British Lion - The Burning review


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Band: British Lion
Album: The Burning
Release date: January 2020

01. City Of Fallen Angels
02. The Burning
03. Father Lucifer
04. Elysium
05. Lightning
06. Last Chance
07. Legend
08. Spit Fire
09. Land Of The Perfect People
10. Bible Black
11. Native Son

Who is that on bass again?

Eight years (scary how the years pass) after their self-titled debut album, The Burning effectively reintroduces British Lion to the audience, given the blink and you miss it nature of the debut. Where British Lion sounded meek and like a tame stroll, The Burning has more determination and pep in its stride. With the band leaning more on a metallic influence than rock (though the scales don't tip massively the other way), the band impose themselves more and their second bite of the cherry is a more memorable affair.

From the opening "City Of Fallen Angels", you can hear the band have found their feet and are ready to stand their ground rather than limply retreat as the album goes on like British Lion did. This newfound confidence is matched by an improved set of songs that matches the band's newfound mojo, songs that the band can try to set front and centre on their stall rather than relying on who is in the band (*coughforeshadowingcough*).

The opening tandem of "City Of Fallen Angels" and "The Burning" helps put the debut album firmly in the rear view mirror and cleanses your palette, enabling you judge this project on its own merits rather than with the baggage of history being dragged along with you. While the band aren't able to maintain this momentum throughout this record, they do at least sound like a seaplane trying to taking off, gaining a gap between them and the water rather than listlessly floating on said water like the debut. "Lightning", "Spit Fire" and "Elysium" see the band come close to taking off but ultimately don't have the fuel to generate flight in any soaring definition of the term.

Taylor is an ok vocalist, his voice has a character to it but lacks conviction in its delivery, sounding unsure of himself rather than imposing himself behind the microphone. The same can be said Dawson's drumming; he can keep a beat but that is seemingly what he is relegated to, playing nothing of note but keeping things ticking along. The guitar duo of Leslie and Hawkins, however, are probably the most prominent of the supporting cast next to the bass player (I wonder who they could be?) and at times produce some riffs and passages that show promise, though ultimately are unfulfilled in the whole.

The album doesn't feel produced but rather shaped by Harris, as if the band are playing live and all Harris does is capture and level the music rather than doing anything intricate and heavy duty. The resulting sound does lack in power and leaves the songs somewhat limp, but it sounds clean and crisp. There is one main downside that I will get to in a minute but for the most part it is an ok sounding record.

Cards on the table time though, how many of you would have given British Lion a spin had Steve Harris not been on bass? While I'm partial to the type of music they're playing, it was his name that drew me to giving this project a listen. This in turn proves to be a blessing and a curse for the band, one that ultimately undermines the band more than it elevates them.

The subconscious expectation of having Harris' name attached to the project ultimately proves a weight too heavy for the band to bear; while the music is average to good, it is way below the standard set coming into the album, ultimately painting a more negative picture than it actually is. Although my feelings would not be swayed massively had Harris not been a part of the band, the fact is that The Burning is an average album rather than a bad album.

One of the biggest hindrances with the album is the need to put Harris up front and centre; he is given centre stage in the mix to the detriment of everyone else bar Taylor. While I understand that Harris is the marquee name and draw for the band, and something the band probably felt they needed to highlight, he puts everyone else in his shadow. Take "Legend" for example; he swallows up so much space that the guitars and drums effectively poke their head around the corner in terms of their placing in the song. It ends up making the songs feel weak, given that Harris is taking a break from his regular four-stringed assault; you end up with songs that spill out of the speaker rather than jump out of them.

Whether Harris felt the need to put space between him and his main project, but it results in some bang average material that lacks the magic that could elevate it. Tracks like "Last Chance" and "Land Of Perfect People" sound like a pub band playing on a Tuesday night; sure, it's an ok listen while sinking a pint or two but it's not going to be something you are begging to hear again or even remember anytime soon. While it may not a problem that can squarely be put at Harris' door, given that we know he has a hell of a magic touch you can't help but feel he may have been able to do something.

The Burning is ultimately an average album with one or two moments of promise but little more than that. One for Iron Maiden enthusiasts to listen to but one that casual or non-fans will doubtful find much reason to listen to.

Rating breakdown
Performance: 6
Songwriting: 5
Originality: 7
Production: 6


Written on 18.10.2020 by Just because I don't care doesn't mean I'm not listening.


Comments: 1   Visited by: 3 users
19.10.2020 - 13:14
Bad English
Tage Westerlund
how many of you would have given British Lion a spin had Steve Harris not been on bass?

First Yes, this no, its bad cursu to his name. Bad album, bad songs, bad vocalist. They could ask Doogie here. Rest is well, let down.
Life is to short for LOVE, there is many great things to do online !!!

Stormtroopers of Death - ''Speak English or Die''

I better die, because I never will learn speek english, so I choose dieing

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