Europe has been enjoying (and raving about) this muscular, intense melodic hard rock record for a few months now, and America finally gets its chance to sample the comeback album from Sweden's LION'S SHARE. Six years after the band's last output, guitarist and mainman Lars Chriss has recruited vocal powerhouse Patrik Johansson and created a solid, heavy slab of take-no-prisoners metal that delivers hooks and crunch by the iron fistful.Johansson, late of ASTRAL DOORS and WUTHERING HEIGHTS, comes from the Ronnie James Dio school of vocalists, with a slightly more modern touch (which means he sounds a lot like a more pissed-off Tony Martin). His impressive vocals are in that awesome mid-to-high range where he's got melodies galore, but they're anchored with enough workingman's grit to keep them from soaring off into helium heights of parody. This serves him well on faster, tougher cuts like the galloping "Clones of Fate", as well as more expansive, anthemic tracks like "The Edge of the Razor" and "Bloodstained Soil". Chriss is no slouch either, though his playing is rarely flashy or showoffy. He delivers what the song needs, solos impressively, and leaves plenty of room for Johansson to carry the chorus. These songs are concise, informed by hard rock verse-chorus-verse sensibility but with enough balls and crafty construction to appeal to those seeking a harder-edged or more progressive slant. LION'S SHARE walks that line between commercial hard rock and traditional power metal, taking the best cues from both without going completely over to either side of the fence — and their focused, powerful songwriting pulls it all together in splendid form. There's a reason why guys like Glen Drover and Bruce Kulick guested on this record — LION'S SHARE is one of those class acts that may not have ever set the world on fire (especially not on this side of the pond, unfortunately — ask TAD MOROSE how much America gets behind well-done melodic metal), but are well-respected in the industry for their commitment to making great music. Hopefully they'll get more recognition this time around, as they're an appealing and very underrated band. Highly recommended.
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