Lionheart - Second Nature

Lionheart - Second Nature

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(CD, AOR Heaven, 2017)

I almost missed LIONHEART at ‘Sweden Rock Festival’ since I really had other work to do when they were onstage. I’m glad I went there anyway and caught the show as it was a fantastic delivery of melodic Hard Rock. And that can be said about “Second Nature” also. Give Me The Light” is on the verge of too soft for my taste, however it didn’t take long to get over that first impression. The musical performance makes it work though, as it holds great dynamics and flawless playing. “Don't Pay The Ferryman” which follows is darker and more melodic and fits my taste better. It's actually very close to the original, released by Chris De Burgh (“Lady In Red” - remember?), the slightly more modern production and LIONHEART's nerve in their music makes this one stand above the original though.

It’s still melodic Rock but the minor key does the tricks. The build-up to as well as the chorus-line is fantastic. Lee Small sounds great and it’s clear he controls both the low key as well as the high pitched vocals. “Angels With Dirty Faces” is another catchy one and it feels like an old school arena hit with grand choirs and an easy to sing chorus line. Another favorite from “Second Nature” is “30 Years”; a PRAYING MANTIS-oozing smooth flowing track, which isn’t strange as Dennis Stratton played with them many years and on several of their most prominent albums. The vocal lines in the verses have similarities with the UFO classic “Let It Roll”; Lee’s voice is more tonal here compared to the rest of the record which draw the resemblance to Phil Mogg and UFO.

The instrumental “On Our Way” really appeals to me, the melancholy is great and from a harmony perspective it leans very much to MSG and Michael Schenker’s type of tone and trademark style of playing. Again, this is not strange since Steve Mann have been a part of that band over the years and wrote some of those classic song. Also the title track “Second Nature” is striking. It’s fascinating how music as soft as LIONHEART is can be so intense. It holds a nerve and edge that rarely happens these days when records are over-produced and pushed to the max. “Second Nature” has a modern production but still sound organic and alive. They’ve really managed to capture the vibe from the live-show onto the record.

I love the chorus-line and how the vocals are structured in “Time Is Watching”; it comes in over the top, when the lead it breaks everything off and really stands out. It’s funny because the track is soft but still comes across as the dirty rocker of the album. Fantastic! Ok, “Lionheart” is rather raw also. It closes the album in a great way, the energy is good and again it’s a catchy track. The thing I didn’t realize until after a few spins was that this is a perfect trigger for me to run to the stereo and press play again...

I’m not sure if it is my taste that has changed the last few years and I dig more softer Hard Rock than I used to. It can also be that LIONHEART’s “Second Nature” is close to musical perfection with fantastic melodies and musicianship. The dynamics and nerve in the music are incredible and there are a lot of twists and turns in the songs which make it very interesting. There are a few ones though, 1 or 2, that doesn’t appeal as much as the rest but in general “Second Nature” is flawless, a great piece of music and I think that’s the key. Style doesn’t really matter when the music rocks for real.





01. Prelude
02. Give Me The Light
03. Don't Pay The Ferryman
04. Angels With Dirty Faces
05. 30 Years
06. On Our Way
07. Second Nature
08. Prisoner
09. Every Boy In Town
10. Time Is Watching
11. Heartbeat Radio
12. Lionheart
13. Reprise


Lee Small - Lead Vocals
Dennis Stratton - Lead Guitar, Backing Vocals
Steve Mann - Lead Guitar, Backing Vocals
Rocky Newton - Bass, Backing Vocals
Clive Edwards - Drums