British Lion / The Raven Age

Steve Harris’s charges detonate the Academy

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Openers THE RAVEN AGE [6] have a pleasing touch of thrash and power metal, but they’re still somewhat disjointed. However, there’s no doubting the potential as they get an encouraging reaction.

When BRITISH LION [8] first appeared at this same venue a couple of years ago, they were tentative and unbalanced. All that is a thing of the past.

This is now a confident, fiery band, who bring to mind classic British hard rock from UFO to Thin Lizzy and Uriah Heep, yet have a freshness belonging to the modern era. They begin slowly with This Is My God, but hit their stride with the rollicking groove of The Burning. The dual guitar interlock between David Hawkins and Grahame Leslie is at times mesmerising, while Steve Harris’s bass is inevitably high up in the mix, although never intrusive.

Steve Harris finds another route to glory

Steve Harris finds another route to glory (Image credit: Kevin Nixon)

But the true star is frontman Richard Taylor. He has a voice that dictates the changing moods, from delicacy to ruthlessness, as on the melodic sneer running through The Chosen Ones and Judas, as well as handling the cover of UFO’s Let It Roll with charm and ease. New songs Spitfire and Bible Black suggest the second British Lion album will be opus so anthemic it could set off an avalanche, and Eyes Of The Young is a devastating way to end a performance that proves this band are a real force.

Malcolm Dome

Malcolm Dome had an illustrious and celebrated career which stretched back to working for Record Mirror magazine in the late 70s and Metal Fury in the early 80s before joining Kerrang! at its launch in 1981. His first book, Encyclopedia Metallica (opens in new tab), published in 1981, may have been the inspiration for the name of a certain band formed that same year. Dome is also credited with inventing the term "thrash metal" while writing about the Anthrax song Metal Thrashing Mad in 1984. With the launch of Classic Rock magazine in 1998 he became involved with that title, sister magazine Metal Hammer, and was a contributor to Prog magazine since its inception in 2009.