STEVE HARRIS British Lion – British Lion [Japanese Edition]
While busy touring the States in 2012 reliving some of Iron Maiden most glorious moments, STEVE HARRIS the ‘Boss’, choose to release his decade in the making – tracked whenever he could get time, on the backburner of Maiden activities – solo album, which is not entirely him flying solo, but more of a collaborative effort, titled “British Lion”.
The first thing to note is that to call this a ‘solo’ album would be very misleading. Sure, it says STEVE HARRIS big and bold on the sleeve, but no prizes for guessing why his name takes precedence.
Apparently, Steve was managing this band in the early ’90s and kinda liked them a bit too much and while the project really went no-where at the time and his solo company ‘Beast Records’ went into limbo, he kept in contact with them and decided to salvage the material which he also got involved with, playing the bass and co-writing some of the songs by issuing it under his name, as a solo album.
However, including ex members of The Outfield and Airrace, ‘British Lion’ is intended to be a ‘band’ for Harris.
“British Lion” is not being pushed as a metal project. Without being too long, the songs tend to dwell in mid-tempo territory mostly, with a classic rock / hard rock feel. The entire band is fine and British as it comes, but there’s a bit of lack of fire and bite.
Repeated spins make the album grow, but you’d really expect something more upbeat from Harris.
However, that’s the point: Harris wants to do something different from Maiden.
“This is my God” really reminded me a bit of Thunder and Zeppelin with its nice groove, while “Lost Worlds” has hints of Maiden (in fact ’80s NWoBHM), in the form of a really long expressive part.
“Karma Killer” is almost how things should have been. It’s got a nasty, groovy and instantly recognizable riff and grooves. Taylor really convinces thoroughly on this one. Good chorus.
“Us Against the World” is one of the best moments here, mixing Maiden with UFO and the Scorpions quite nicely. Taylor’s melodic ideas are very smooth and nice, and there are some very smart guitar flourishes.
“The Chosen Ones” is very Lizzy-esque, simple and feel-good. Another great song, but a little more flair, would have made it an anthem.
On “World Without Heaven” the guitars are lower in the mix ‘cos Harris’s bass take acenter role, “Judas” is darker, with a very abrupt drop out in the middle and some acoustics, “Eyes of The Young” is a more carefree, almost a ballad that rocks hard.
The real ballad is final track “The Lesson”, rich in strings that bears resemblances to Dio and maybe even Marillion.
Steve Harris really takes a chance by lending his name to this project, when he could have called it just “British Lion” and be done with, possibly making some people expect something-or-other that’s not a million miles away from Maiden.
What we get is an album with cool classic rock inspired songs, fine musicianship and good production which with a little more of bite would have been perfect.
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
Steve Harris – Bass Guitar (Iron Maiden)
Simon Dawson – Drums (ex-Airrace, ex-The Outfield)
Grahame Leslie – Guitars (ex-The Outfield)
David Hawkins – Guitars, Keyboards (ex-Inner Sanctum)
Richard Taylor – Vocals
Out Of Print