Jari Tiura
King of Lions

01. Away From All The Magic And Wonder
02. London
03. Friends And Foes
04. Human
05. Lion Of Judah
06. Dreamchaser
07. Silent Moon
08. Take On The World
09. Blue Sky Lightning

Jari Tiura - vocals
Sami Ala-lahti - rhythm guitar, bg vocals
Yrjö Ella - lead guitars
Jaan Wessman - bass, drums
Jussi Kulomaa, Jani Kemppinen and Mikko Kangasjärvi - keys



Produced by Sami Ala-lahti
Mixed by Antto Tuomainen
Mastered by Esa Orjatsalo
Executive producer: Jari Tiura

Released 2018-03-23
Reviewed 2018-04-07

aor heaven

Jari Tiura is the King of Lions, meaning that he is either the Simba of Finland or the head coach of the Finnish national ice hockey team. Or he is just a musician and this writer’s mind is just wandering slightly, King of Lions happens to be the debut solo album of Finnish singer Jari Tiura. He is probably best known for a stint with Michael Schenker Group but has also appeared with several other bands and is still active in a few. The goal for this particular album was to create something that Tiura hadn’t done before, that is always noble goal as I think one should always strive to create new things, and the result is an AOR album.

A rather typical AOR album it is as well, with catchy choruses, focused on melodies, good clean sound and strong vocals. I think Tiura’s Finnish accent is a nice addition of personality to an otherwise fairly sterile creation with typical selection of songs and no real surprises. It is an album that sounds more or less as you can expect after hearing the first tones, but that also means that it presses the right buttons and the usual suspects seems to really like what they hear (as they do with almost everything they hear). My most distinct impressions after playing through this album a few times is the good vocals by Tiura and the sensibly short playing time.

Rather amusing album with good selection of songs and all of that, a solid AOR album that should go down well with those who like the genre. I do however think that several of the songs feel a bit lazy and should have been a bit more energetic and have a bit higher tempo. The opening track is an excellent example of this, in my mind when I replay it without really listening to the song it sounds a bit faster and really excellent but when I play it on the album it feels a bit slow and tired and there are more songs just like that. It makes the whole album feel a bit sterile and tired, kind of without personality – like so many other AOR albums out there. There are some songs that are more uptempo though, like Friend or Foe and the ending track but Tiura’s vocals is probably what prevents this album from feeling like a pointless dull story.

I may sound a bit harsh on this good debut album, but the reality is that this genre is really fierce and you need to stand out to be noticed and I am not sure that Tiura does that. The ballad Lion of Judah is a standout track though and my favourite of the album, an album that I would describe as a rather strong debut but ultimately also a rather forgettable album. It has a cool-looking cover though.






Label: AOR Heaven
Three similar bands: MSG/Stargazery/Snakegod
Rating: HHHHHHH (4/7)
Reviewer: Daniel Källmalm

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