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Pride of Lions – ‘Fearless’

posted 11 Jan 2017, 14:53 by Paul Woodward

(Frontiers Records)

Review by Woody

I’m a massive fan of Jim Peterik’s Pride of Lions so I was really looking forward to hearing this their fifth album Fearless. Admittedly I did approach this one with a little bit of trepidation as their fourth album Immortal was personally a big disappointment and nowhere near the high-quality I have come to expect from this band. So, it is with a huge smile I can emphatically scream that Fearless is Pride of Lions back at their best and if it’s not better than it is a definite rival for The Destiny Stone, which for me is the bands finest hour. It’s great to see and hear Peterik’s song writing firing on all cylinders again with the Pride of Lions signature sound as I had worried Peterik had grown bored with the band following the run of the mill Immortal.

The Pride of Lions sound has always been larger than life and grandiose and Fearless continues that and it is a delightfully flamboyant and pompous affair. It’s overflowing with melodic deliciousness making it perfect for AOR fans to salivate lovingly over whilst playing very loudly! It is all encompassing with its lush soundscape of melody overload, every instrument is used to maximum effect throwing inescapable hooks into every song at every given opportunity making this album utterly addictive. Highlighting yet again why Peterik’s song writing is so well loved by the AOR fan base.

Vocalist Toby Hitchcock was and continues to be a great frontman for the band delivering the songs with gusto and he gives listeners more goose bump moments than ever before with his stunningly impressive vocals. He has a great range and his almost operatic delivery at times accentuates the larger than life pomposity that Peterik creates with Pride of Lions. One of the genre’s truly great singers especially in technical terms and he is a big part of the continued success and popularity of the band, I can’t name many singers who could give these songs the same feel that Hitchcock does. Also, when you add Peterik’s vocal additions in, it always adds some colour to the vocal impact and it’s something I’ve always enjoyed about the Pride of Lions songs as sometimes it can really impress or accentuate the impact of a specific line or vocal melody.

Lyrically I know Peterik can sometimes lose people as he tends to write stories and very personally as opposed to something quite vague but easily relatable en masse which is understandably not for everyone. For me though it’s something I’ve always appreciated and always found deeply intriguing and often I feel this gives the songs a deeper emotional impact. Although I don’t relate to all his lyrics on Fearless I do feel fired up by songs like the title track ‘Fearless’ and I definitely have connectivity with ‘In Caricature’ for example.

The title track ‘Fearless’ is a full bloodied anthemic rocker with a strong rousing chorus that will definitely hit the mark with genre fans, I know I’ll be playing this one a lot in future. An Inspirational rocker! You have a good mix of tempo’s and energy throughout with slow burners like ‘The Tell’, the driven ‘Freedom of the Night’ and the energetic ‘The Silence Says It All’. ‘All I See Is You’ is infectious, ‘Rising Up’ is a rousing rocker and the smooth melodic rock of ‘Silent Music’ and its angelic harmony vocals is truly delightful.

‘In Caricature’ is a song that I keep going back to, it has a killer keyboard hook and it’s a driven smooth melodic rocker with a humongous chorus – total melodic overload! Pride of Lions have always given us dramatic, emotional and powerful ballads here we have ‘Everlasting Love’ and ‘The Light In Your Eyes’ both are very much in the Pride of Lions signature sound and are unforgettable and could be two of the best Peterik has written and Hitchcock’s delivered.

If you know Pride of Lions, you know what to expect with Fearless - pomp fuelled epic feeling rock smothered liberally with melodic juiciness. An essential purchase for melodic rockers – ‘You gotta be Harder, You gotta be Tougher, You gotta be FEARLESS!

Track Listing: All I See Is You / The Tell / In Caricature / Silent Music / Fearless / Everlasting Love / Freedom Of the Night / The Light In Your Eyes / Rising Up / The Silence Says It All / Faster Than A Prayer / Unmasking The Mystery

Album Rating: 10/10

Woody’s Essential Track: In Caricature