without Internet Explorer,
in 1280 x 960 resolution
Nils Patrik Johansson is a busy guy. In between working with the fabulous Wuthering Heights and churning out the power-pop-Metal abortion that was Astral Doors' last album, he teamed up with working-man's-Heavy-Metal-band Lion's Share for their first album in 6 years. I don't run into many people who know these guys, so all I can tell you is that they play stripped down, bare bones Heavy Metal without any gimmicks or flourishes. They kind of sound like old Savatage combined with hints of Dio's early solo material, with a noticeable Swedish flourish to the whole package.
Nils' vocals are up to par here, but the vocal lines written for him aren't as good as they could be - the choruses often sound like bridges, and he never really lets loose and bellows here like he does in Astral Doors. The thing I found interesting about this album is the fact that it is extremely repetitive and pretty much the antithesis of progression in songwriting. Every song starts off with a melodic rockametal riff that drives itself into the ground by the end of the song, not building itself up to a climax at all, ending the very same way it started - often very abruptly in both aspects. It's very formulaic and simple, but it works, by some freak of nature fluke, likely due to the fact that the songs here actually don't sound too much alike, whilst remaining so simplistic. The riffs are devilishly hooky and catchy without exception, and this album remains charming in its repertoire of staunch, chin-up defiance to move forward. Standout tracks include the darkly melodic "Edge of a Razor," the speedy, borderline Thrash "Toxication Rave," and the nearly AOR-sounding "Trafficking," with its hymn-wide chorus. This one won't be making it onto any "Best of 2007" lists, but it is very entertaining, and if you like traditional Heavy Metal, you can safely get it.
Originally written for http://www.metalcrypt.com
Swedish Lion’s Share, centred around mastermind Lars Chriss have not been the most regular band in the metal scene. Debuting in 1995 with a self titled album, between then and 2001 the band released three more full-length studio efforts before taking a 6 year hiatus.
From the line-up that recorded “Entrance” in 2001, only Lars himself is left, but in the new line-up we have a man who is quickly becoming one of the busiest metal singers of today, namely Nils Patrik Johansson (Astral Doors, Wuthering Heights, ex-Space Odyssey), and his presence alone would make it worth it checking this album.
But six years gone by, what can fans and newcomers expect of Lion’s Share new work?
First of all, we find a band heavier than before, lacking keyboards and only slightly progressive, playing mostly in mid to fast-tempo, dark heavy metal where Chriss’ riffing and Nils’ singing are true highlights. That’s visible from the start with the stunning album-opener “Cult Of Denial”. Slow and brooding yet energetic with an outstanding, almost thrashy riff that grabs you by the balls, and Nils’ delivery, this is probably how every metal album should start.
Always menacing but melodic, making him justly comparable to Tony Martin or Ronnie James Dio, Nils Johansson fits in perfectly with this darker side of Lion’s Share, and like he has gotten us used to, he can scream with the best or be clean and emotional. His unquestionable versatility only adds more value to an album all by itself already very rich. Add to this Mats Levén’s background vocals and in the voice department there’s nothing to complain about.
As for Lars, he makes this album a golden trunk filled with fantastic riffs and impressive old-school shredding solos, between classic doom and heavy-metal and europanized thrash. Jus take a listen to the doomy and slow title track featuring Megadeth’s Glen Drover, followed by the speedy “Clones of Fate” with what is in essence a monster of a classic Heavy-Metal riffing. Stunning! It gets no worse with the dark and emotional “The Edge Of The Razor” featuring Bruce Kulick (Kiss), or the pounding thrash of “Toxication Rave”. “Trafficking” even sounds somewhat AOR in the chorus line, yet another proof of the album’s versatility if you needed one. And I’ll waste no more time telling you that from here until the end, it’s pure metal carnage. You’ll know that when you listen to it.
Topping it all with a very good production that leaves the band’s sound really strong, crisp, and modern, Emotional Coma is most likely the band’s most amazing work up until now and one that will certainly gain Lion’s Share a lot of deserved praise. If you’re a fan of dark and energetic Heavy-Metal with a scent of Dio, Megadeth or even Savatage, you’ll love this.
Review originaly for www.rockheavyloud.com