not a political statement at all. It’s like supporting your football team, where you come from. I just think it lends itself to some really strong imagery too, and to me it fits in with the sound.”
With Iron Maiden, Steve Harris has become one of the most recognised and successful ambassadors for British music on the world stage. Having released 15 studio albums, sold over 85 million records worldwide and played more than two thousand gigs in 58 countries in the band’s thirty-five year career, his appeal is truly global.
And now with ‘British Lion’, Steve steps out from Iron Maiden’s illustrious shadow to present a different side of his musical visions.
The tracklisting for ‘British Lion’ is as follows:
1.This Is My God
4.Us Against The World
5.The Chosen Ones
6.A World Without Heaven
8.Eyes Of The Young
9.These Are The Hands