The corpse of Rise To Remain was still warm when its surviving members announced their new venture, As Lions. Vocalist Austin Dickinson has long been the focus of derision from trolls because his dad happens to be a certain frontman in Iron Maiden, but it only makes his band’s debut an even bolder step because, at its heart, Selfish Age is an unabashed pop-rock record, albeit one towards the heavier end of the spectrum.
By introducing first single The Fall as “an anthem you can sing and move to”, the band immediately dispelled any expectations that their new material would follow the same template as Rise To Remain’s BFMV-aping metalcore. Opening tracks Aftermath and The Suffering gleam with guitar-led euphoria, written to fill huge spaces with anthemic choruses and surging melodies, while Austin’s vocals are unrecognisable from his former outfit, eschewing guttural roars for skyscraping vocals. Selfish Age does frustrate in its more generic moments, such as the syrupy, mid-tempo World On Fire, and there are moments you wish As Lions had capitalised sonically on the lyrical disgust that ripples through Deathless. But there’s no denying the strength of these relentless earworms that will squat in your cranium for weeks on end.