Single reviews: LIONHEART, UDO

LIONHEART - Thine Is The Kingdom

LIONHEART Thine Is The Kingdom Metalville Records

A reformed Lionheart (after 30 years) recorded and released a rather fine album of American influenced Melodic Rock in 2017, “Second Nature”, reviewed here.

They weren’t all original band members, but old hands, Dennis Stratton, Steve Mann and Rocky Newton provided a stable core to which they added Clive Edwards (drums) and Lee Small, a prodigious talent who’d already added his powerful, sometimes sultry vocals to recent albums by Shy and Phenomena.

This track, ‘Thine Is The Kingdom’ is a trailer for the band’s new new album, “The Reality Of Miracles”, due out 31 July.

For anyone who thinks that the Melodic Rock resurgence has passed, this track is a wake up call. From its polished, surging intro to its locked down tight, harmony chorus, it nods its head vigorously toward the traditional compositional approach taken by the best melodic rock songwriters. The atmospheric touches provided by Mann’s subtle AOR keyboard textures, and the song’s sturdy melody carry a sense of subdued drama, climaxing in a glorious chorus that packs a considerable punch.

A suitably tempting trailer.


U.D.O. AND DAS MUSSIKORPS DER BUNDESWEHR (The Concertband of The German Armed Forces) Neon Diamond AFM Records

Another teaser track from AFM Records, taken from the forthcoming “We Are One” album, due out mid July. It’s an unusual departure for Udo (Accept) Dirkschneider – a “none-more-metal” singer collaborating with a concert band. But it works, most of the time.

UDO’s ex-band mates, Peter Baltes and Stefan Kauffmann wrote the material in collaboration with the German Armed Forces Band. So we know the strength of the pedigree, but the key to the album – given all the moving parts – is in the arrangements.

At its roots, this single, ‘Neon Diamond’ is unreconstructed pop metal, but it tends to over elaboration, meaning it works best when they keep it simple. Udo duets with golden voiced studio pro, Manuela Markewitz. At first, listening to the verse and bridge, Udo’s earnest, unmodulated vocals don’t seem to mesh well with Markewitz’s earthy passion. Then they hit the chorus, and it soars, with voices, and 60 piece band and orchestra reaching escape velocity in a micro second.

It’s a very commercial sound with a great hook, and that’s no doubt why it was released just weeks before the album hit the streets, or indeed, den strassen. Try it

Reviews by Brian McGowan

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