Dark Hours by Lion's Share
Release date : March 2009
Reviewed by Jeff Holton
In mid August 2008, the formation of Blistering Records was announced. Label president Lars Chriss, within the music sphere, acts as guitarist and songwriter for Lion's Share. Late that November, details for the group's sixth full length album were revealed. Pencilled in for a March 2009 issue, Dark Hours' lineup is; vocalist Patrik Johansson (Astral Doors / Wuthering Heights / ex-Space Odyssey), bassist Sampo Axelsson (ex-Glenn Hughes), and session drummers Richard Evensand (ex-Chimaira / ex-Soilwork / ex-Therion) and Conny Petterson (Anata). Dark Hours' track listing was unveiled, as well as an e-card. Upon the track “Behind the Curtain”, Symphony X guitarist Mike Romeo guests. At Fascination Street in Örebro, Sweden, Dark Hours was mixed and mastered by Jens Bogren (who's worked with such acts as Opeth, Symphony X, Paradise Lost and Amon Amarth).
With director Josef Doukkali (who previously directed the Lion's Share tune “The Edge of the Razor”, upon 2007's Emotional Coma) in Stockholm, Sweden, a music video was filmed in support of the track “Judas Must Die”. During late January 2009, Dark Hours' artwork was unveiled. By mid February, “Judas Must Die” had been made available for free download via Blistering Records' official website. Whilst recording the album, Lion's Share filmed several video vignettes where they lend insight upon a specific track. One such vignette for “Judas Must Die” materialized in early March, whilst another for “Phantom Rider” surfaced midway into the month. By March's end, “Judas Must Die”'s music video was available for viewing.
Until recently, this reviewer was unfamiliar with Lion's Share's material. Hailing from Sweden, this “no frills” Melodic Power Metal act knows how to compose prime quality Metal - upon hearing Dark Hours, this happens to be quite obvious. Musically speaking, Lion's Share's sonics are a mild fusion of Ronnie James Dio fronted Black Sabbath, Symphony X and Blind Guardian, not to mention a hefty splash of the group's own respective sound. Lion's Share's inaugural release on behalf of Blistering Records, Dark Hours is a great Power Metal album which'll garner the interest of fanatics both old and new.
Defining the record's pace, inaugural cut and highlight “Judas Must Die” emphasizes Lars Chriss' crunchy and intricate guitar work, not to mention Patrik Johansson's grovelling Dio-esque vocals. Exhibiting breakneck riffs and breakneck drumming, the album inaugurates via a massive bang, and even through to swansong cut “Behind the Curtain”, doesn't falter. A complex track which boasts a multifaceted song structure, “Heavy Cross To Bear” greatly recalls Black Sabbath, particularly “Sign of the Southern Cross”. A straightforward Power Metal track, “The Bottomless Pit” plows immediately ahead via “no remorse”, as well as a chorus which cements itself in the listener's mind. All in all, each of Dark Hours' respective tracks bear several common denominators; heavy guitar riffs, complex song arrangements, intelligent lyrics, outstanding vocals and drumming which could put a machine gun to shame.
A great full length, Dark Hours, as previously mentioned, will appeal to worldwide Power Metal fanatics. Whether it be the mesmerizing cover artwork, the clear production, or the superior musicianship, all collectively proclaim one thing; that this album is of a high calibre, and will certainly garner attention within the Metal sphere. Symphony X fanatics, and even Power Metal fanatics generally, should investigate this specific album. Irrespective of whether you've been a fanatic since Lion's Share's inception, or happen to be new to the act's material like this reviewer, Dark Hours is a recommended purchase.