THREE LIONS cover Feb14

Hardrockhaven Review
By Alexandra Mrozowska
Hardrock Haven rating: 10/10
Take a three-piece band, consisting of two-thirds of the musicians whose legendary status has already been deservedly attained in the melodic rock scene. Add some classic rock inspirations and brilliant songwriting. Stir together with a producer with the apparent Midas touch and spice up with some infectious, catchy melodies and solid instrumental backing. This ‘recipe’ was followed by a newly formed British power trio Three Lions closely enough to result in a perfect AOR-melodic rock album. With their line-up featuring the Vinny Burns (Ten, Dare, Asia) on guitar/keyboards, Greg Morgan (Ten, Dare) on drums, and a talented singer/bassist Nigel Bailey – and Alessandro Del Vecchio behind the console (his above Midas touch engaged also in some of the songwriting), Three Lions release their self-titled debut via Frontiers Records (yes, for the sake of the recipe). And the result of what they’ve rustled up in the studio is simply stunning.
In the first track, “Trouble In A Red Dress”, the lyrical ego narrates: “… She came to the party after the show … isn’t that how the trouble starts…?” The story goes on, illustrated with a brilliant, infectious melody and a rich guitar work; it’s pure AOR/melodic rock which might as well be released thirty years ago.
“Hold Me Down” is more mellow, a lite AOR mid-tempo song; with “Twisted Soul”, the band delivers a dose of feisty, guitar-oriented melodic rock with a catchy chorus. The latter’s follow-up “Winter Sun” explodes with wailing guitar sounds, developing into a wistful piece of wonderful balladry. With the guitar-laden melancholy slowly fading, the next thing the listener’s treated with is “Just A Man” – a dynamic, yet polished song with harmonized vocals, the one that could end up on any Survivor or, especially, Jimi Jamison’s solo albums.
Groovy guitars and a great hook of “Holy Water” precede a soaring power ballad “Two Hearts Beat As One”; particularly interesting is the storytelling track “Kathmandu” starting off with an oriental, Eastern-influenced intro and based on a slower, lumbering riff. “Made For One Another” is a maudlin power ballad, clichéd, yet still able to evoke a picture of thousand lighters held up in the air… and maybe, a tear or two from more sentimental listeners.
The next track “Magdalene” is Magnum Vigilante/Goodnight L.A.-era revisited, a keyboard-driven, hooky rocker followed up by “Don’t Let Me Fall” – which initially seems to be another piece of schmaltzy sentimentality, and yet, turns into a nice and polished semi-ballad with a great melody. There is also “Hellfire Highway” – an intense, hooky keyboard-and-guitar-duel kind of song with massive chorus, another AOR masterpiece – and the final “Sicilian Kiss”, a piece of sublime instrumental wizardry with a bit darker and somewhat dramatic vibes to it. It’s a beautiful guitar-oriented coda to the well-crafted musical masterpiece.
Three Lions’ self-titled album is a perfect balance between instrumental prowess and great melodies, catchy hooks and dynamic guitar work, with not so distant echoes of where two of the three musicians come from music-wise (Dare, Ten). Speaking shortly, it’s what album-oriented rock should stand for in the first place and as long as you’re into AOR, no matter if you think classics such as Survivor and Journey or 21st century representatives of the genre, you’re going to love this one. Highly recommended not only for Dare or Ten fans – go Lions!
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