New album: Dark Hours - Reviews

BLABBERMOUTH - 9/10

If you love melodic heavy metal (or muscular power metal) and you haven't heard of LION'S SHARE, then you really must start researching now! "Dark Hours" represents what this band is all about: great riffs, diesel-fueled rhythms, and spectacular melodies, and I mean every one of these 11 tracks. The band sets its sights on the target and annihilates it every time. Few do it better.

Forty four minutes flies by in no time, thanks to the band's immense songwriting talents. It is their keen ability to pack so much power into a three-to-four minute track that makes the material so damn engrossing. Every member contributes to the powerfulness of the whole too. Guitarist Lars Chriss' playing is familiarly classic, yet fresh; his riffs sharp and chunky, no matter the speed at which they're played, his solos burn hotter than the sun, and the melodic twin leads are so well placed (e.g. "The Presidio 27") The duo of bassist Sampo Axelsson and drummers Conny Pettersson (ANATA) and Richard Evensand (CHIMAIRA, SOILWORK, THERION) is trampoline tight, rhythmically varied (within the confines of generally fundamental structures) and textured. But it is the commanding vocals of Patrik Johansson (ASTRAL DOORS) that can turn a good melody into a great one and make a song soar high above clouds. His Dio-esque style is smooth and gritty at once, as he navigates a range of styles that gets the most out of each song. Lyrically, the band explores the dark side of the turbulent 60s.

Then there is the essence of the songs themselves. We sometimes forget about those albums that made you want to revel in the glory of each song, never skipping around to find that one special track, and always desiring front-to-back listens. "Dark Hours" is one of those albums. It is the kind of album where you'll know every lyric and join in on every memorable chorus. "Judas Must Die" is the grand opener, a heavy metal scorcher that is in fact reminiscent of early DIO. Joining it in the category of fire and brimstone heavy metal is mid-paced cruncher "The Bottomless Pit", one of several songs that feature an eerie verse with a dark vocal treatment, including some spine-tingling whispered/spoken vocals. Another is the "Phantom Rider", one that has Chriss shredding from the start. An epic chorus explodes in glory before Chriss restarts the rip. Album closer "Behind the Curtain", the longest track at 5:19, is a tough customer that also spooks with light picking and sinister vocals. Keyboard melodies on the up-tempo "Napalm Nights" and the quick-stepping, DIO-driven "Demon in your Mind" are brilliant touches, while the atmospheric keys on a slow-paced behemoth called "Heavy Cross to Bear" are one of several aspects that give the song a sort of Tony Martin era BLACK SABBATH vibe. Topping it all off is the superb talent of guest player Michael Romeo (SYMPHONY X).

The album is rounded out by a collection of songs with massively impacting melodic choruses, including "Full Metal Jacket", "The Barker Ranch", "Space Scam", and "The Presidio 27". The album is just overflowing with heavy metal grandness. If you want to split hairs you could complain about LION'S SHARE adding nothing new to a tried and true formula, but when a band does it so convincingly and with such heartfelt passion, who really gives a shit?

- Scott Alisoglu


ALL ACCESS MAGAZINE - HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

An album like this could come across as self-indulgent if the songwriting and performances weren't equal to the ambitious concept. Fortunately, they are. The last Lion's Share album, "Emotional Coma" , while an excellent album, was more along the lines of prog metal versus what they've done this time around. This time around Lion's Share serve up a completely balls to the wall metal that goes for the throat like wild beasts does its prey. The guitars are cranked to the max, the vocals are packed with unbridled fury, and if I had to compare a album that satisfies all the criteria of classic heavy metal, this would be it. Straight out of the Judas Priest Big Book Of Metal. In fact, we could do with a few more bands doing something similar. Vocalist, Patrik Johansson is in awesome form as he hits some amazing notes. There's one section of the album on the tracks 'Heavy Cross To Bear' and 'The Bottomless Pit', that is absolutely flawless, and should be required metal listening. Meanwhile, Lars Chriss does extremely proficient double duty as both guitarist and producer. Even the slower numbers come with added crunch. If you liked the Tony Martin era-Sabbath, or mid-eighties Priest, then 'Dark Hours' is an album you're going to absolutely love.

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
By The Atomic Chaser

LIVE4METAL - 5/5

I have to say that it’s a real shame as these Swedes haven’t made as much of an impact as they should have because they deliver pure melodic old school metal in the best way possible. The band has been in existence since 1988 and releasing their debut in 1995. I think poor distro and promotion buried this band, but the one thing they did was forge ahead no matter what the cost. I did follow these guys for quite some time until 2001 for their Entrance release. I had no idea there was a new record in 2007. They never broke up, but were on hiatus. I was on hiatus from the band as well, but I didn’t listen to LS until now with their latest offering. So, it’s been eight years for me. I did read something about them pumping out a new disc, but my question would be how good will it sound? Well, since I received it there was no need to continue to wonder as I simply had to put it in. First off, the singer role changed as now we have Patrik Johansson and boy oh boy does he sound like Ronnie James Dio, but manages to have his own thing going on. All guns are blazing as the floodgates are blasted wide open with the opener “Judas Must Die.” This is power metal of the highest order. Lars Chriss’ riffing is unrelenting yet melodic and catchy enough to keep all fans happy. The rhythm sections pounds away as if there’s no tomorrow and their lives were on the line. As, for Pat’s singing, hot damn! He brings the house down. His vocal range goes from mid to high screams when required. He sounds evil and pissed off, but you can understand him at all times. The solos simply shred and I was in pure heaven. Could the energy and excitement continue for the duration or was it a fluke? Hell no! “Phantom Rider” continues it winning ways with more sinister singing and riffs that would probably make Dio shed a tear of joy. There is some keyboard work from time to time, but it’s so faint that you will hardly notice. Besides getting your dose of adrenalin, there’s a slower paced tune that gives you a chance to rest your neck from the constant head banging with “Heavy Cross To Bear” and the there are even mid tempo numbers like “The Bottomless Pit” that still manage to pack a wallop. Pick any track on here and you are the winner as there’s no clunkers on here. That’s hard to do especially now a days, but this thing just rocked out and hard too. I think the time off from listening to this group served me well because I was elated after all was said and done. I think for a power meta/traditional metal disc this is some seriously dark material, but all for the better. No happy riffs here. This is all business. I love it and in the times we live in this couldn’t have come at a better time. Now, if you never heard the band before, this is the perfect place to start. All killer, no filler!

SEA OF TRANQUILITY - 4,5/5

Lion's Share are soon to unleash more of their blend of heavy metal upon us. If you enjoyed their previous album, 2007's Emotional Coma (I know I did), then get ready because Lion's Share have really stepped up with 2009's Dark Hours. This album contains some of the best metal I've heard in a while, it really is that good.

There's no mistaking the prominent voice of Patrik Johansson, like the evil spawn of Ronnie James Dio, Patrik's snarls united with Lars Chriss's guitar, Sampo Axelsson on bass, and drums from Richard Evensand and Conny Petterson, has Lion's Share ripping it up and expelling the kind of metal you'll want to hear again and again.

No quick introductory instrumental composition on this CD, Lion's Share launch into Dark Hours hardened opening track "Judas Must die" with the guitar at a cracking pace and a great chorus, and "Phantom Rider" has some wonderful vocal touches from Patrik, sounding quite sinister at times. The album flows well with plenty of masterful performances, Lars Chriss gives a striking display of his guitar work throughout Dark Hours. The last and longest track at just over the five minute mark, "Behind The Curtain", has a great chunky chorus and catchy head banging section, quite the fine closer to a splendid album. Also of note, the formidable guitarist Michael Romeo (Symphony X) has a guest solo on this track.

The Swedish melodic metallers are back and like a well tuned machine firing on all cylinders, Dark Hours illustrates Lion's Share have the capability required to deliver fine energetic metal. I have no doubt that we will hear many more quality releases from this band in the years to come.

DIGITAL STEEL - 96/100

So, finally here we have the follow-up to Emotional Coma which was one of my personal highlights in 2007. This new album Dark Hours from Lion’s Share is one of the albums I have been waiting for. In the short tour that Lion’s Share did after the release of Emotional Coma I saw them at a festival nearby, where they already played two tracks of [/i]Dark Hours[/i], Heavy Cross To Bear and Judas Must Die. Those two songs made me hungry like a Lion for the forthcoming album which has finally arrived through an interesting new label Blistering Records.

To get right to the point: This new album is a title candidate for my personal album top 10 of the year 2009. When I got the promo I did put it in my cd-player and it is still there. The opening track Judas Must Die, one of the tracks I heard on the Borstrock festival, and that song will blow your speakers away. A heavy guitar riff from mastermind Lars Chriss set the tone and the widely-acclaimed vocals of Nils Patrik Johansson are doing the rest. In my review for Emotional Coma I talked about one headbanging fest. Now ladies and gentleman, this Judas Must Die deserves that qualification. I can even say neck-breaking fest !

On the next song Phantom Rider the band takes back some gas and a beautiful uptempo song is the result with, I can’t say it enough, marvelous guitarplaying from Lars Chriss. This musician puts the song in charge and not the instrument like some other guitar players like to do which leads as we know to that ego-trip behavior on stage. Besides Lars and Nils Patrik there is another important member in this band and that is the bass player Sampo Axelsson whose sound fills all the gaps that exist without losing the overview. Did I already mention that my nick name for Nils Patrik is the ‘Tall Dio’? No ? Well on the next two tracks you can hear why I call him like that. Demon In Your Mind and the before mentioned Heavy Cross to Bear are songs that could have been made by a band called Rainbow or the first two (and best !) solo albums from that little guy with that magic voice Ronnie James Dio. It’s scary to hear how Nils Patrik voice sounds like Dio’s.

The next track is a dark track with a great riff again from Lars. A song which does remind me of Judas Priest in their better days, try to stand still on this one! Now it’s time for some neck-breaking again with Full Metal Jacket and after we broke our neck we find some rest in the beginning of the next track The Presidio 27, but after one minute we are dancing again. This one is a typical Lion’s Share song. Melody, heaviness, a great composition executed by outstanding musicians. The next three songs are made for those people who still have a neck left, namely Barker Ranch, Napalm Nights and Space Scam, where in the last song you can hear a brilliant guitar solo from Mr. Lion’s Share himself, Lars Criss. The closing song is called Behind The Curtain, and behind that curtain lays a great power metal ballad that is as beautiful as the ones Metal Church creates.

Rest me to tell you that next month we will have an interview with Lars Criss and that Dark Hours also features some guest players, including guitarist Michael Romeo (Symphony X) and drummer Conny Pettersson (Anata). The album was mixed and mastered by Jens Bogren (Opeth, Symphony X, Paradise Lost, Amon Amarth) at Fascination Street. Additionally, there will be a video filmed for the track, Judas Must Die,
This video will be also on the limited edition of ‘Dark Hours’. So I guess you are on your way right now to get that one!

THE RIGHT TO ROCK - ALBUM OF THE MONTH

It has been 2 years since Lions Share returned from their 6 year hiatus with the release of Emotional Coma, and now they are prepared to take over the metal world with their stellar new release Dark Hours. Lions Share, back in day, were more well known for there progressive metal sound, but as the band matured it went back to its roots to got more traditional. Dark Hours continues the traditional metal path, but adds a touch of modern day power metal, which could propel them to the top of this sub genre.

Dark Hours could very well be the best CD the band has ever done. The CD starts out with the blazing track Judas Must Die, which is an uptempo rocker with a great melodic chorus. The song has the driving force of a Blind Guardian tune mixed with the melody of Dio. Vocalist Patrik Johansson totally shines on this release, nailing the high and low registers with precision. He sounds like a cross between Hansi Kursch and Ronnie James Dio. This guy is a bad ass. The next track Phantom Rider has a King Diamond vibe to it, bringing in that traditional metal sound that we all know and love.

Dark Hours is a great CD full of well written songs that border traditional metal and power metal. There is a great variety on this CD, with songs written in the more traditional style, like the Sabbath inspired Heavy Cross to Bear to the newer power metal stylings of the In Flames-ish Demon in Your Mind. The songs all flow well, stringing melody with agression. Guitarist/Founder Lars Chriss has outdone himself with this release, because every tune rocks and his guitar palying is amazing. It doesn’t hurt either that guitarist Michael Romeo (Symphony X) layed down the solo for the track Behind the Curtain. I like that Lars has brought in more keyboards for this release, because it has brought back a dimension of the band, that I thought was lost on Emotional Coma. This is a killer release which is my CD of the month, and quite possibly, my CD of the year. Go get it!

Bottom Line: Killer riffs, great meoldies! Need I say more?

Standout Tracks: Every Damn one of them.

METAL MAYHEM - 9/10

Just why these guys haven’t made the impact they should have is beyond me. Formed way back in 1987, it wasn’t until 1995 they released their self-titled debut. 14 years later and we have album number 6, the brilliant “Dark Hours”.

No “half-arsed” opener here as things kick off with the first single from the album, “Judas Must Die”. A fast paced number reminiscent of early Dio. I’ve seen these guys labelled as Power Metal, which isn’t really that accurate; I would say more of a Melodic classic/traditional metal similar to Dio’s solo work. The production on here though has given them a more harder, modern edge.

The majority of the album is pretty up-tempo vintage stuff, but they do slow things down occasionally, especially on my personal favourite “Heavy Cross To Bear”, this bad-boy wouldn’t sound out of place on any of the Tony Martin era Black Sabbath albums.

Guitarist Lars Chriss knows how to write a riff, his guitar work on here is immense and front-man Nils Patrik Johansson has a simply fantastic voice. More than a passing resemblance to Ronnie James Dio perhaps, but is that really a bad thing?

“Dark Hours” is a very dark sounding album, nothing merry and upbeat at all, and it only gets darker as the album progresses. It really isn’t worth discussing individual tracks, as there is simply no filler on here whatsoever. An album packed full of killer riffs and memorable choruses. If you’re into classic/traditional metal, then this is one for you…!

PIVOTAL ALLIANCE - 5/5

I became a fan of Lions Share when I heard their last album Emotional Coma. It was jam packed with traditional heavy metal riffage and brilliant vocal in the tradition of Tony Martin, Jorn Lande and the legendary Ronnie James Dio. Since then I’ve gone back and picked up the back catalog; no doubt I have really been missing out on some exceptional metal. On Dark Hours they continue down the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal influenced path along with modern day production, contemporay rock/metal values and material that is as commanding and vibrant as what we heard on Emotional Coma. Patrik Johansson is on par with Tony Martin and Ronnie James Dio and is on top of him game on Dark Hours, Johansson is the epitome of Metal God In Waiting. Joining Lars Chriss on guitar on Dark Hours is the extraordinary Michael Romeo of Symphony X. The standout tracks on Dark Hours are; “Judas Must Die,” “The Bottomless Pit,” “Space Scam” and “Behind The Curtain.” After one listen I'm sure you'll agree that Dark Hours will rank amongst one of the best metal album of 2009.

YTSEJAM - 4/5

As their last album Emotional Coma executed the melodic thrash mantra that had edgy textures, Dark Hours purveys a slicker vibe, pertaining to an aggressive form of power metal in vein of Primal Fear and early Blind Guardian. No they still don’t go overboard with any out of unnecessary elements for any kitsch factor, but they crank everything up a notch, continuing the heavy stance that they have always had, but cranking it out with a classy, yet belligerent attitude as well.

With Dark Hours, the wait wasn’t long between this release and the last like it was in the past – and the differences between this and Emotional Coma are apparent, but no complaints are present – again, these guys move forward, on their own terms of course. Starting out the swift riffs of “Judas Must Die” (nice trick with the ride cymbal, I might say), the album’s belligerent stance is set in stone and continued with “Napalm Nights” and “Demons in Your Mind” with endless double bass and hard driving axe attack, but the album has it’s contrasting moments for there are more dark minded cuts such as “Bottomless Pit,” “Heavy Cross to Bear” and “Behind the Curtain;” still the heaviness is in full-force 100%.

The rules of no big background vocals, no big keyboard synths and no massive prog overtones still exists here – led by axeman Lars Chriss along with the soaring vocals of Patrik Johansson and thundering bass of Sampo Axelsson, Lion’s Share have proven to be a force to be reckoned with. Dark Hours also features Anata drummer Conny Pettersson and a guest appearance from Michael Romeo with mixing & mastering from Jens Bogren to max up the metal mayhem involved. Thisnk of the record as being a cross between Judas Priest’s Painkiller meets Rage’s Trapped, with a little Virgin Steel mixed in here and there – it rocks!

ROCK HEAVY LOUD - 9/10

So you know Lion’s Share from their onset, and you witnessed their return in 2007 with the heavier and more modern “Emotional Coma”. Could that prepare you for the titan that “Dark Hours” is?

Not at all, because “Dark Hours” is one of those rarities that only come our way every so often to send you to the ground on all fours as soon as you hit the play button, then proceeding to crush every single bone in your body.

No mercy whatsoever, “Dark Hours” is a relentless assault of everything Metal should be, an exercise of excellence in aggression and melody. Lars Chriss if a true guitar giant with razor sharp riffing and soloing to bring tears to your eyes, assisted to perfection by the flawless Sampo Axelsson in the bass and Stefan Norgren in the drums. Instrumentally, “Dark Hours” is a declaration of war to mediocrity that must be heard to be believed and after which you won’t be the same anymore.

Nils Patrik Johansson (Astral Doors, Wuthering Heights, Space Odyssey) handles the vocal department and he is honestly sublime as usual, shouting his lungs out with the melodies to which master Jens Bogren gave the best production possible.

There are no faults to “Dark Hours”: each song is an unforgettable lesson of metal where – as the band got us used to – even the lyrics are truly good and fit what the instrumentals convey, be them sentimental, tearing, sinister or filled with sarcastic bitterness. A prodigal son of the heritage of such giants as Judas Priest or Dio, “Dark Hours” places Lion’s Share at a whole new level in a championship of their own. If anyone in this world has no idea what Metal is all about, this is the album to show him!

Absolutely essential masterpiece: 2009 had little to no albums of this caliber.

Review By Marco Trigo

MELODIC - 4/5

Lars Chriss is back with his Lions Share and Dark Hours is their 6th album. This is the follow up to 2007's Emotional Coma and continues their journey in the land of melodic metal mixed with some power metal traces with their own trademark style.
This is for fans of Jorn, Dio and Black Sabbath for sure and the singer Patrik Johansson (Astral Doors) is Sweden’s answer to Jorn Lande and sounds so much like Ronnie James Dio and Tony Martin.
So if you're into crushing guitar work, some stunning melodic vocals and hard hitting songs the Dark Hours is an album for you.

They open up the album with the heavy Judas Must Die that is filled with great melodic riffs and a strong chorus. Phantom Rider is a fantastic song with riffantastic guitars and a huge Dio sounding chorus with strong background vocals. The Bottomless Pit is darker with heavy riff based chorus a'la Metallica.
The Presidio 27 start out slow but turns out to a heavy melodic rocker in the chorus that reminds of Helloween, great stuff.
Space Cam makes me think of Jorn with heavy riffs and a melodic chorus.

Dark Hours is a strong release that won’t disappoint Lions Share fans and I think it may even surprise them how good this sounds.
The production is crystal clear and sounds huge and I have never thought that Patrik Johansson had that impressive voice but here he sounds awesome. You will also find some guests on the album such as guitarist Michael Romeo (Symphony X) and drummer Conny Pettersson (Anata). The album has been mixed and mastered by Jens Bogren (Opeth, Symphony X, Paradise Lost). So don’t hesitate to check out this hammering album if you are into heavy melodic stuff.

HARDROCK HAVEN - 8.2/10

Time for a history lesson … Lions Share style. On the Swedish band’s new release, Dark Hours, the gents take you on a journey through the 1960s, but not the “free love, hippy, LSD, tye-dyed” ‘60s, but instead, the Charlie Manson-‘60s. You know, death, destruction, prison-murder, lying government decade. More metallic and viler than Emotional Coma, Lions Share keeps getting heavier and heavier with each release, casting away their Progressive Metal moniker that they found initial success with back in the late ‘90s with Fall from Grace.

Lions Share is truly the brainchild of talented guitarist Lars Chriss, with the other full-time members consisting of Patrik Johansson (vocals) and Sampo Axelsson (bass). The band used two session drummers for recording purposes, Richard Evensand and Conny Pettersson, and included guest guitarist Michael Romeo.

Dark Hours opens with “Judas Must Die.” Listening to the fury Chriss riffs with will remind you of the insane Jeff Waters, self-proclaimed the “fastest riffer in the world.” Take a listen to what Chriss does on any song on Dark Hours, and let the argument begin. “Judas Must Die” is about delusional murderer Charlie Manson, who inspires the band on a few compositions on this release. With lines like “Rebel commander … or just a devil in disguise,” you’ll get their point. The manic pacing and bludgeoning vocals make this one of the best tracks on Dark Hours, and it’s just the opening song.

The song “Demon in Your Mind” sounds Dio/Black Sabbath inspired, with Johansson doing his grittiest Dio-ish vocal delivery. You can hear in this song why the band went a new direction from former singer Andy Engberg, who was a massive talent. Engberg couldn’t pull off something this violent, though, and Johansson’s powerful bellowing energizes the already shockingly fevered track.

You don’t have to riff at a trillion MPHs to be effective — ask Iommi. So, when you get to “The Bottomless Pit,” you’ll hear Chriss take his foot off the pedal and riff with a little more chunky, doomy style. Another song about Manson, you will dig their lyrical journey through madness: “Chains … I really love my chainsaw. It’s like a chain reaction, come and do the dance.” As the song brutally crescendos to the best chorus on the CD, you’ll be coming back to this one again and again.

In an interview with Hardrock Haven, Chriss talked about “The Presidio 27,” a prison uprising where 27 prisoners protested the blatant murder of a fellow inmate Richard Bunch. It’s actually uplifting hearing the chorus, “Sons were dying, mothers crying, pride was suicide. 27 souls from heaven, pride was in their eyes.” This is one of the few songs that are mid-tempo on the release, and Johansson, when he takes the edge off his voice, is uber-melodic — you can hear exactly why he is Lions Share’s singer.

Was America the first country to land on the moon? Yes, but doesn’t that conspiracy make for a wicked song? “Space Scam” is the question of, “Have they ever been here, have we ever been there, to walk the surface on the back side of the moon?” The way they change tempos during the song, with racing, grinding verses and a slower, melodic chorus highlights their songwriting ability. While the riffs pummel you in the head, Chriss can also lay down some raging solos, and his solo on “Space Scam” is one of the most rabid on Dark Hours.

Lions Share is the odd band that continually gets heavier each release as they flirt with major success. Bands like Metallica, who are mellower than Nickelback today, could learn a lesson or 12 from Lions Share. You don’t have to sell out, you can continue making the kind of music you want, while not only keeping but growing your fan base. Dark Hours is “dark” both thematically and musically, and will go down as one of the most cohesive and outright impressive releases of 2009.

CONCRETE WEB - 98/100

All I can tell you about the band’s new album, is that its material sparkles from beginning to end, the only “resting point” being a short passage during the track “Barker Ranch” where a newscast sample is used. Because there’s no mushy ballads on here, the band prefering to go at things full blast all the way! The band apparently still has problems with their drummers, Richard Evensand named as session musician alongside guesting Conny Petersson (of Anata), a December 2008 “band” photo featuring onlu Chriss, Johansson, and Axelsson! Oh yeah, another guest on the album is Symphony X’s Michael Romeo, but regretfully the bio doesn’t mention on which track! For your introduction to the “new” Lion’s Share, check the songs the band posted at myspace.com/lionsshare! Personally, I’ve found myself another album to add to my “Best Albums Of 2009”-list!!! I mean, what else can you do with an album you’ve listened to 5 or 6 times already, when each new listening session is as exhilerating as the previous one, when you can keep listening to each and every track without getting an inkling feeling of getting bored?

By the way, the band has recently signed a deal with Japanese quality label King Records. That version of the album will feature a bonus track in “King Of All Kings”…the same song which will be on the European limited edition digipak! Order it now or risk never being able to get that copy of the album ever after! I mean, I’m already off to the record store as soon as possible, you know!

METAL-NOSE - 9/10

‘Emotional Coma’ was a very successful comeback in 2007 for the Swedish Lion’s Share, since the very beginning the brainchild of guitarist and Jack-of-all-trades Lars Chriss. Since then Lars brims with energy again. One and a half year later I have ‘Dark Hours’ in my hands, the album comes out at their own new label and the band is ready to support this – once again excellent – album with live gigs. The writing process of ‘Emotional Coma’ resulted in such an inspiration boom that some of the songs from that time ended up – in perfected version – on ‘Dark Hours’. For the first time, the mix of a Lion’s Share album was done by someone else and that’s no less a person than Jens Bogren of the Fascination Street Studio, well-known for his work with top acts like Symphony X, Amon Amarth and Katatonia.

Do not fear that the beloved warm, deep sound of a Lion’s Share album is gone now: ‘Dark Hours’ sounds magnificent but it misses by no means a kind of vintage ardour. It is traditional heavy metal with fiery yet emotive guitar skills and delightful vocals of Patrik Johansson (Astral Doors), whose epic expressiveness and voice verges to Dio and Tony Martin. Not conspicuously Black Sabbath appears to be one of the influences of Lion’s Share. Listen to the ponderous ‘Heavy Cross To Bear’ including violin and gloomy choirs in that respect. The album kicks off right away with a stunner. ‘Judas Must Die’ is powerful with tight riffing; an explosion one may experience properly when watching the video.

Theme-wise this album deals with the darker occurrences of the sixties and that’s why ‘Phantom Rider’ (think of Mercyful Fate/King Diamond) and the fast ‘Bottomless Pit’ have a creepy tinge in the vocals (performed in a wonderful manner). Together with ‘Barker Ranch’ (completed with spoken sampler), this triptych is inspired by the outrages of Charles Manson. The closing track ‘Behind The Curtain’ is epic and lingering and features a guitar solo of Michael Romeo (Symphony X). Those who, just like me, still got shivers from a genuine heavy metal album with marvellous vocals and brilliant guitar skills should not miss ‘Dark Hours’. Read the interview and let the music do the talking!

 

METAL COVENANT - M.C RECOMMENDS AWARD!!!

Dark Hours is the sixth full length album from the Swedish heavy metal band Lion's Share, and this time around they have, just like previously, some prominent guests on the album; Conny Pettersson (Anata) on drums and Michael Romeo (Symphony X) on guitar. The album kicks off with the song Judas Must Die, a really powerful song with great riffs and a very catchy refrain, splendidly performed by Patrik Johansson (Astral Doors, Wuthering Heights, Space Odyssey), and it is impossible not to start shaking your head to this and acknowledge a really great song.

This is followed up with Phantom Rider (my personal favourite of the album), and this song contains everything a heavy metal fan could ask for; solos, great riffs and a brilliant vocal effort by Patrik Johansson.

The mid part of this album is a bit slower than the first, with the exception of the song Full Metal Jacket. The riff in this song continues with a very fat sound and a pounding feel to it. This part of the album is in my opinion not as good as the beginning, but that has to do with the fact that I personally prefer fast guitars and powerful drums, but looking at this from a more objective angle it is just as good as the first and last part of the album. The pace picks up again in the last part of the album and hits its creative peak in Barker Ranch.

With Darkest Hours, Lion's Share have delivered a very solid heavy metal album, containing an abundance of great riffs and a very high level of vocal performance. This is an album that really grows on you. It is no big secret that I normally prefer harder and faster metal than this and therefore I was a bit sceptical in the beginning when listening to this album, but after having listened to the album over a period of time, I can not possibly do anything else but acknowledge that it is really great heavy metal album.

With this album, Lion's Share have set the bar high for themselves, and for their next release. One can only hope that they will keep up this kind of high standard metal, and if they do, there is no telling where it might end. I for one is most curious and can't wait for the next album.

METAL CORE

 

This is pure fist banging heavy metal and I love every note of it. This is just balls to the wall metal. The singer reminds me a bit of Dio and this band just churn out some of the best metal these ears have heard in quite some time. The band have just enough melody in the tunes and the combo of that just makes me melt. The production is perfect and the guitar sound is mint. Any fan of metal would be proud to have this in their collection and yeah it is that damn good.

 

METAL TEAM UK

This album immediately grabs you by the hair and bangs your head around the room. Now on album number six, where have these guys been? There have been a number of appearances with Iced Earth, Saxon and Nevermore, and its fair to say that if you like these bands, you will definitely be getting into this new album from these Swedish chaps.

Opening track ‘Judas Must Die’ immediately reminds me of Ronnie James Dio singing in Saxon, now that cannot be bad can it? There are virtuoso lead solos, plenty of pounding chugging bass and consistent powerhouse drums on offer. There is many a NWOBHM influence I feel in this release, although mainly toward what became the twilight hours of that genre, there is still that influence to be heard. I would certainly liken them to some Cloven Hoof riffs as well as the aforementioned Saxon with more British-ness added in melodic leads breaks, like those on ‘Phantom Rider’, to those of the ultimate band Iron Maiden around the Seventh Son album era. Patrik Johansson (Astral Doors) vocals are simply top class, reminiscent of Ted Bullet (Thunderhead – GER), even with the Euro-Style melodic metal music coming through on some tracks, it all sounds wonderfully produced and powerful, generally an up-beat or feel-good disc. Even the pure euro melodic track intro of ‘The Presidio 27’ makes for a cracking tune. I especially like the tune ‘Space Scam’, generally dealing with the question of “have they ever been here, have we ever been there” on the moon, commenting on the many conspiracies that exist about us humans really doing something remarkable in space, of for ever being up there in the first place.

The metal-tastic exuberance continues with many guest musicians on the album, including Michael Romeo (Symphony X), this brings out some of the musicians music to this album, it is not over the top fretboard wankery, the whole album bursts with maturity and solid song structures and arrangements. I for one have not found a weak track on this disc. ‘The Bottomless Pit’ is an extremely similar tune to the new Saxon tracks, but then, it’s a pure metal album, everything will sound similar to some ears. However, the band manages to detract from mere copycats, there are elements of classic album songs on this one, a bold statement, but I for one love this style and think that this is well executed and can hold up to many of the bands in this genre. Their PR statements are true; this CD consumes the listener and makes you want more. This is a very good metal album with depth and clarity and simply killer tunes for all.

METAL REVIEWS - 86/100

 

Sweden's Lion's Share has been around for a while however, this album is only the second one to get a review here at Metal Reviews. Their debut album as well as their second album, Two were both released by Century Media in the mid to late 90's and the band enjoyed touring Europe with the likes of Saxon, Iced Earth, Nevermore and U.D.O. Their earlier work was more melodic metal focussed yet with 1999's Fall From Grace, the band adopted a more heavier style without compromising the melodic aspects of their sound. The Entrance followed in 2001 and then came Emotional Coma in 2007. The 1960's were not only an era of flower power and the whole tune in, turn on and drop out philosophy but they were also a very violent time in our history. This new album, Dark Hours explores the more darker aspects of that decade including the Vietnam War, the human rights violations of Communism as well as the alleged conspiracy of faking of man's first lunar landing. Easily the band's best and heaviest album to date, Lion's Share offers up an excellent album with a classic heavy metal style and features the very Dio-like vocals of Patrik Johansson who also sings for both Astral Doors and Wuthering Heights.

Right from the first track Judas Must Die, the Judas Priest worship is front and centre. The speedy double bass fuelled heavy metal style of Painkiller flows through this track as well as Phantom Rider and even more so with solo drums intro to Demon in Your Mind. The slightly more sinister Dio-style vocals of Patrik Johannson gives Lion's Share a grittier sound yet most tracks still have lots of melody and great melodic choruses. Slower and plodding Sabbath like tempos grace Behind The Curtain and especially Heavy Cross To Bear which comes across as a very Tony Martin era Sabbath-like track. The Bottomless Pit sees more of a fist pumping classic Accept vibe and Full Metal Jacket ventures into U.S. styled power metal territory. More traditional heavy metal can be found with Napalm Nights and Megadeth's Hangar 18 stuttering riff styles can be found with track Space Scam. A decidedly Queensryche vibe complete with chiming clean guitars mixed with heavier passages gives The Presidio 27 a nice change of pace. Michael Romeo of Symphony X does a few guest solos on this album but otherwise, the lead guitar work is a mix between harmonized leads, shredding as well as very expressive melodic styles.

There's absolutely nothing new, innovative or ground breaking with Dark Hours but when a heavy metal album is done this well, there doesn't need to be. It's a little "front heavy" with most of the best songs being in the first half of the album but there are no filler tracks and a wide variety of tempos and heavy metal styles, awaits the listener. Fans of the more "muscular" power metal of Brainstorm, Mystic Prophecy, older Iced Earth and Dream Evil should check out this album immediately! The classic heavy metal mixed with a little power metal and lots of solid memorable choruses and great guitar riffs here has created a recipe for a truly outstanding album. The band should be very proud of Dark Hours and I cannot recommend it enough for those who are fans of this style of metal and even the casual traditional/power metal listeners will also find lots to like here.

ROCK-IS-LIFE - 5/5

The Good
Raise up those devil horns because Lions Share hits you with all their metal power and might on the opening track "Judas Must Die." "Phantom Rider" stars off subtle, but quickly fires off a twin thrash-style guitar attack. "Demon in Your Mind" not only delivers another furious twin guitar attack, but now the rapid-fire percussion section joins in the onslaught. The chorus is melodic yet still evil in its delivery. "The Bottomless Pit" is both haunting and intense. "Full Metal Jacket" is epic in its presentation and it full of heavy riffs and powerful vocals. "The Presidio 27" displays the group's diversity by slowing things down to almost a commercial sound. The focus is on vocal melody here, but the guitars still kick you in the teeth.

The Bad
Nothing

The Verdict
If heavy metal music was a poker game, then Blistering Records has been holding four aces. Lions Share's latest release has had a long promotional period. Their label has been pushing it for quite some time prior to it's release. And it was well worth it! Lions Share have come out of literally nowhere and delivered a thrash metal masterpiece. Drawing on the legends of the past (Metallica, Megadeth, Slayer), the group delivers what metal lovers crave. The riffs are heavy, the music is powerful, and the twin guitar attacks will make anyone bust out their air guitars. Dark Hours is intense and already a metal classic in my book.

PULL THE CHAIN - 9/10

 

After the standard set by their 2007 come-back album «Emotional Coma» (released through the German label AFM Records), you may have wondered if Lions Share could keep it up without the surprise effect. Well to be honest and in few words, with «Dark Hours», the Swedish band not only equals but almost on every song surpasses its previous effort. Opener «Judas Must Die» kicks things off in what you now can label as typical Lions Share style with plenty of lead guitar lines, good powerful vocal works and a right balance between speed, power and heavy metal. The second thing which struck you at the listen of those eleven new compositions is how well Nils Johansson’s vocals fit on the melodic yet powerful music composed by the band. To sum things up, if you like the afore-mentioned genres or if the 2007 «Emotional Coma» often visits your CD player, then the new Lions Share work shall be your next big thing.

 

POWER OF METAL - 95/100

 

Brilliant, Awesome, Classic, Magnificent, Pure Heavy Metal, are all words to describe the new Lion’s Share album Dark Hours, their 6th studio album & second with one of today’s best Metal singers, in Nils Patrik Johansson (Astral Doors, Wuthering Heights). The man is the evil spawn of Ronnie James Dio but he does have a very distinctive voice and one you can’t mistake for anybody else, well expect for DIO, in parts. Lars Chriss is the only founding member left of Lion’s Share & the man knows how to write some killer riffs and shred his ass off.

 

The album kicks off with “Judas Must Die” which is a fast, neck breaking monster of a song. I guarantee your head will nod with this song. And also the first video clip off Dark Hours, which is included on the digipack. “Phantom Rider” starts off with a nice little 20 second piano interlude before Lars rips open with a killer solo and double bass kick drums smash your head in. “Heavy Cross To Bear” is real dark & doomy which is not a bad thing and reminds me a lot of the Black Sabbath-TYR album. Really there is no need to go through each track on Dark Hours. Because there is no fillers, just ass kicking traditional heavy metal. Played with passion and spirit. The listener gets 45 minutes of pure evil enjoyment. There’s a guest appearance by Symphony X guitarist Mike Romeo (solo on “Behind the Curtain”).

 

Dark Hours is a very dark album and it just gets darker as its goes along. Every metal head alive should have this album in their collection. And maybe some of the so called top bands in metal today should take a listen to see how real fucking heavy metal should sound!!!!!!!!!!

 

Highly Highly Recommended!

 

METAL MANIA - 87/100

 

Lion's Share returned to the musical front in 2007 after six years of silence with the powerful album "Emotional Coma". Away with sweet melodies, welcome to the power. The power is also the main dish on the new Lion's Share menu; guitarist and bandleader Lars Chriss got Patrik Johansson on vocals and he is one of the main characteristics on the album. A powerful voice, guided by powerful guitar riffs and a pounding rhythm section are the ingredients of "Dark Hours".
"Judas must De" kicks off, and it is not surprising that the band also shot a video for this song. I must admit that certain parts of songs reminded me of other bands, like Black Sabbath, Judas Priest and a couple of others. In "Heavy Cross To Bear", Johansson sounds a bit like Dio, where on other songs I feel he's more resembling Tony Martin. Michael Romeo was also invited to do a guest solo and it quite fits into this album. I haven't found any flaws on this album, so all powerfreaks, go to your shops and buy this one. It's a killer album!

 

HEAVY METAL COSMOS - 9/10

I knew for sure that Lions Share would not release a bad product, but I didn’t expect this amazing album, after nearly a 20year career. "Dark Hours", is with no sign of exaggeration, a heavy metal holocaust and shows its claws from the beginning, and the outstanding "Judas Must Die", is like an encounter of Dio (which influences are diffused and strong almost in every song), with Thrash.
The continuity is also amazing, as each song competes with the other in significance and orchestration.
The solos make an impression as they are very conscientious and pretty avant-garde, but also the coherence of the bass with the drums that creates an unshakeable keystone to place the real heavy metal music.
As for the vocals words are not enough to describe, as I assume that Nils Patrik Johansson is one of the top metal voices, and I am a fan of every group he has participated (see Astral Doors, Wuthering Heights).
Even though the album is bedighted with 11 musical jewels, allow me to pick out "Phantom Rider" with the alla King Diamond style, the scary heavy and leaden "Heavy Cross To Bear" and the speed "Full Metal Jacket", which is really speedy.
The real heavy metal lives and rules even through these dark hours and these current gentlemen contests the biggest part of it, or the lion’ s share!

 

ROCK PAGES

These Swedish guys are the very definition of power! One could say that the band is German, simply residing in Sweden. Yet those Scandinavians honor their grand Metal school and their history – they started in 1995 – by releasing an album, which is purely according το the Metal specification of a thunderous Metal project.

Impressive METAL, featuring Power elements, inspired by German tanks and the Jag Panzer University. Amazing solos, beautiful songs (“Barker Ranch” is an epic!), with Priest and NWOBHM spots here and there... In general, we are talking about a band fully respecting its own existence, its influences, Metal itself.

Patrik Johansson has a fantastic voice. Not only he sounds fabulously crispy, he’s totally captivating, having some Dio and Tyrant “data” and madness. Based on the fact that the songs he had to sing are so well-played, it was nothing but easy to lift them high. I was really glad to read that “Dark Hours” was the album of the month in Sweden and the band just got a distribution deal for Japan. I just wish that this sixth album of the Lions be their most successful, till their seventh, of course. Oh, let me add this one… guitar solo on “Behind the curtain” belongs to mighty Mike Romeo (Symphony X).