This week promises to be an incredibly busy one for the rockers of British Lion. Following the release of their debut back in 2012, the band has been active in the live scene most places around the world. Their second album has been a little while in coming because the band does have to work around the 'day-job' of their bass player and one of the primary songwriters – one Mr. Steve Harris, of Iron Maiden fame. But the wait is finally over as “The Burning” hits everywhere this Friday, just a day before British Lion kicks off their first ever run of shows here in the US.
The new album has a somewhat heavier sound than the debut disk, and according to vocalist Richard Taylor, a lot of that has to do with the live energy of the band. As you'll see in the interview with Mr. Taylor below, the band recorded this album as close to a live performance as possible, putting the whole band in the studio to play together. And playing together is something they certainly know how to do! Over the course of the last eight years since the first album, British Lion has toured Europe, the UK, Canada, South America, Japan…it seems the only place remaining for them is right here in the US! But that changes in 2020.
Taylor and Harris – along with guitarist David Hawkins – share the majority of the writing credits, and the collaborations come together smoothly. The sound is unique to the band, but since everyone looks for common ground, I think the best way to describe British Lion is to look to the past. This band sounds like what you might expect if a group like Thin Lizzy or UFO had hit their stride in the second decade of the 21st century as opposed to the end of the 20th century. With Hawkins and Grahame Leslie on guitars, Harris on bass, and Simon Dawson behind the kit, all support Taylor's smart lyrics and melodious voice, this is a group that could easily fit on classic rock radio, but belongs squarely in the realm of modern artists. Tracks like “City of the Fallen Angels” and “Last Chance” play perfectly alongside staples of the set “This is My God” and “Bible Black,” the latter of which appears on this album, as well.
Before speaking to both Taylor and Steve Harris, I wasn't aware that this album was recorded as a “live in studio” recording, and that may explain my personal affinity for it. In case it's not clear, most albums are recorded piece by piece – guitars, then drums, then bass, etc – as opposed to putting the band in a room and just letting them play. Having them all in room together, in my non-expert opinion, lends itself to the band being able to feed off one another's energy, and that truly comes through in this album.
This is an album for rock lovers, and in my opinion, lovers of great music all around. The personal lyrics and the groove-based riffs all just add up to strike the right chords (no pun intended), and should energize anyone that's on the fence to get out and get to one of their shows in this run.
On that note, as a bonus for those who want to see British Lion in their 'natural environment,” a copy of “The Burning” is included with your ticket purchase for the live shows. You can find the show near you and order tickets by going to https://britishlionuk.com/ right now. If you're not able to hit one of the shows near you, you can head over to https://smarturl.it/BritishLionUK to preorder the album to be one of the first to have it in hand on Friday.