AOR Heaven [25.08.17]
Blimey, it has been a few years since Lionheart last released an album – over thirty to be precise! Their sole studio album to date was 1984′s ‘Hot Tonight’, rightly revered among many rock fans. They split-up in 1986 with Dennis Stratton going on to join Praying Mantis. Fast forward to 2016 and they reformed for the Rockingham festival, which led to the band recording this new album and they have already played live dates in Japan, with a UK tour with Airrace due later this year.
Joining original members, guitarists Dennis Stratton (ex-Iron Maiden/Praying Mantis) and Steve Mann (ex-MSG/Sweet), bassist Rocky Newton (ex-MSG) are drummer Clive Edwards (ex-Wild Horses/UFO) and vocalist Lee Small (Phenomena/Shy).
Lee Small is an inspired choice as his singing style suits the melodic hard rock on this album perfectly. And what an album! Chock full of catchy melodic hard rock with some real monster songs like ‘Give Me The Light’ and ‘Angels With Dirty Faces’ (a peon to the James Cagney film of the same name I think?). Both have harmony vocals around the choruses that bring to mind the mighty Sweet.
’30 Years’ fair gallops along like a young thoroughbred, with the guitars firing on all six on this one. To cool things down a little we have the superb power ballad ‘Every Boy In Town’. The keys add to the big production feel to this one, highlighting again what a great match for the music Lee Small is with his melodious singing.
A surprise is the cover of Chris de Burgh’s ‘Don’t Pay The Ferryman’ and what a corker of a cover it is! They rock this one up, although to be fair the original is pretty damn fine. ‘Heartbeat Radio’ is another fine slice of hard rock and features again fast ‘n’ furious guitar solos from Dennis Stratton and Steve Mann.
The band’s Japanese fans have been lucky enough to have this album already and like them, you will be in for a treat. Not a duff tune to be heard, as it is high quality hard rock from start to finish. ****1/2
Review by Jason Ritchie
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