20th January – Better Noise Records
02. The Suffering
03. Bury My Dead
05. Selfish Age
06. White Flags
08. World On Fire
09. One By One
10. The Fall
11. The Great Escape
Any fans of Rise To Remain will have likely kept an eye on the new band from ex members Austin Dickinson, Will Homer, and Conor O’Keefe, who along with ex-Against The Flood bassist Stefan Whiting make up As Lions. While the heavier, more riff oriented writing style their former band boasted may have departed with Ben Tovey, As Lions’ debut Selfish Age shows all the promise of the next big pop rock act. Austin’s soaring vocals provide the perfect hooks in many instances.
As Lions recorded both their debut EP, Aftermath, and Selfish Age together, and the album features all four songs from the EP. It’s an interesting tactic in an ever-changing landscape of release approaches, and it makes sense; Aftermath was a good introduction to the band, but it did feel like fragments of a whole, and Selfish Age fills the gaps well.
With less technicality and intensity than Rise To Remain, As Lions’ focus is more on hooks and mood rather than riffs and solos. The guitar work from Will Homer and Conor O’Keefe is usually simple yet effective and lends itself to the massive choruses, such as in “The Suffering”, “White Flags” and “One By One”. Hooky intros add extra memorability to songs, and while lyrically the material isn’t too dissimilar from Rise To Remain’s central themes – unity, struggle and the like – when coupled with their huge melodies it’s quite powerful and makes for enjoyable listening.
With a sound akin to Papa Roach‘s post ‘nu’ phase, As Lions are set up to be a real crowd pleaser and whether you welcome the softer approach to their previous endeavours or dislike it, there is no denying that Selfish Age has the kind of huge choruses to get academies singing along. The band have certainly pushed their live show in the US but the UK has been excluded slightly, with no substantial tour since their support run with Wovenwar back in early 2015, so here’s hoping that begins to change following the release of Selfish Age.