REVIEW – AS LIONS
As Lions – Selfish Age (Eleven Seven Records)
Genre – Metal / Hard rock
Is legendary lineage ever a benefit when it comes to forging a career in the same industry as your relatives? While Austin Dickinson wholeheartedly benefited for his father’s contacts to get started, the fact he’s a spawn of the Maiden front man has been a curse rather than a blessing when it’s come to gaining appreciation for his own music.
Following the split of Rise To Remain two years ago, three fifths of the band formed As Lions, and put out a four track EP last year. A year later, the five-piece have released their first full length and it disappointingly contains all four songs from that very EP.
Although this is likely to leave fans a little peeved, the album is still packed with quality. There will undoubtedly be comparisons to nu-metal godfathers Disturbed and Korn, but fans will love that. People still crave this kind of music.
From the off, As Lions focus on a climactic approach. From Aftermath to The Great Escape, Selfish Age is full of highs. Every song has a constant build up to an explosive chorus. Some will call this safe, but others will adore it. This is arena style metal with temple tearing riffs. It’s nothing new, but how many acts nowadays are truly creating something unique?
Selfish Age is anthemic from start to finish, meaning there isn’t a lot of variety on the album, aside from Deathless and White Flags, which are awash with keys and special effects.
With money to burn, As Lions have probably spent too long making this album clean and polished, leading to over production at times which lacks a rough and ready edge; but that says as much about modern times as it does about the music.
Despite the negatives, there’s no denying that Dickinson has an excellent vocal range. He’s pitch perfect, he knows how to write a chorus and he’s got a band behind him that are capable of constructing huge riffs with massive hooks.
The riff heavy approach comes to light in The Suffering, with an Avenged Sevenfold style opening that could have been taken straight out of the Synyster Gates playbook, and growling vocals that bring the track to life. Backed by synths and a pounding base drum, Dickinson’s vocals explore elements of hard rock, showing that As Lions are a very different band to the metalcore unit of Rise To Remain.
As Lions may come in for criticism for this album, but in truth it’s very easy to listen to and it is full of piercing rock/metal sounds. Tracks like A Selfish Age, Bury My Dead and World On Fire are radio friendly songs that could all be hit singles, showing this band recognise the need to appeal to the masses if they want to make the next step.
RUSHONROCK RATED – 8 / 10 Don’t write this band off because of their ancestry – turn up the volume and enjoy.
Northumbria University Journalism graduate, rock and roll enthusiast and co-editor of RUSHONROCK.com.