Heredity can be a blessing and a curse. Unless you’re George Clooney, you will be endlessly compared to that elderly, more famous relative of yours no matter how different you proclaim to be. Often, lineage will be the curiosity factor that garners early attention, but even more often it will be a stumbling block to legitimacy. Take Lauren Harris, for example, daughter of Iron Maiden’s Steve Harris. She’s been trying for over a decade to make a go of it, with little luck. Another “Child of Maiden,” Austin Dickinson, is bravely trying to carve his own path, first with unmemorable metalcore act Rise to Remain and now with As Lions. Does the apple fall far from the family tree? Should we care about this debut album?

First of all, despite As Lions being three-fifths of Rise to Remain, this is not another bland metalcore band. As Lions are straightforward modern metal, shiny, with all the burrs and edges filed down. Roughly speaking, As Lions come off as a young version of Disturbed. Second of all, while Selfish Age is the band’s full-length debut, we’ve heard half these songs before, courtesy of last year’s EP as well as other downloads. So really this could have been another 6-song EP, as none of the older material has been reworked.

“Aftermath” is the opening track, a radio-ready anthem we were introduced to on last year’s EP. It’s short and to the point (in fact, only one of the eleven songs on Selfish Age crack the four-minute mark), slick-sounding, drenched in effects and washes of keyboards, with subdued verses and massive choruses – a far cry from Rise to Remain’s metalcore offerings, and a clear attempt at generating a hit single. While the song doesn’t particularly stand out, Dickinson shows us he actually has a great mainstream metal/hard rock voice. He’s pitch-perfect with good technique, has a decent range, and never succumbs to the urge to match his dad’s air-raid style. While the songs don’t have a lot of variety, they do range from heavier anthems such as “Deathless” and lighter, keyboard-heavy fare such as “White Flags.” Aside from these slight variations, every cut on Selfish Age is a blatant (but competent) attempt at writing a hit single, meaning it’s all harmless fun with choruses you’ll find yourself humming at times despite not really being sure which songs they’re from.

Speaking of family trees, production for some of these tracks is handled by Kane Churko, son of Kevin. The elder Churko, as some of you might know, produces modern metal ranging from In This Moment to Disturbed to Five Finger Death Punch to Hellyeah, and a gazillion more acts. Having trained in the shadow of Mutt Lange, Kevin puts a high-gloss sheen on every album he produces, and Kane is no different. The songs and arrangements here sound so generic I couldn’t actually single out a great or bad one, even after six listens. The mix has more gloss than a nail salon and the mastering process compresses everything into an inoffensive wash of heavily processed sound.

Inoffensive is the correct term to use for Selfish Age. There’s nothing bad on here: musically the performances are solid, the production is slick and modern, and Dickinson does himself proud with his vocals. However, this is such a safe, formulaic album, clearly designed in an attempt to garner As Lions as much satellite radio airplay as possible, that not a thing stands out. As Lions might have a future (Rise to Remain’s career lasted all of one album), but they’re going to have to come up with some catchy material for their next release.


Rating: 2.5/5.0
DR: 4 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Better Noise Records
Websites: facebook.com/AsLionsBand | aslionsband.com
Releases Worldwide: January 20th, 2017

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  • antitayyip

    roses suck…

  • Norfair Legend

    Exactely as I see it as well, they just needed to go a little harder with a little more grit and that would have done a world of wonders.

    • Reese Burns

      Yeah, I could see myself getting into them if they didn’t play it so safe.

  • Reese Burns

    That’s a hell of an album cover though.

  • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

    Lauren Harris… somehow she landed the opening spot on Iron Maiden’s tour a few years ago!

    • Huck N’ Roll

      I saw that tour, her band was awful. RtR opened for Maiden a few times as well, I assume these guys will should Maiden tour while As Lions are still a band.

      • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

        The guys in Iron Maiden should just give their kids an allowance and stop trying to make them work for it.

        • jersey devil

          Ha!!!

  • R.Daneel Olivaw
  • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

    Even George Clooney likely got compared to Rosemary Clooney at the beginning of his career.

    • John

      Damn beat me to it.

  • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

    “never succumbs to the urge to match his dad’s air-raid style”? My guess is he would if he could.

    • Huck N’ Roll

      I’m pretty sure he’s got it in him.

      • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

        I’m judging just from the embedded track. There might be some other of their songs that show more vocal prowess but I listened to the embedded track twice and not only did it prevent me from checking any other music of theirs, it also left me thinking that I could have listened to “Mandatory Suicide” or “Procreation (Of the Wicked)” one more time instead.

        • Huck N’ Roll

          Fair enough. :) He does exhibit power and chops on a few other tracks, when he’s not aiming for airplay.

          • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

            By the way, I feel sorry for you having to listen to a whole album of this more than once. You really took one for the team.

  • Sharp-Blunt Boy

    Harris also has a son called George. I only just found that out after checking out who was the terrible support act that opened for them in chch, nz. They were called the raven age and we’re absolute bollox. Offensively bland and trite.

    The maiden loins are obviously good for A&R access.

    They could even organise their own family Rock Am Ring, where they all disappear up it.

    • GardensTale

      Honestly, out of 3 Maiden gigs I’ve been to, I liked Raven Age the most. The other contenders were Rise to Remain and Trivium.

      Why can’t Maiden just tour with bands that actually complement them and people would like to see? Even when it’s not nepotism, it’s still metalcore, kind of a long shot from NWOBHM.

      • Huck N’ Roll

        They’re taking Ghost out with them this tour.

        • GardensTale

          Finally they’re listening to me!

      • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

        Once I watched Maiden in Canada. The support acts were Motörhead and DIo. Talk about bands that actually complement them and people would like to see.

        • GardensTale

          That’s one hell of a line-up!

      • Iron Maiden toured The X Factor with MDB in 1995-1996, which isn’t a great fit by any means, but at least I would have enjoyed one of the bands.

  • Handy Donut Hole

    No

  • Thatguy

    It’s a’radio ready’ band photo too. Bring on the unicorns.

  • Tofu muncher

    I saw RtR opening for Maiden five years back (This was in Jakarta). Many of us knew this was Dickinson JR’s band, but the performance was so bland that it became awkward as thousands of us in the audience were forced to clap after each song (Metalheads in this region are known to be polite). Nice embedded track though *typing politely*

    • Grymm

      *nodding head in full agreement… also politely*

  • WhamBamSam

    I actually rather liked Rise to Remain, certainly much moreso than the other exercises in nepotism I’ve heard from Maiden members’ children. Not feeling the embedded track though.

  • herrschobel

    oh boy….i´d say this a big heap of lionshite…but i guess i´d prefer lion pooh over this crap any day…why is this even reviewed here ? it´s as metal as a Babies ass …

  • madhare

    Not quite NWOBHM. Perhaps TFKP? “Trust Fund Kid Pop”

  • PLB

    I think the guy can sing but the blandness of the music does not do him any favor. It’s catchy/predictable radio rock. I would not switch channel if I happen to be listening to the radio but would not go out of my way to listen to this either.

  • FutureBeyondSatan

    These guys put the suck in suck.

  • Serjien

    You had my attention till you mentioned Disturbed…

  • sir_c

    Oh ffs I find this worse than really incompetent musicians putting in everything they have and who never get beyond mediocre. There is talent in this band, but fuck me running, this is everything music should not be. It’s even more bland than a Hyundai Excel 1.0.
    If I were his father…

  • jersey devil

    Fucking horrible insipid pop radio fluff. Deserves a 0.0