Heart of a lion

group1.jpgAmerica, meet Lion’s Share. Lion’s Share, meet America. Good, now that you’ve been introduced, it’s high time you all met in person.

Headquartered in its home country of Sweden, Lion’s Share — not to be confused with White Lion — is a melodic metal outfit that channels old-school headbangers like Dio-era Black Sabbath and Judas Priest. The band debuted in 1995, and then, it brought forth what many consider the band’s masterpiece Two.

In January, Lion’s Share returned from a six-year hiatus with Emotional Coma, a more aggressive, hard-charging record from a band known more for its melody and prog-metal — think Dream Theater — tendencies than the thrash mentality its guitar player and founder Lars Chriss has embraced in the new millennium. Songs like “Toxication Rave,” “Trafficking” and “Bloodstained Soil” reveal Chriss to be a closet Megadeth freak.

Chriss explained the long layoff. “Well, we released our first record in ’95, and we released another four albums through 2001,” he says. “We did a lot of touring. We toured in Europe and Scandinavia with Dio, Manowar, Motorhead, Saxon, UDO, Iced Earth, Nevermore, etc. So, during this time, I was very busy with that, and I was also heavily involved in the writing, producing, speaking to labels, doing all the interviews and speaking to promoters. So, I felt burnt out at the end of 2001. I felt I needed some space to recharge my batteries, more or less. And also, I had the sound for Emotional Coma in mind, and I didn’t think the lineup I had at the time would be the right one. I wanted a more mode of drumming style, for example. And the new songs are more fast, so I needed a bass player who plays with a pick. The old bass player played with his fingers, etc. So, it was time for a change.”

And what a difference six years makes. Sounding more invigorated than ever, Chriss really sinks his teeth into Emotional Coma, unleashing a barrage of riffs and dizzying tempos that approaches the fury of Megadeth. Having new singer, and Ronnie James Dio sound-alike, Patrik Johansson on board helped Chriss realize his vision, and Chriss thinks audiences will embrace the more straightforward, balls-out approach — especially live.

There is a chance fans of Lion’s Share’s prog-metal past may balk at the new sound. Chriss accepts that and hopes to find new converts in the U.S. and Britain. The U.S. is virgin territory for Lion’s Share. With Emotional Coma out on Locomotive Records, and the band closing in on finishing a new record, Chriss thinks the time may be right for Lion’s Share to establish a beachhead in the U.S., a place the band has never played.

Keep watching www.goldminemag.com for a podcast of my interview with Lars. In the meantime, to learn more about Lion’s Share, visit www.lionsshare.org/ and to find out more about Locomotive Records, go to www.locomotiverecords.com

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