Lion's Share - Lion's Share and Two

Year of Release: 1997
Label: Century Media
Catalog Number: 77153-2 / 77154-2
Format: CD
Total Time: 50:57:00

This is interesting ... I have the chance to review 3 bands, 4 different discs, all at the same time. It won't be a full blown review like I normally do because I'd be here until tomorrow writing that one up, but I know lots of people have been asking about these 3 bands, and now is a good time. The reason I am doing a tri-review, and what draws me to these bands, is the common denominator to all 3 bands, the singer. Anders Engberg is one of the best singers I have heard in metla and that is saying something. Lots of people are surprised that I even like this guy, and I can't understand that because his voice is very pleasing and powerful at the same time. He is not a growler or a screamer, although he can do both. What he does is sing great, and it always sounds like he is pouring his heart out into what he is doing. This is not to say that I enjoy everything he sings, as we will see, but I respected his voice enough to grab all of these discs and have them taped for me previously. So, with that in mind, here are my thoughts on these bands. In the order of preference as well.

[For the database, I had to split out Larry's reviews... but the order to read them in is Sorcerer, Lion's Share and Twilight - ed. Aug 2005]

This band has to be one of the most discussed bands that Erik Welty [Perpetual Motion poster] and I have continued to carry on. We've been discussing this band for nearly a year, and it still amazes him that I can't get totally into this band. For starters, I would have to say that Anders is in super form here, and most of what I say goes for both discs. To me, II [Two] is the natural continuation of I [Lion's Share]. The music is completely different from that of Sorcerer or Twilight, in that the style can be described as some sort of an accessible, power / prog metal sound. There are plenty of time changes, and I have to admit that I have a hard time following the melodies on most of the songs because there is always something different happening. This band is not happy staying still long enough to allow you to start toe tapping, because when you get it going, they know it and they switch time and start almost another version of the song within the same song. A highly progressive band.

Lion's Share adds some synth keys here and there to give them that accessible sound I talked about earlier, although there is no doubt that this band is a guitar-driven band all the way. While some of the songs are very interesting, I think the problem I have with most of them is that they have this "cold," "unemotional" feeling to them. Some of the discussions we had honed right in on the "warmth" or lack of it from my perspective. Although some of the songs actually sound like they may be a a bit on the accessible or commercial side, they have this cold feel about them that makes me reach for a blanket every time I hear this band. Anders Engberg is in rare form here though. He seems to have found his comfort zone musically, even though he is singing some "colder" songs, the songs are put together in a way that he at least has to keep up with the music, instead of vice versa. It is interesting that for a melodic voice as his, he manages to sound simply brilliant in front of some cold songs.

Another thing is that Lion's Share is a VERY talented and capable band, and they are not happy just kicking out common, average metal. They certainly inject enough thought and progression into their songs to keep even some technical fans happy, even though the music is not of a technical nature. This gives an idea of the talent level of the band. The production is much cleaner, heavier and punchier than on Sorcerer, and if you like your power metal crunchy, heavy and thought-provoking, this band might please the hell out of you. One of my main problems with this band, and it seems to be a trend among lots of prog metal bands. On some songs, it sounds like the vocal lines have been intentionally moved to another key, or at least made to sound like it, in conjunction with the melody lines. In other words, it sounds like the singer is way off key lots of times, and I've heard it on too many discs and songs to think it is a mistake. It appears that this may be a trend, and lots of bands are doing this to my dismay. It's not hard to hear it either. It sounds like the singer is singing a different song than the one actually being played. It gives the feeling of one scratching fingernails on a chalkboard or scratching a fork on a pan. Some don't have a problem with this sound, but I do.

There isn't an ounce of "warmth" to be found on any of these songs, or at least I don't hear it, and this takes away from my enjoyment of an otherwise talented band. Power heads that want something different in their music may find this band enjoyable, and prog metal fans who don't mind coldness, or the vocal phenomenon I described, will enjoy this as well. I dare anyone to keep tapping their toes to this one without getting confused in every song.

[I am assuming that Larry's references to I and II refer to the first and second full length releases [as noted], as I've not found any entitled I and II :-) - ed. PW]

Previous - Sorcerer | Next - Twilight

Lion's Share: Sins Of A Father (4:12) / Arabia (5:49) / Scarecrow (5:43) / Play By The Rules (5:20) / Judgment Day (5:38) / Nothing's Free (4:29) / Haunted (6:38) / Just In Time To Be Late (3:11) / Taking On The World (3:49) / Searchin' For Answers (6:10) [tracklisting for first edition (1995); reissue changes order and drops Nothing's Free and Taking On The World]

Two: Wild At Heart (5:20) / Lord Of The Pain (4:19) / Transient (3:53) / Don't Come Easy (4:40) / Shadows (5:05) / Baptism Of Fire (8:45) / Flash In The Night (4:17) / World Gone Wrong (4:21) / Rat-Race (3:46) -- TOTAL: 44:26

Lars Chriss - guitar
Anders Engberg - vocals
Kay Backlund - keyboard
Johan Koleberg - drums
Pontus Egberg - bass

Lion's Share (1995/1997)
Two (1996/1997)
Perspective (2000) (re-issue of first 2 albums, plus bonus trks)
Entrance (2001)
Emotional Coma (2007)
Dark Hours (2009)

Genre: Progressive/Power Metal

Origin SE

Added: July 25th 1999
Reviewer: Larry "LarryD" Daglieri

Artist website:
Hits: 1053
Language: english


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