Thanks to the unerring focus of Steve Harris’ musical vision thus far, few people will be expecting his first solo album to feature dubstep or death metal. Most Maiden fans will anticipate variations on familiar themes.
Instead, British Lion showcases a hitherto unheard side to Steve’s songwriting, with surging grooves replacing gung-ho gallops and only the occasional nod to his creative alma mater. This is a ballsy modern hard rock album, with vocalist Richard Taylor’s soulful entreaties soaring above dark-hued riffing and a propulsive rhythmic undercarriage that stands in stark contrast to Maiden’s bombast.
Harris’ raw but meaty production job allows that legendary bass tone to remain loud and subtly dominant, but this is all about the songs and not showboating. Instead, the catchy likes of Karma Killer and The Chosen Ones amount to infectious re-imaginings of the UFO and Thin Lizzy albums that inspired their creator as a kid, refracted through an up-to-date sonic prism. This is a big-hearted and ferocious triumph.