Steve Harris – British Lion (CD)

sh_600(1)STEVE HARRIS, the bassist, driving force and backbone of Iron Maiden for the last 37 years, is releasing ‘BRITISH LION’, his first solo album on Monday.

As the only ever present member since he formed the band in 1975, Steve Harris has been with Iron Maiden through everything: from the early beginnings and tours with KISS and Judas Priest, international stardom and spearheading the NWOBHM in the 80’s, the trials and tribulations of the 90’s and the ‘re-birth’ of the band in the 21st century, which saw last album ‘The Final Frontier’ top the charts in no less than 28 countries worldwide, including the UK. ‘British Lion’ sees the release of an album that has been worked on by Harris whilst Maiden are taking a break over the course of the last few years. The lineup is completed  by  drummer Simon Dawson, guitarists Graham Leslie and David Hawkins and singer Richard Taylor.

As you would probably expect, ‘British Lion’ doesn’t sound like Iron Maiden at all – this is Harris being let loose on his own. For one, this is a hard rock album that harks back to the 70’s, with influences from Deep Purple, UFO and Thin Lizzy strewn across the record. Musically, the album is well crafted – opener ‘This Is My God’ does a very good job of banishing any thought of Eddie the Head with precision and punch and ‘Eyes of the Young’ canters along very nicely indeed, with Leslie and Hawkins bouncing off each other well and Dawson creating a strong foundation behind the kit. Even Steve has gone away from his famed ‘galloping’ bass triplets and come up with chugging riffs that drive it forward in a very good way, and this is evident on many of the songs – ‘Karma Killer’ and ‘These Are the Hands’ to name but two of them.

Sadly, the album is let down by two factors: first, the production is extremely poor – certainly not producer Kevin Shirley’s finest hour, to say the least – and second, Richard Taylor is the weak link over the whole album. Naturally Harris hasn’t picked the next Bruce Dickinson, but Taylor sadly does not stand up at all on the record. This is noted most in ‘Us Against the World’, a song that has the potential to take flight and soar through the air, but is let down by Taylor’s ability to be powerful and stamp his authority down on it. Heck, there are places on the album where he sounds like Bono from U2 trying to front a heavy metal band, and that really isn’t a good sign at all.

Now, I don’t believe in writing bad reviews: I will always do my best to be just and fair with every album that I listen to. But I will always be honest, and from that perspective I have to admit that ‘British Lion’ is the most underwhelming album I think I’ve ever heard. So often it looks like it’s ready to take off and crush everything in its path, but every time it is let down badly by poor vocals and shoddy production. Maiden fans will obviously buy this to complete their collection of everything surrounding the Irons, but I highly doubt anyone else will. 6/10

Steve Harris – bass
Richard Taylor – vocals
Graham Leslie – guitar
David Hawkins – guitar
Simon Dawson – drums

Track listing:
1) This Is My God
2) Lost Worlds
3) Karma Killer
4) Us Against the World
5) The Chosen Ones
6) A World Without Heaven
7) Judas
8) Eyes Of The Young
9) These Are The Hands
10) The Lesson


About Elliot Leaver

PlanetMosh's resident Iron Maiden fanboy and Mr. Babymetal. Also appreciates the music of Pink Floyd, Rammstein, Nightwish, Avenged Sevenfold, Slipknot and many others. Writing to continue to enjoy life away from the stresses of full-time employment.