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A disappointing effort from one of metal's greats
on September 27, 2012
Anyone who is as big of a Maiden fan as I am would naturally be excited upon hearing that Steve Harris is releasing a solo album. However, before listening to a single note and researching how it all came to be, it becomes immediately clear that Steve Harris has a very different definition of 'solo album' than, well, anybody else.
Steve has spoken of the already established band "British Lion" as early as 1992. Look for the interview on the Maidenfans site. It's a band he discovered and was looking to help. Now, 20 years later, the band's debut album has finally seen the light of day. Yes, Steve Harris has joined the band, and supposedly co-wrote all the songs (but as in Maiden, this could simply mean he helped with arrangements and/or perhaps added a little section to a pre-existing song, etc). I have no doubt the plan is to use Steve's name to get the album exposure. But make no mistake; this is by no means a true solo album.
All that aside, if it's good, it's good. Unfortunately, it really isn't. Much has been made about the poor vocals on this album. Really, they are indeed pretty thin, lack power, and have a certain amateurish quality. Additionally, the production of the album is pretty weak. The guitars and drums are underneath the bass (even much more so than on recent Maiden albums), and the album has a demo sounding quality to it. But most importantly, I find the songs rather dull. I can honestly say I find none of it very catchy, and it's mostly generic rock that never gets too adventurous.
I am just glad we live in an age where music can be streamed legally before deciding to purchase it. Wanting to give the CD a fair chance, I have listened to it about 5 times, and I do believe I have reached my limit. I just hope Steve doesn't waste too much time on this project, at least not to the point where Maiden is put on the back burner. I'm sure it's fun for Steve to do something away from Maiden, though, and I do respect him doing something different, even if it's something I can't get into on any level. And heck, if worse comes to worse and Maiden does go on hiatus, maybe it would mean that it allows time for Bruce Dickinson to make another solo record. If that becomes the case, then I guess I would have some reason to be thankful for British Lion.