British Lion (album)

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British Lion
Studio album by Steve Harris
Released 24 September 2012
Recorded Monkey Puzzle UK (drum & vocal tracks 2, 4, 9), Purple UK (drum & vocal tracks 1, 2 7), BL Studios UK (back tracks & vocal track 10), Barnyard Studios, Essex (back tracks) and Algarve Studio Portugal (back tracks)
Genre Hard rock[1]
Length 52:11
Label EMI
UME (United States)
Producer Steve Harris

British Lion is the debut solo album from Steve Harris, best known as the bassist and primary songwriter for the British heavy metal band Iron Maiden. The album was announced on 18 July 2012 and released on 24 September.[2]

Background[edit]

Following the initial announcement of the album's release in July 2012, Classic Rock revealed that the project originated with a band, named British Lion, which Harris had been mentoring in the early 1990s.[3] Harris confirmed this during an interview with Classic Rock the following month, explaining that he became involved after "Graham Leslie [guitar] came to me with a cassette of songs... and I thought they were really good, so I said I’d try to help his band do something. I ended up managing them and producing them and writing with them."[4] After the original band split up, he "kept in touch with Richie [Taylor, vocals] and Graham, and then Richie was working with another guitarist called David Hawkins, who's a really talented guy, and so we started writing songs together."[4] After several years of work, due to Harris being occupied with Iron Maiden, the album ultimately consists of "six songs written with Richie and David, there's one with just me and Richie, and the others are me, Richie, Graham and a couple of other guys that were around at the time."[4] In an interview published by Kerrang! in September, Harris said that he considers British Lion "more of a side-project" than a solo record.[1]

Stylistically, Harris argues that the record is "more mainstream rock than metal, very British sounding, very 70s-influenced and quite commercial… but good commercial. There's all kinds of stuff going on, with nods to The Who and UFO and some classic British rock bands, but it's not the progressive rock album some might be expecting."[4] During his appearance on That Metal Show in September 2012, Harris revealed that he tried a number of bass-playing techniques which he would not do with Iron Maiden, such as letting his strings "go dead".[5]

Harris stated that he intends to tour the release at some stage, remarking that, although "there are no shows arranged yet", "I know we’ll be playing clubs, which is great because I’ve not played clubs for years", and that he intends to release a follow up album in the future.[4] A European club tour, taking place in February and March, was eventually announced on 10 January 2013.[6][7]

A music video for the song "This Is My God" was released on 2 October 2012,[8] followed by a video for "Us Against the World" on 28 November.[9]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Source Rating
Metacritic 56/100[10]
Review scores
Source Rating
About.com 3/5 stars[11]
AllMusic 2.5/5 stars[12]
Artistdirect 5/5 stars[13]
Classic Rock 7/10[14]
Drowned in Sound 3/10[15]
Kerrang! 4/5 stars[16]
Metal Hammer 8/10[17]
PopMatters 5/10[18]
Record Collector 3/5 stars[19]
Revolver 3/5[20]

As of August 2013, British Lion holds a score of 56 at the aggregate review site Metacritic, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[10] Record Collector awarded the album 3/5 and stated that "though it's not entirely a chore to listen to, it is probably not memorable enough to appeal far outside of that circle [of Iron Maiden fans]".[19] Revolver also gave it a score of 3/5, although they praised the "cohesive" song-writing and referred to Taylor as "a compelling hard-rock singer".[20] AllMusic gave it a score of 2.5/5, deeming it "a serviceable slab of unpretentious yet utterly forgettable '80s retro-metal that adheres to every cliché in the book".[12] Although they called it "a solid ‘70s style hard rock effort", About.com criticised some songs for being "nothing but filler."[11]

Kerrang! deemed it "a brilliant album", describing it as "the sound of an incredibly talented songwriter stepping outside of what he'd normally do and indulging himself in something a bit different with a group of excellent musicians."[16] Metal Hammer were also very positive towards the release, praising the "infectious re-imaginings of the UFO and Thin Lizzy albums that inspired their creator as a kid," concluding that "This is a big hearted and ferocious triumph."[17] Although they criticised the album's lyrics, Classic Rock complimented vocalist Richard Taylor and guitarist Graham Leslie, concluding that "British Lion is an album that is both exactly what you'd expect, and far better than that."[14] Artistdirect awarded it full marks, stating that "As far as songwriters go, [Harris is] on the level with Jimmy Page and Tony Iommi, and his new album, British Lion, proves that tenfold".[13]

In contrast, Drowned in Sound were extremely negative towards the release, criticising the song-writing and Taylor's "lacklustre vocals".[15]

Track listing[edit]

No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "This Is My God"   Steve Harris, David Hawkins, Richard Taylor 4:57
2. "Lost Worlds"   Harris, Hawkins, Taylor 4:58
3. "Karma Killer"   Harris, Hawkins, Taylor 5:29
4. "Us Against the World"   Harris, Hawkins, Taylor 4:12
5. "The Chosen Ones"   Harris, Taylor 6:27
6. "A World Without Heaven"   Barry Fitzgibbon, Harris, Grahame Leslie, Gary Liederman, Ian Roberts, Taylor 7:02
7. "Judas"   Harris, Hawkins, Taylor 4:58
8. "Eyes of the Young"   Harris, Leslie, Roberts, Taylor 5:25
9. "These Are the Hands"   Harris, Hawkins, Taylor 4:28
10. "The Lesson"   Harris, Hawkins, Taylor 4:15
Total length:
52:11

Personnel[edit]

  • Steve Harris – bass
  • Richard Taylor – lead vocals
  • David Hawkins – guitar, keyboards (all tracks except 5, 6 and 8)
  • Grahame Leslie – guitar (tracks 5, 6 and 8)
  • Simon Dawson – drums (tracks 2, 4 and 9)
  • Barry Fitzgibbon – guitar (tracks 5, 6 and 8)
  • Ian Roberts – drums (tracks 5, 6 and 8)
  • Richard Cook – drums (tracks 1, 3 and 7)
Production
  • Steve Harris – producer
  • Richard Taylor – producer (all tracks except 5, 6 and 8)
  • David Hawkins – producer (all tracks except 5, 6 and 8)
  • Kevin Shirleymixing
  • Ade Emsley – mastering

Chart performance[edit]

Chart (2012) Peak
position
Austrian Albums Chart 66[21]
Belgian Albums Chart (Flanders) 180[22]
Belgian Albums Chart (Wallonia) 72[23]
Finnish Albums Chart 22[24]
French Albums Chart 85[25]
German Albums Chart 67[26]
Italian Albums Chart 39[27]
Norwegian Albums Chart 30[28]
Spanish Albums Chart 63[29]
Swedish Albums Chart 18[30]
Swiss Albums Chart 40[31]
UK Albums Chart 39[32]
UK Rock & Metal Chart 2[33]
US Billboard 200 138[34]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Garner, George (15 September 2012). "Beyond the Beast". Kerrang! (1432): 22–27. 
  2. ^ "Iron Maiden's Steve Harris Announces First Ever Solo Album British Lion". Metal Hammer. 18 July 2012. Retrieved 18 July 2012. 
  3. ^ Kielty, Martin (18 July 2012). "Maiden's Harris announces solo album". Classic Rock. Retrieved 8 September 2012. 
  4. ^ a b c d e Brannigan, Paul (27 August 2012). "Exclusive: Iron Maiden’s Steve Harris talks about his British Lion solo project". Classic Rock. Retrieved 8 September 2012. 
  5. ^ Eddie Trunk, Jim Florentine, Don Jamieson (starring) (22 September 2012). "Iron Maiden". That Metal Show. VH1 Classic.
  6. ^ Kielty, Martin (10 January 2013). "Steve Harris announces solo UK tour". Classic Rock. Retrieved 10 January 2013. 
  7. ^ "Iron Maiden's Steve Harris Taking British Lion On The Road – "It's Exciting, Going Back to the Roots, And It's Going To Be Fantastic"". Brave Words & Bloody Knuckles. 10 January 2013. Retrieved 10 January 2013. 
  8. ^ Kielty, Martin (2 October 2012). "Steve Harris reveals his God". Classic Rock. Retrieved 2 October 2012. 
  9. ^ "Iron Maiden Bassist Releases 'Us Against The World' Video". Blabbermouth.net. 28 November 2012. Retrieved 28 November 2012. 
  10. ^ a b "British Lion Reviews, Ratings, Credits, and More". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 16 August 2013. 
  11. ^ a b Bowar, Chad. "Steve Harris – British Lion Review". About.com. Retrieved 6 October 2012. 
  12. ^ a b Monger, James Christopher. Steve Harris – British Lion at AllMusic. Retrieved 6 October 2012.
  13. ^ a b Rick Florino (2 October 2012). "Steve Harris British Lion Album Review – 5 out of 5 stars". Artistdirect. Retrieved 2 April 2013. 
  14. ^ a b Hotten, Jon (1 October 2012). "Steve Harris: British Lion". Classic Rock (176): 96. Retrieved 15 September 2012. 
  15. ^ a b Drever, Ryan (18 September 2012). "Steve Harris: British Lion". Drowned in Sound. Retrieved 18 September 2012. 
  16. ^ a b Ruskell, Nick (5 September 2012). "Steve Harris: British Lion". Kerrang! (1431): 52. Retrieved 8 September 2012. 
  17. ^ a b Lawson, Dom (1 October 2012). "Steve Harris: British Lion". Metal Hammer (236). Retrieved 15 September 2012. 
  18. ^ Ezell, Brice (12 November 2012). "Steve Harris: British Lion". PopMatters. Retrieved 12 November 2012. 
  19. ^ a b Patterson, Dayal (1 October 2012). "Steve Harris – British Lion". Record Collector (406). Retrieved 24 September 2012. 
  20. ^ a b Grow, Kory (25 September 2012). "Review: Steve Harris – British Lion". Revolver. Retrieved 25 September 2012. 
  21. ^ "Steve Harris – British Lion". Ö3 Austria Top 40 (in German). Austriancharts.at. Retrieved 3 October 2012. 
  22. ^ "Charts Vlaanderen: 200 Albums 13/10/2012" (in Dutch). Ultratop. 13 October 2013. Retrieved 15 October 2012. 
  23. ^ "Charts Wallonie: 200 Albums 29/09/2012" (in French). Ultratop. 29 September 2012. Retrieved 30 September 2012. 
  24. ^ "Album Top 50- Week 29/2012". The Official Finnish Charts. Finnishcharts.com. 30 September 2012. Retrieved 30 September 2012. 
  25. ^ "Les Charts – Album Top 100, 29/09/2012". Syndicat National de l'Édition Phonographique (in French). Lescharts.com. 6 October 2012. Retrieved 6 October 2012. 
  26. ^ "Steve Harris, British Lion Höchstposition". Media Control Charts (in German). Charts.de. 2 October 2012. Retrieved 2 October 2012. 
  27. ^ "FIMI Artisti Classifica settimanale dal 24/09/2012 al 30/09/2012" (in Italian). Federation of the Italian Music Industry. 30 September 2012. Retrieved 4 October 2012. 
  28. ^ "VG Lista – Album Top 40, Week 40/2012". VG-lista. Norwegiancharts.com. Retrieved 6 October 2012. 
  29. ^ "Top 100 Albumes Semana 39: del 24.09.2012 al 30.09.2012" (in Spanish). Productores de Música de España. 30 September 2012. Archived from the original on 3 October 2012. Retrieved 3 October 2012. 
  30. ^ "Sverigetopplistan – Albums Top 60, 5 October 2012" (in Swedish). Sverigetopplistan. 5 October 2012. Retrieved 6 October 2012. 
  31. ^ "Schweizer Hitparade – Alben Top 100: 07.10.2012" (in German). Swiss Music Charts. 3 October 2012. Retrieved 3 October 2012. 
  32. ^ "Top 40 Official UK Albums Archive 6 October 2012". Official Charts Company. 30 September 2012. Retrieved 30 September 2012. 
  33. ^ "Top 40 Rock & Metal Albums Archive 6 October 2012". Official Charts Company. 30 September 2012. Retrieved 30 September 2012. 
  34. ^ "Steve Harris – Awards – Billboard Albums". AllMusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved 23 February 2013.