|Pride Of Lions The Roaring Of Dreams||Frontiers Records|
In a short space of time, the Jim Peterik/Toby Hitchcock lead Pride Of Lions have created a nice little catalogue of music. This is their third studio album and there are also 2 EPs and a live CD/DVD.|
On their third opus, the band takes influences from the first two albums, emphasizes those parts and adds in a few new twists to keep things fresh.
Most of it works, but perhaps a couple of things don't quite work as well or sound as comfortable as when they are concentrating on the straight ahead AOR which the band delivers perfectly. To simplify things - those that loved or liked the first two albums will love or like this third album and those that haven't managed to warm to the band's unique take on the classic AOR sound will probably remain unconvinced.
Bottom line for fans is that The Roaring Of Dreams is another fantastic melodic rock/AOR record, with mastermind Jim Peterik's style all over the record.
And I must be said that the record sounds a million dollars, with a huge production quality that the guys should be proud of.
And vocalist Toby Hitchcock further enhances his reputation with an outstanding performance here, even when I am debating the merits of his preferred style of delivery.
Toby may not have the most natural voice for AOR, but he has one hell of a set of lungs. There is a element within the Pride Of Lions releases to cater for Toby's big booming voice and his natural tendency to sound like he is on Broadway. Several times throughout this record I felt as if I could be listening to a rock opera or Broadway musical. Toby should look into such an outlet as I believe he has a voice made for projection across a stage.
The massive closing note of Heaven On Earth is a prime example, then there is the title track The Roaring Of Dreams, which could easily have come from something like The Lion King! Glorious tunes I must say – I'm just openly debating with myself whether it would be a good idea for Jim to write a rock opera for Toby and save the material such as Turnaround and Roaring Of Dreams for an occasion such as that.
That said, the majority of the record remains on course for what is expected of the guys. And the quality of the songwriting takes us back to the anthemic choruses of the debut, even if this album is still its own beast.
The Roaring Of Dreams is a nice uptempo record. The frantic rocking pace of Heaven On Earth can take you by surprise and sweeps you off your feet. It really is an intense song at times.
Book Of Life isn't as instant, but you know that guitar sound by now and it feels very comfortable. Jim and Toby trading vocals lines through the verse bathed in keyboards is something many will enjoy.
The more laid back and easy going Love's Eternal Flame brings back memories of the more commercial debut and of Jim's 80s style. Toby delivers a perfect AOR vocal here and a wonderful melodic chorus, showing that this kind of track should perhaps be delivered more often. One of the album's best tracks.
I'm also big on Language of The Heart, which is more classic Peterik and perfect POL. Another great chorus and an uptempo, but relaxed vibe gives this song another best track tick.
Let Me Let You Go sees the guys turn back to the more intense, hard driven sounds of the opening two tracks. A nice little rocker with a tough guitar lick, but perhaps not the most memorable track.
Faithful Heart is the first big ballad of the album in which Toby delivers an astounding lead vocal. The guy could blow out car tires with his power. This big, passionate and over the top ballad with orchestral parts is another album highlight.
The uptempo urgency returns for Defying Gravity, but it is not quite as intense as earlier tracks and I like it more for that reason. A catchy chorus keeps the song rolling along at a good pace.
I spoke of The Roaring Of Dreams earlier. This is a big, bombastic ballad and is born to be delivered from a Broadway stage.
Secret Of The Way is perhaps the other track from the album I could live without. Jim features on vocals with Toby for this very pleasant, more laid back pop tune that I don't think fits the overall record.
Astonish You continues the breezy laid back pop portion of the album, but on this occasion, the song fits thanks to a classic 80s keyboard sound and a nice soulful lead vocal.
I laughed the first time I heard Tall Ships. I love this track, but I wasn't sure how to take it when the big chorus includes a keyboard "riff" which resembles a foghorn or something like that. I'll leave it to individual tastes to decide the merit of that bit, but overall, the track is a fine uptempo melodic rocker.
The album closes with another big bombastic Broadway style ballad Turnaround, that at 7 minutes in length overstays its welcome a little.
I like the album best when it is more relaxed and concentrating on AOR, but all in all, it is another fine release from Jim Peterik and the guys.
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