PRIDE OF LIONS – Lion Heart
- by J.N.
- Posted on 15-10-2020
I found the previous record by AOR/melodic hard rockers Pride of Lions to be a most satisfying listen and this 2020 opus of theirs entitled "Lion Heart" is no different although it does differ slightly from 2017’s "Fearless" with respect to a few things. For one thing, this new LP boasts a better and more powerful production, especially when it comes to the drums in that they pack some punch here whereas they lacked that earlier on. Also, the compositions have a little more depth to them compared to previous efforts – both musically and lyrically – and there is a subtle touch of melancholy and an underlying current of yearning to many of main man Jim Peterik’s exquisitely arranged and melodically gorgeous compositions this time around, which is perhaps best exemplified by the song "Unfinished Heart". Not that "Lion Heart" is moody or world-weary as such, but it does come across as more reflective and perhaps even introspective offering in places compared to what I associate with many of the outfit’s past musical endeavors. Uplifting and instantly appealing cuts such as "We Play for Free", "Carry Me Back", and the title track are excellent and so easy on the ear that it is almost ridiculous, but the real highlights to be found on the disc appear towards the end in the shape of the epic pieces that are "Flagship" and "Rock & Roll Boomtown" as well as the driven, energetic "You’re Not a Prisoner".
Toby Hitchcock’s superb vocals suit Peterik’s song material perfectly and add a strangely soothing quality to the whole affair. That Peterik has a borderline inhuman talent for writing infectiously catchy anthems with strong melodies and a huge knack for arranging songs beautifully are neither in doubt nor up for discussion, and despite a couple of predictable, and somewhat uninspired tunes appearing on the LP, more specifically "Good Thing Gone" and "Give It Away", their brand-new album is definitely worth looking into as it is an enjoyable and atmospheric listen with a sense of class and sophistication to it.