The name Steve Harris fails to ring an immediate bell of recognition, but part of me thinks that I have heard of him in the past. In fact, I know I have, and it’s the voice of Iron Maiden’s founder. Many artists from successful groups go on to create solo careers for themselves and not all make the cut. He’s got something to prove in British Lions.
Harris played bass for Iron Maiden and was also one of the main song writers. This holds true as I listen to the first song; the heavy metal influence is prominent. The riffs on “This is My God” kick in and they are sharp and aggressive. The song sounds like an attack that persists even as it breaks for the chorus. This is incredible to me because Harris’ voice is in no way an obvious choice for the heavy metal genre. It’s soft to an extent and doesn’t command the power needed to prevent being overshadowed by the track, which is exactly what happens.
The aggression doesn’t change in the song style as “Lost Worlds” begins. I think both of these songs could have worked out better in the form of soft rock. No mistake, the tracks are great so far and each song has edge to it, but Harris’s voice just feels out of place, especially as he harmonizes with backups throughout the chorus. My point is proven near the end of the song, when the playing becomes predominantly acoustic. During this acoustic phase, his voice is much more audible and the listener can interpret a more soulful rendition of the lyrics.
I progress to “The Chosen Ones” and I am surprised to find that he has altered his vocal style a bit. Instead of straight singing, he’s spun the song in such a way that it’s somewhat of a musical chant. His voice is more prominent this time, presumably because he’s not focusing on showcasing a vocal ability.
As I wind down to the last few songs, I feel a sort of relief. I don’t find the album particularly difficult to get through, but it is music I feel that I could have put on and paid no attention to whatsoever. The tracks are all well structured and well written, but they’ve been done before. They take influence from pop and soft rock, and I can tell that there’s some Sting influence. None of the lyrics managed to really speak to me; the lyrics that could have been catchy were overpowered by the instrumentals and the ones that weren’t just didn’t manage to stick with me.
Hopefully this isn’t Harris’ final solo endeavour. The issue seems to be that it’s not adventurous enough. Harris sticks close to the Iron Maiden influence. British Lion is not my cup of tea.