Relesed by: Metalville Records
Release Date: February 23rd, 2024
Lee Small (The Sweet, ex-Shy) – lead vocals.
Dennis Stratton (ex-Iron Maiden) – lead guitar/backing vocals
Steve Mann (MSG, ex-Liar) – lead guitar/backing vocals
Rocky Newton (Grand Slam, ex-MSG) – bass guitar/backing
Clive Edwards (ex-Pat Travers, Uli Jon Roth & Wild Horses) – drums,percussion
V Is For Victory
This Is A Woman’s War
The Longest Night
The Eagle’s Nest
Just A Man
The Grace Of A Dragonfly
Remembrance, Praying For World Peace
The legendary British AOR band LIONHEART has a long history that started 44 years ago in the middle of the NWOBHM days. After a few years they developed into one of the most commercial American AOR sounding British bands during the heydays of AOR music in the early/mid 1980s. Their classic album Hot Tonight has never left my turntable, because it was loaded with lovely AOR tunes. The band originally featured vocalist JESS COX (ex-TYGERS OF PAN TANG), guitarist DENNIS STRATTON (ex-IRON MAIDEN), guitarist/keyboardist STEVE MANN (ex-LIAR, MSG, ELOY), bassist/vocalist ROCKY NEWTON (ex-WILDFIRE, AIRRACE, BAD MOON RISING, SAXON, DEF LEPPARD, BRONZ…) and drummer FRANK NOON (ex-DEF LEPPARD), and they were already back then one of the first so-called supergroups that featured musicians from all kinds of well-known bands at the time. CHAD LOWE became their vocalist eventually when they started recording their aforementioned one and only album Hot Tonight in 1984, but despite some videoclips and promotion by their label, it did not become the huge DEF LEPPARDish success everyone was hoping for, so they split up in 1986. Most of the bandmembers ended up in other British bands, and some of the unreleased LIONHEART material ended up on a 2-CD set (Unearthed – Raiders of the Lost Archives) released in Japan during the mid-1990s.
In 2016 LIONHEART reformed in an original line-up except for the vocalist and drummer, because those places were taken by vocalist LEE SMALL (SHY and PHENOMENA) and drummer CLIVE EDWARDS (ex-UFO and WILD HORSES). 2 albums followed during the next 4 years, and then corona hit the world, but now in 2024 the band returns with a brand new album entitled The Grace Of A Dragonfly, which is a concept album about World War 2. I received a beautiful limited silver vinyl edition of the album. It is a fantastic gatefold album that contains basically all the information you need to know on every bandmember, because there is an impressive LIONHEART band member discography and circle of bands overview on 2 sides of the inner sleeve, while also all the lyrics and much more information on the whereabouts of the recording is mentioned. Concluded, a lot to look at and read while listening to this great new album of LIONHEART!
10 songs are included in total, and opener Declaration is a superb uptempo melodic rocker with clear similarities to PRAYING MANTIS and SHY. The midtempo Flight 19 follows in a smooth AOR style, while the keyboard driven uptempo AOR piece V Is For Victory is throwing us back straight to the 1980s, with big sweet harmonyvocals, it has a touch of classic JOURNEY for sure. The midtempo This Is Woman’s War follows nicely in a lovely soaring guitar driven melodic heavy rocksound a la PRAYING MANTIS and SHY. Closing side-A is The Longest Night, a faster uptempo melodic heavy rocker that is again close to PRAYING MANTIS, and also THE SWEET circa the 90s comes to mind here. A pretty good tune that shows Lee once again shining as a one of the finest singers in Britain at the moment. His voice is quite close to GLENN HUGHES, and I also need to mention the superb guitarwork of both Dennis and Steve here, because it has the classic British sound of LIZZY/MAIDEN/SAXON.
Side-B starts with The Eagle’s Nest, which picks up the pure 80s midtempo/semi-AOR ballad direction again, and this superb song is not far removed from SHY actually, while secretly adding some amazing 80s twin-guitar driven melodies throughout the catchy chorus. Little Ships follows, and this is another lovely uptempo melodic heavy rocker in the PRAYING MANTIS style (and also 80s MAGNUM). Just A Man is a very nice strong Power Ballad with a rather catchy chorus, while UXB is a terrific uptempo 80s AOR rocker in the style of AVIATOR, AIRRACE and early FM, while also touching the 80s GARY MOORE and PHENOMENA material. The chorus of UXB is deadly catchy and a real sucker for fans of aforementioned bands! The titletrack The Grace Of A Dragonfly follows in a more or less similar style, so another great uptempo AOR tune with phenomenal guitarwork, and final track Remembrance, Praying For World Peace closes the album nicely as a short epic ballad.
The artwork, inner sleeves and information printed inside the vinyl booklet are superior, so that is a real big bonus, and thankfully also the music is of a very high level. Especially the AOR/Melodic Rockfans will love this adventure back to the World War 2, and despite this might sound dark lyrically speaking, it a very catchy fun cheerful album dedicated to the people who gave their lives to fight for our freedom. In a time when 2 new wars have erupted the past few years, it should also be dedicated to those who are now sadly once again fighting for their freedom because they have no other choice. This vinyl album of LIONHEART will probably not end the wars, but it is definitely a great album you need to check out, because these old talented musicians recorded a timeless record both musically and lyrically speaking. Highly recommended to all!!!
Written by: Gabor Kleinbloesem