Some years ago legendary IRON MAIDEN bassist Steve Harris wound up managing and producing a side project with some other blokes and they released an album called STEVE HARRIS BRITISH LION. He wound up joining the band due to a change in circumstances, but he was a part of every aspect. So here we are in 2019 and BRITISH LION is back with second record The Burning (out now, Explorer1 Music). The cool thing about this group is that their sound is very much rooted in a 70’s rock and roll style. It’s not about how heavy or fast they can play, it’s just about good rock songs, of which there are plenty.
Singer Richard Taylor does an excellent job on the tunes, and the twin axe attack of David Hawkins and Grahame Leslie help steer the ship, while Harris handles the bass and keyboards. He never overplays, just gives each track what it needs. And drummer Simon Dawson follows the tried and true motto of K.I.S.S. (Keep it Simple, Stupid!) by doing what is necessary without getting all extra. Opener “City of Fallen Angels” instantly reminded me of something you’d hear on a THIN LIZZY album, so that’s a compliment. Title track “The Burning” is easily one of the best on the record, from the guitar interplay to the infectious hook. Taylor sings this one very well, showcasing some serious vocal chops.
There’s a lot going on during “Father Lucifer,” while “Lightning” was wisely picked to be an early single. They definitely touched me with this one. “Legend” has a great tempo, killer groove, plus an insane chorus; it’s so catchy that there is no way I couldn’t love it. By the way, THIS is Taylor’s best singing on this album, and that is not up for debate. Hence, it is also my favorite song on the whole thing. “Spitfire” finds itself squarely in early IRON MAIDEN territory, which is by no means a bad thing. I really enjoyed the way “Land of the Perfect People” came together from beginning to end, making it another winner in my eyes.
Meanwhile “Bible Black” is all over the place, and I mean that in a good way. Harris’ bass is pretty prevalent here, and the guitarists really do a great job. Plus drummer Dawson runs the point, while Taylor once again sings his ass off. Closer “Native Son” ends things on a mellower note, but lyrically and musically it is still powerful. At the end of the day BRITISH LION’S sophomore album is very well done. And I truly believe that anyone who listens to it will be an instant convert. The Burning is available everywhere at this very minute, and quite frankly, you’d have to be a complete stupo to not get your copy posthaste.
STANDOUT TRACKS: “Lightning”, “Legend”, “The Burning”, “Land of the Perfect People”, “Spitfire”