Review: Lionheart – Second Nature – AOR Heaven – Release: Out now.
Lionheart was formed in late 1980 by Dennis Stratton (ex-Iron Maiden), Jess Cox (ex-Tygers Of Pan Tang), Rocky Newton (ex-Wildfire) and Frank Noon (ex-Def Leppard). The drummer’s stool was variously occupied by Les Binks (ex-Judas Priest), Nicko McBrain (ex-Trust and now Iron Maiden) and Clive Edwards (ex-Wild Horses). Between 1981 and 1984 the band played regular live shows and in 1984 they scored a record deal with CBS Records. They recruited Chad Brown on vocals and went to Los Angeles to record “Hot Tonight”. The album got great reviews but the lack of promotion and some canceled tours made them decide to pull the plug.
In 2016 Dave Herron, promoter of the Rockingham Festival in Notthingham asked Lionheart to reunite for one performance. Everybody agreed apart from Chad and they asked Lee Small to fill in. The reunion created quite a stir, not least within the band itself, and it was decided to carry on with the recording of a new album. In the mean time the band did a mini tour in Japan and the new album is here!
Lee Small – lead vocals
Dennis Stratton – lead guitar/backing vocals
Steve Mann – lead guitar/backing vocals
Rocky Newton – bass guitar/backing vocals
Clive Edwards – drums
After the short intro ‘Prelude’ the album kicks in gear with ‘Give Me The Light’. This track is pure earcandy! Lee Small sounds superb, the backing vocals from Dennis, Steve and Rocky sound sweet as honey. The keys from Steve add another dimension and the melodic riffs keep it crispy. This is the stuff dreams are made of, guys! The cover of Chris De Burgh’s ‘Don’t Pay The Ferryman’ is another shot in the bulls eye. I’m a sucker for harmonies and these force me to sing along. ’30 Years’ is an uptempo track who sounds a nod heavier and shows that the guys can kick butt as well.
The next pleasant surprise is the instrumental ‘On Our Way’, which was written by Steve Mann. Very sensitive melodic guitars can be heard here. The title track is Lee’s finest hour and he silences all doubters with his amazing vocal talent here.’Prisoner’ combines piano, addictive riffs and the powerful voice from Lee into a catchy rocker.
‘Heartbeat Radio’ is one of my favorite tracks here. Due to the fact that the keys give the song a fresh sound. ‘Lionheart’ is the fastest track on the album and rocks big time. I’ve got of copy of the Japan version and the bonus track is and adventurous version of The Beatles song ‘Paperback Writer’.
Rockingham Live was the spark that sets things in motion and the result is an album, packed with melodic riffs, superb vocals and heavenly harmonies. The album follows the path of the golden eighties, but the guys inject it with some modern influences. All guys and dolls who are keen on that eighties sound will adore these tracks. So order a copy and enjoy the ride…
Score: 4,5 out of 5
2. Give Me The Light
3. Don’t Pay The Ferryman
4. Angels With Dirty Faces
5. 30 Years
6. On Our Way
7. Second Nature
9. Every Boy In Town
10. Time is Watching
11. Heartbeat Radio
13. Paperback Writer (bonus track Japan release)
Text by: Rik Bauters