Yet that’s only part of the story here. Elsewhere, British Lion exhibit a real and welcome appreciation of experimentation and quietude. Kudos in this respect should go to guitarists David Hawkins and Grahame Leslie. Father Lucifer captures them Alter-Bridging the gap between classic rock, metal and alt-rock, while Land Of The Perfect People sports a delicate intro that’s almost evocative of Fleetwood Mac in their prime.
These signs of growth are obvious throughout. The band’s debut was rather a baptism of fire for singer Richard Taylor, who had to weather some predictable yet redundant criticisms comparing him to Bruce Dickinson from Steve’s “other” band. He sings like he has a point to prove throughout The Burning. A telling sign of the frontman’s burgeoning confidence comes on Elysium – a song that boasts a killer chorus but an even better final passage, as he belts out a series of absolutely massive sustained notes over a swelling choral section. Equally impressive is his ability to extract emotion from a song. Whether he’s communing with lost souls on Lightning or offering a consolatory ear on closer Native Son, he often brings a moving sense of fragility to the fore. Clearly, this particular lion has more at its disposal than claws alone.
There’s one moment on The Burning, however, where British Lion truly excel. Arriving seven tracks in, it’s immediately apparent that Legend is their most spectacular song to date. Compare it to something like, say, City Of Fallen Angels – a song which adheres closely to their debut’s blueprint – and the difference is startling. Cinematic in scope and epic in execution, it’s the kind of soaring heavy metal anthem that practically demands an accompanying music video of death-defying feats and natural wonders. Not only does it sound utterly triumphant, it’s also the sound of well-earned vindication. Steve Harris has believed in this band for a long, long time. You suspect a lot more people will be joining him this time around.