Pride of Lions

1. Immortal
2 .Delusional
3. Tie Down The Wind
4. Shine On
5. Everything That Money Can’t Buy
6. Coin Of The Realm
7. Sending My Love
8. Vital Signs
9. If It Doesn’t Kill Me
10. Are You The Same Girl
11. Ask Me Yesterday

Toby Hitchcock -lead vocals
Jim Peterik - lead and harmony vocals, acoustic and electric guitar, all keyboards, bass (on 10), percussion.

Pride of Lions (2003)
The Destiny Stone (2004)
The Roaring of Dreams (2007)

Kelly Keagy: drums on 1, 2, 5, 8, 9, 10
Ed Breckenfeld: drums on 3, 4, 6, 7, 11
Bobby Lizik: bass on 1, 2, 5, 6, 8, 9
Klem Hayes: bass on 3, 4, 7, 11
Mike Aquino: add. lead guitar on 3, 5


Released 21/9-2012
Reviewed 28/8-2012


You know what? of course you don’t, but this album actually got me to find the debut album of Pride of Lions and play it for the first time in several years. This is not really something I do when reviewing album but I had to see if I was correct. For me that album, Pride of Lions from 2003 is one of the best AOR albums ever and the songs still sits in my mind and I can sing along despite the fact that I haven’t heard the album in many years and probably have reviewed and listened to many hundreds of albums since last time I heard it as I haven’t heard it since we revived Hallowed for the web. Since that album Peterik and Hitchcock has released two more albums and a live one of which all have been inferior to the debut (they have been good though), and now it is time for their fourth album. It has been five years since last time we saw anything from the Lions but of course Toby had his solo debut out last year and proved that his voice is as great as ever. One question I have though when seeing this debut is: what is it with Pride of Lions and album covers? this looks really dull.

Musically it is what you can expect if you have heard the band before, it is the same melodic rock called AOR. It is the same catchy guitar melodies albeit maybe slightly more aggressive compared to the debut, the production is as usual top notch and the sound is excellent which it has always been for this band, to be honest you cannot really hear much of a difference in sound between the debut and this album, or any of the others for that matter. Hitchcocks high pitched voice is recognisable and Peterik’s vocal additions are about the same as before as well. The framework is the same and only some song structures and titles has really changed if we look at it, they thread on the same path as before we could say. Just a little number for you as well, the album has eleven tracks and it plays for fifty two minutes, There are some fast songs, some ballads and some midtempo, just like it has always been.

To be honest not much is new, but then again with a fantastic band like this, does it really have to be? Well, no but it wouldn’t hurt to evolve a little bit. Sure Toby sings somewhat better now I can hear in a comparison when playing the debut now that I write this, but the album is nowhere near as magical as the debut and it does not have the same kind of memorable songs with details that nail themselves into your mind and stays there forever, even when you haven’t played the album for years you still recall how It’s Criminal, Gone, Interrupted Melody or Prideland sounds, just to name a few. This album does not really have those kinds of songs even though opening smoking hot rocker Immortal promises a lot with energy and vocals that makes you shiver from the emotion they provide. But then comes Delusional which is very good but it is only very good and the same goes for track three Tie Down the Wind and four Shine On. I think the fifth track Everything That Money Can’t Buy is one of those memorable magical tracks but it is the only one on this album that really makes me stop in my stride and think: “hey, this is amazing” then we have one more song that makes a bit of a bigger impression in If it Doesn’t Kill Me but then the rest feels just very good.

In the end I was correct, the debut is still a whole lot better than the new offering. The quality is more or less the same but there are just not the amount of memorable songs or hooks on Immortal as it is on Pride of Lions which still remains the best album Peterik and Hitchcock had done together. Now I am not saying that this album is bad in any stretch of the imagination but it is not as great as the debut, that still makes it for me the best AOR album that I have heard this year, not by a large margin as there as been many good albums in the genre this year. But it is like this: if you are only going to buy one AOR album this year, I would say that this is a good bet for being that album.



Label: Frontiers Records
Three similar bands: Survivor/Toby Hitchcock/Xorigin
Rating: HHHHHHH (5/7)
Reviewer: Daniel Källmalm

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