Album Review: Steve Harris ‘British Lion’ (Hot Press)

27 11 2012

Here’s a review of the Steve Harris record that ran in Hot Press.I fucking love Steve Harris, me!


British Lion (EMI)

Four stars

Key Track: ‘Karma Killer’



Ever since the 70s, Stephen Percy Harris has resolutely steered rock legends Iron Maiden through supreme highs and character-testing lows. Having sold 85million records with the aforementioned Irons despite little to no mainstream coverage (an achievement which, somewhat bafflingly, is still largely ignored in the Londoner’s homeland) the bassist is pretty much the most indomitable man in metal and after penning over a hundred songs with the band, he’s also one of the chief architects in the creation of one of the world’s most enduring genres too. British Lion is his first ever solo project and when its release (and indeed existence) was announced last July, it took many people by surprise.


You see ‘Arry had always stated he would never make a record outside of Maiden, so the bassist’s new venture has cocked many an eyebrow as a result. The music itself, needless to say, will also provoke a similar reaction too because British Lion is by no means a metal record and apart from that iconic bass sound of his, that’s where the association between his day job and side project ends. Instead, we see the musician re-embrace his rock roots and the likes of the Who (‘The Chosen Ones’) and Rainbow (‘A World Without Heaven’) influence and infuse the music.


British Lion is far from a walk down memory lane though and there’s a Soundgarden/Stone Temple Pilots-esque grunge-iness to ‘This Is My God’ while the sublime ‘Karma Killer’ calls to mind Queens of the Stone Age at their most grandiose (especially during the climax) and features an ace wah wah-laden riff wrapped around a swirling chorus delivered by singer Richard Taylor. The 80s-tastic arena rock fest of ‘Eyes Of The Young’ might be a little too commercial for some listeners, but personally this reviewer applauds Harris and Co. for taking chances and ripping up the rule book. In fact, I’m already looking forward to the mooted second album.