STEVE HARRIS – British Lion

Steve Harris - British LionWhen both Bruce Dickinson and Adrian Smith has their own careers beside Iron Maiden, I guess old ‘Arry decided he should have one as well. But the fact is, British Lion is actually a band. Or was, at least. Steve Harris discovered them some 15 years ago and loved the band so much that he wanted to help them out, get them a record contract and maybe write some songs together. Well, as we all know, British Lion never got their contract and they never released any records. But what they did do was, apparently, write songs together. Because when Steve Harris releases his first ever solo record, it is named after said band and, of course, the whole band is Harris’ band on his record. They will also be touring clubs under the name of British Lion when Harris isn’t busy with Iron Maiden.

Of course, when you are a musician in Harris caliber and being the big star that he is, expectations are high when it comes to releasing his own disc. And they should be. Unfortunately, Harris first solo outing isn’t all that great. What he did right, though, was to release an album that doesn’t sound like Iron Maiden one bit. On here, Harris lets loose his love for 70’s hard rock that isn’t metal at all. But it’s a little surprising that Steve lets such a weak album leave the studio. I mean, the guy is usually such a good song writer, but maybe it has to do with the rest of the band. There probably are a few good reasons for them never to get signed even though they had a big name like Steve Harris backing them up. Maybe Steve just collaborated with the wrong people here. Because no matter how many time I listen to this record, the songs just doesn’t get to me one bit.

The first single “This Is My God” is an ok song, but it just doesn’t go anywhere, “Us Against The World” has some potential, but falls flat in the end and that is case with almost every song on the album. Like “The Chosen Ones”. It’s almost a “Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet” rip off, for starters, but the songs starts out very strong, but the the chorus promises a lot but never delivers. It’s an ok song, anyway. But to not sound too negative, there are some really good songs on here as well. “Karma Killer” is very good and is a bit progressive, the way it was done in the 70’s, “A World Without Heaven” is pretty good and very catchy, “Eyes Of The Young” is the biggest surprise here as it goes right into AOR territory and it is a great song. In fact, it’s the best song on the whole album. “The Lesson” is a big, pompous 70’s ballad that is also pretty good. But that’s all folks. Also, the production is messy and the performances from the band are somewhat mediocre, specially singer Richard Taylor is real weak. For a guy that has spent almost his whole career with a singer like Bruce Dickinson, it’s a mystery that Harris doesn’t hear that the voice on his own album never lifts.

In my book, this is a complete failure by large. Steve Harris must be able to do so much better than this. But then again, knowing how all the Maiden-fanatics out there work, and there are plenty of the them, Harris could probably fart his way through a record and they’d still be buying it. Back to the drawing board, Harris and next time, do it right.

Jon Wilmenius (4/10)

Tracklist:
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

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