Metal Review: Steve Harris – British Lion (2012)

Steve Harris - British LionOf course, we all know Steve Harris as one of the biggest reasons for Iron Maiden rocking and also as a master bass player. Steve Harris has joined forces with Richard Taylor, David Hawkins, Grahame Leslie and Simon Dawson to produce British Lion, which is Harris’ first solo album. For someone to write music for the same band for nearly 40 years, it is hard to fathom that this is indeed’s Harris’ first foray in solo album land.

From the outset of the album, you sense the difference in sound from Iron Maiden, but we all knew that this was going to stray a good bit away from Iron Maiden’s sound. If not, it would just  have been another Iron Maiden album. The tone is music lighter, but with splashes of heavy riffing scattered throughout. The sound is also noticably more melodic than most of what Iron Maiden has done. I was not entirely sure what to expect though. I was not sure if it was going to be more melodic, or if it would be a more progressive version or Iron Maiden. You have to remember that most of Maiden’s epic songs where written solely by Harris. I was leaning towards the more melodic approach simply because Harris is getting older, and with age, Maiden’s sound has a lighter feel to it. Not knocking anyone for that. It is just a fact.

Overall, the album comes off okay, but has plenty of weak spots, most notably the vocals. Songs like Karma Killer have a lot of potential, and some killer basslines. Other tracks like Lost Worlds just kind of flounder around with no sense of purpose. There are catchy tracks such as Chosen Ones, which also contains many Iron Maiden-style bass lines.

It seems that when the album hits a nice rhythm, it is quickly diminished by weak vocals or way-too-light elements than we expect from the song. I will venture to say though, that with someone else on vocals, British Lion would be a much stronger release as there are plenty of good riffs splashed into the songs.