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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