While it is unrealistic to expect the son of a world-renowned musician to naturally sound like (or even want to sound like) his father, the fact is, when your last name is Dickinson, people are going to judge you based on preconceived notions. Author Joe Hill knows all about it; his father is master horror storyteller Stephen King, and when Hill started out, he intentionally took on his mother’s maiden name (bad pun, sorry, couldn’t resist) to avoid the inevitable comparisons to his old man. And though it probably needn’t be said, I’m going to say it anyway just so we’re clear though it probably needn’t be said, I’m going to say it anyway just so we’re clear:
And though it probably needn’t be said, I’m going to say it anyway just so we’re clear:And though it probably needn’t be said, I’m going to say it anyway just so we’re clear: As Lions does not sound anything like Iron Maiden (or Bruce Dickinson’s solo work, for that matter). And vocalist Austin Dickinson doesn’t sound anything like his father.
There. Now that’s out of the way.
Though Selfish Age (Better Noise) does boast a handful of heavy riffs and double bass breaks, As Lions tread a path that is decidedly more radio rock than anything else, and this is not necessarily a bad thing. Each song on the album, save one, conforms rather comfortably to that specific three-and-a-half minute “don’t bore us, get to the chorus” format. Restrained verses building into big catchy melodies. You know the drill. Some of these songs will be stuck in your head after one or two listens.
Fans of Lacuna Coil will dig the shit out of tracks like ‘Aftermath’ and ‘Bury My Dead,’ and a particular highlight of Selfish Age comes by way of ‘The Suffering,’ which sounds as if it was written by Sevendust circa 2005. Much of the album, in fact, seems to channel the commercial stylings of heavy rock music from the early noughties, which, again, isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The problem with Selfish Age is not that the songs feel familiar, it’s that they feel a bit too familiar.
As Lions know how to write a song, but they haven’t found themselves yet. Selfish Age is a promising, if at times unfocused, first step on a journey toward self-discovery.