Assemble a line up of half a dozen new rock bands and play them to me and I’d struggle to identify As Lions. Stick their songs on the radio between others and I likely wouldn’t bat an eyelid, more anxious to hear what was going to follow it.
Selfish Age is a fine debut album. If it was a film, it’d be one of Michael Bay’s Transformers movies. A popcorn flick for your ears; the kind you stick on whilst you get ready to go out. I know plenty of people who like As Lions and as my first exposure to them, I’m struggling to find even a germ of where the hype originates from.
Obviously, there is an appeal to a demographic that I’ve just never resonated with and I’m sure that lot will eat this up but it’s just not for me. As much as I like well-produced material (realistically there’s no excuse for shoddy production in 2017); here it’s gone to the other extreme where it’s over-produced to make something very clinical and sanitary.
That being said, there are a couple of highlights in the form of “The Suffering” and the title track “Selfish Age”. The former has massive driving guitars and shares the similarity in the title track in that they’re obvious singles for radio airplay. If I’d heard the latter, I would have been drawn in enough to dig out more of their stuff.
Meanwhile the grittiness of the former shows what the band could be and had this album been comprised of tracks like that, I’d be raving about it instead. The soaring melodic vocals of Austin Dickinson showcases him at his best and he’s got a great set of vocal cords on him when approaching material like that.
With some tweaking and growth, there is potential for As Lions and a band to keep an eye out for. It wouldn’t be the first time a band has changed direction. Even if they’re not to my taste, I could see them becoming a force to be reckoned with in the coming years.
As for Selfish Age itself and the band, there’s a tightness and professionalism which screams “This is who we are”. A band that has their eyes on the big leagues from the beginning, adamant to reach it, even if not every rock fan is interested in this type of rock.
Selfish Age is out now.