Steve Harris, bassist and co-founder of metal icons IRON MAIDEN, spoke to The Metal Voice about the upcoming second album from his side project, BRITISH LION.
Harris formed BRITISH LION in 2012 and released a self-titled debut LP, with touring concentrated mainly in Europe.
Asked how the musical direction of BRITISH LION's follow-up effort will be different from "British Lion", Harris said (hear audio below): "The band has evolved over the last five or six years live — we've played quite a lot of shows in Europe and stuff — so it's become more of a tighter band. I think we've found our direction is naturally evolving, and if anything, I think it's getting heavier than it was, really. It's very melodic. The songs are… I don't know… There's still kind of a UFO, THIN LIZZY type of influence, I think, in a lot of them, [and] there are influences too, but in general, I think we are getting just a little bit harder-edged, really. These days, I suppose there are some bands that make even MAIDEN sound like THE MOODY BLUES — there's some real, real heavy bands out there — so what I think is heavy and what other people think is 'getting heavier' is two [completely different things]. But we feel we're a bit harder-edged than we were. So it is a bit of a slight directional change, possibly. But it's been a natural thing; it's not something we consciously thought, 'Oh, we've gotta go this way.' It's just been the way we're playing our live shows — it's very powerful, much more powerful live than on record, I think. And I think with the second record, we've tried to capture that essence of what we are live more."
According to Harris, the second BRITISH LION is completed, but there is still no firm release date in place. "We've finished recording," he said. "We haven't mastered it yet, and we haven't done the artwork yet, and we haven't decided when it's gonna go out, because I'm governed by, obviously, what happens with MAIDEN. So I can't arrange a tour or anything until I know what MAIDEN is doing. And we'll decide then when we'll release the album next year."
BRITISH LION has been performing two new songs, "Spitfire" and "Bible Black", during some of its recent shows. A studio recording of "Spitfire" can be heard below.
The band will tour Canada for the first time next month. Dates begin in Toronto on November 1, stopping in Waterloo, Ottawa, Montreal and Quebec City. Support on the trek will come from CONEY HATCH.
BRITISH LION's debut album sold around 3,000 copies in the United States in its first week of release. The CD landed at position No. 3 on the Top New Artist Albums (Heatseekers) chart, which lists the best-selling albums by new and developing artists, defined as those who have never appeared in the Top 100 of The Billboard 200.
"British Lion" was released in the U.S. in September 2012 via Universal Music Enterprises (UMe). Mixed by Kevin Shirley — whose credits include IRON MAIDEN as well as LED ZEPPELIN, JOURNEY and RUSH — the CD featured Harris alongside singer Richard Taylor, guitarists Graham Leslie and David Hawkins and drummer Simon Dawson.