Pride Of Lions Pride Of Lions Frontiers Records
· Produced By: Jim Peterik & Larry Millas

· Running Time: 60.20

· Release Date: November 10

· Released: EU

· Musical Style: AOR & Melodic Rock

· Links: Pride Of Lions Frontiers
Songs: 99%
Sound: 98%
For those that have been living under a rock, Pride Of Lions is the new Jim Peterik melodic rock vehicle that features Jim alongside new discovery, vocalist Toby Hitchcock. Toby's just 25, but is happy to jump aboard Jim's first foray into traditional straight ahead melodic rock and AOR since Survivor. Yes, it has been that long!
Jim has of course been as busy as he ever was, writing and producing with many artists – including Kelly Keagy, Lynyrd Skynyrd, 38 Special and of course the monster debut Mecca album.
But this is the first time he has performed and released his own AOR project since the late 80's.
Since his departure from Survivor, Jim has toured and recorded with the reformed Ides Of March and released a debut album for his classic rock styled World Stage project.
In 2001 Jim hooked up with Joe Vana to co-write and produce the awesome Mecca album, which also featured Toto's Fergie Frederiksen.
That helped build a fresh desire to return to where Jim's heart lays – traditional 80's style melodic music.
Pride Of Lions is a real mixture of influences. It's a combination of everything Jim has done in the past, with a couple of other 80's influences included.
The primary musical influence is clearly that of Survivor. This could almost be the follow up to Too Hot For Sleep, while elsewhere there are touches of Vital Signs and When Seconds Count.
Then there's the World Stage factor. Jim has a naturally earthy feel to his songs, and that shone through with the Midwestern style of the straight ahead classic rock of World Stage. That continues here, as does the dual vocal approach on that album.
Jim can be heard here trading lines and verses with Toby on several tracks and it works perfectly. The rough bluesy vocal of the master over the sweet harmonies of the young apprentice.
There is also the Mecca factor. Just as that album included two lead singers, it had a track pattern of rocker/ballad/rocker/ballad. To some extent, that is also a feature here. It works well, as the songs are all perfectly crafted, but I do think there is one occasion where it hurt the momentum of the album.
And just to prove he's the master at just about everything, Jim's written a couple of tracks that sound like they could have been included on Toto IV.
I would be remiss not to talk of the new boy here – Toby Hitchcock. This is Toby's first assignment as a vocalist and he passes it with flying colors. His voice is youthful, yet powerful and suits the music included here wonderfully. His voice can be compared favorably to that of Toto's Bobby Kimball and Survivor's Jimi Jamison, not to mention a little of Starship's Mickey Thomas. But one of the biggest vocal comparisons when Toby isn't flying into the high notes is to that of Mecca's Joe Vana. Yes, the two sound like brothers. Toby's debut is impressive, but as a young vocalist, he still has some developing to do. Which is scary really, as you can tell he's fresh, but his range and his tone is already fantastic. The only thing that will come with experience and with age is further warmth to his voice.
Another important note about the album is the amount of guitar featured. On several tracks the guitar riffs come flying thick and fast. It features some of the most fired-up Peterik guitar parts since….well, ever!
Track By Track:
The album opens with the perfect mood setting intro, which bursts into the guitar driven It's Criminal. Toby's opening lines are commanding and authorative and set the album up perfectly. The song is pure Survivor – a melodic verse and then a chorus that comes from nowhere, all the time building the intensity of the album. Although it's a fairly simple track, everything about it oozes class and for no other reason than it's perfectly crafted, the song is instantly planted in your head. Brilliant.
Gone gives the impression it might be a ballad, especially with the piano intro. But the track fires up into a moody mid-tempo pop/rocker. Jim takes lead for the first verse, with Toby joining in for the bridge and then taking over completely for the massive chorus, which is another instantly catchy hook.
There is no mistaking Interrupted Melody for anything other than a big ballad. The soft piano intro, the orchestral musical accompaniment and yes, strings. Like many Peterik songs, this one has another strong verse-bridge-chorus arrangement and as each chorus comes around, the intensity of the song builds. Perfect melodic rock, with some fine harmony vocals throughout.
It's tracks like Sound Of Home which make life worthwhile. This is a textbook AOR anthem, with every ingredient included for fans of the old-school sound to get excited about. There's the driven guitar riff, plenty of keyboards, a melodic verse, building bridge and then a chorus that just goes right over the top! Jim sings the verse, with Toby coming in to take the chorus into overdrive. Magic stuff and one of the top contenders for song of the year.
It's at this point in the album I would have liked another uptempo number. Prideland is a first rate slow to mid-tempo rock song, but the tempo was really on a roll after Sound Of Home. Despite that observation, Prideland is still very cool. It's a stripped back, reflective and somewhat soulful track that would have been at home on World Stage. Jim and Toby share vocals, and sound right at home together. The song features some fine soft guitar playing, as it builds throughout.
Unbreakable is a straight ahead rocker, with plenty of guitar going in all directions. Toby's vocals are again commanding, while Jim's guitar playing is fabulous. Lots of little riffs and rhythms throughout. The tone of the track is quite dark and just that little bit aggressive. But the end of the track is what does it for me – this is pure shred-fest stuff, with guitars and vocals all over the place. A great rocker and nice aggressive number!
Reverting back to a more laid back feel, First Time Around The Sun is something a little different. The tempo is slow to mid-tempo, but the track is no ballad. Rather it is a pomp-ish, jazzy pop number that could have come from any early Toto album. Toby is dead on for Bobby Kimball, while Jim does his best David Paich. And to add to all that – the song is as catchy as hell!
Keeping the pace of the album flowing well is Turn To Me. This is another example of perfect straight ahead melodic rock/AOR with a major 80's keyboard slant, but a nice guitar riff for texture. Another pure Survivor track, this one features Jim and Toby trading verses and winds up with some great solo guitar work.
Madness of Love is a mid-tempo and moody rock track that features more strong lead guitar riffs and another duel vocal performance. The verse is soft, the chorus is far more intense. Hard to compare this track – another World Stage style track, but more melodic and definitely Survivor-ish.
Love Is On The Rocks is another classic piece of keyboard driven 80's rock a la early Survivor and Toto. The verse remains fairly stripped back, then there's a bridge that builds to a slightly more powerful chorus. Pure 80's pop here.
Last Safe Place is a classic ballad. Classy all the way and if the world was fair would find itself on the biggest movie soundtrack of the year and would be a #1 hit. This is a fabulous lighters-in-the-air romantic ballad that features a big vocal from Toby and a chorus that's an instant hit from the start. Another album highlight!
Music And Me closes the album in the same manner that Rick Springfield has done on a few occasions – with a storyteller track – and an autobiographical one at that. The song basically describes where Jim's heart lies and what his music means to him. And for that reason, many will relate easily to this.
The song itself features Jim upfront initially, with Toby joining in. This is a powerful track that is mid-tempo throughout, but builds dramatically through the mid-section guitar-fest, then switches tempo – up another notch during a bridge section - before switching back to how it started. A rollercoaster ride if you will, much like most of this album!
The Bottom Line
For fans of Survivor, Jim Peterik, Mecca, Toto and classic 80's style melodic rock and AOR - this is an album that has it all. It's just fabulous and is without question, the best pure traditional melodic rock album of 2003.
It's also a long album…the 12 tracks run just over an hour and the songs themselves aren't short. They all run 4 to 6 minutes.
The great strength of the album is the diversity of the music. There are big ballads, moody mid-tempo tracks, soaring AOR anthems and guitar driven rockers. Something for everyone that loves old-school melodic music.
Jim Peterik's songs once again come out as the winners in all this, but let's not forget the fabulous vocal talents of Toby Hitchcock, who is seriously only going to get better and better.
To sum up – this is really the stuff. This is the kind of album I live for. This is why I do this website - so I can pass on the good word about classic melodic rock and AOR albums like this. And this is classic. The debut Pride Of Lions album is everything we hoped for and expected of, the great Jim Peterik. Just about perfect, but certainly 100% classic!
Previously Projects
· Ides Of March
· Survivor
· Mecca

Line Up
· Toby Hitchcock: Vocals
· Jim Peterik: Vocals, Guitar, Keyboards
· Ed Breckenfield, Hilary Jones: Drums
· Mike Aquino: Guitar
· Christian Cullen: Keyboards
· Clem Hayes: Bass

Essential for fans of:
· Survivor
· Mecca
· Toto
Track Listing
· It's Criminal*
· Gone*
· Interrupted Melody*
· Sound Of Home*
· Prideland
· Unbreakable
· First Time Around The Sun*
· Turn To Me
· Madness of Love
· Love Is On The Rocks
· Last Safe Place*
· Music And Me
--*Best Tracks

01/02/06: Rachel -
Rating: 100
TURN TO ME is worth the price of the cd alone.

album of the year.

03/12/05: The Sims -
Rating: 97
I bought PRIDE OF LIONS 2nd album actually and it never stopped playing since...

so with interest, i finally bought the 1st album (yeah i live my life in reverse or

even better than the 2nd!!!!

This is a masterpiece.....BUY IT!

nb: it may be 2 years old, but the sound is more fresh than your skin after a shower! :D

04/11/04: Gabi -
Rating: 79
It´s a good album of melodic hard rock, but isn´t perfect. I think that Almir is right when he says that some songs look from a "b" movie, because those songs are extremely boring. Any case a like the album very much and think that is one of the best of last year. Ope the second one will be similar or better.

12/09/04: steve powis -
Rating: 95
I have had this album for ages but still feel it necessary to write a brief review all this time later.

For lovers of great AOR, up beat anthems and smouldering balllads - "it don't get much better than this".
The first 4 tracks are tremendous and the album is worth buying for these alone. The tempo is kept up throughout and it ends an a high with "Last safe Place" and "Music in Me".


29/07/04: Ian -
Rating: 95
What a magnificent cd this is.Nuff said

27/07/04: Terry -
Rating: 95
Wow! This is AOR at it's best. The album is worth buying just for "Sound of Home". There is nothing new on this album. You have heard it all before, BUT HOLY SH*T this album is great. One of the best AOR albums of the decade (or ever?). Every aspect of this album is head and shoulders above the competition. A must buy.

24/06/04: guillermo -
Rating: 95
UN muy buen album mis temas favoritos son unbreakeable, music and me y love is on rocks el resto se deja escuchar sin embargo es en conjunto inferior a cualquier album de survivor posterior e inclusive al Vital Signs.Dudo que este sea el mejor disco de AOR de los ultimos anos aunque tampoco se me viene a la cabeza otro mejor.

17/06/04: kevin -
Rating: 85
I LOVE JIM PETERIK'S WORK. I just wish he would have done a album with Jimi Jamison. I think he had Jamison in mind when he hired Toby as a vocalist. Most of these tunes could have been on a Survivor project. He still has it and most of the songs are great especially when he combines crisp clean keyboards with heavy guitars.

27/05/04: Chewsmoka -
Rating: 90
To call this the most overhyped cd or just boring, well, my suggestion is go back to listening to your Nickelback,Creed, or crying over the fact that DLR should be back with VH instead of Sammy. Now, to this excellent CD, one word: beautiful.I dont expect a reunited Survivor, but this has surpassed all expectations and Toby is one helluva singer, and Jim, buddy, you never sounded better.The only reason this doesn't get a perfect score is that it does get repetative by track 7.Can't wait for the next CD!

29/03/04: Craig Bishop -
Rating: 36
Boring, most overhyped Cd of 2003! God help the melodic rock scene if this is what people call ALBUM OF THE YEAR. Tried to get into it but there is no heart or soul to it. Sounds like they are just going through the motions. Very disappointing!

06/02/04: Keith McKay -
Rating: 85
This is a good melodic realease featuring the much admired Jim Peterik and young newcomer Toby Hitchcock on vocals. The album is excellently produced and features a good mix of rockers, mid-tempo tracks & ballads. Hitchcock is a real find, his voice is very strong and he sings the tracks very well, combined with good overall musicianship it is a strong release. The four stand out tracks are a) It's Criminal, b)Sound of Home, c) Unbreakable and d) Love Is On The Rocks. To put it simply those four songs are classic, top-notch melodic rock numbers, however the reason I can't score the album any higher than 85 is that the rest of the song's aren't up to the same standard. Now don't get me wrong, there other good tracks on the album they just aren't the all time classics that other people are claiming they are. I think that this album is good but just not an album we'll look back on in ten years and saying "yeah, it doesn't get any better" (or whatever we say when looking back at golden times!)

02/02/04: Scott -
Rating: 95
I just bought the album and the single for "sound of home". I'm very pleased with both. This is my first venture into the world of Jim Peterik and I can see why he is so acclaimed as a songwriter. This cd sounds fresh and inspired. Teriffic!

28/01/04: Isaac -
Rating: 30
Don't usually like posting negative reviews, but to help provide some balance I've got to go with Almir and just say this is def. not going to be everyone's thing. I love Survivor, but I was squirming with embarrassment listening to this; I think the choruses fall flat and the general tone of the album is incredibly middle-aged and unsexy - the very opposite of what pop rock should be.

24/01/04: Lindsay Jamison -
Rating: 100
YEAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH, This is the dogs bollocks. I bought this after reading Andrews review, what a fuckin album, truly amazing, if you don't like this you must be fuckin' deaf. If you love AOR/MELODIC ROCK buy this now or else F.O.A.D.

06/01/04: Vicent -
Rating: 100
This is a hell of an album...i can´t explain with words what this album makes me feel. Simply fantastic...Lo mejor que he escuchado en muchisimo tiempo.

24/12/03: bob -
Rating: 97
Oh, thank you Andrew for, for without it I would not have discovered and been blown away by this treasure. If you think you get chills up and down your spine each time you run through the CD try it with some Jack on the rocks! P.S. I left it a smidegeon short of 100 because I think there is some room for imnprovement in Toby's singing. I wee bit more confidence will carry him up and over the top--and I can hardly wait for their second album.

05/12/03: Alistair -
Rating: 100
I have played this about 20 times since I got it last week. Every listen is fresh but it stills sounds like Survivor to me. As they are one of the best AOR bands no bad thing. I love the guitar playing also, which is of the top notch variety. I played it 2 a pal who immediately said he was going to buy it. So if you do not have it, get it.

01/12/03: Dave M. -
Rating: 98
Most of this year I've been looking for that 'great' AOR album and getting more and more dissapointed with whats on offer within this genre, but I picked this up from Loud One mail order a couple of days ago (on there recommendation!)put it into the car CD, slammed up the volume and whey-hey THIS IS IT!!! It's got the lot...great songs, well written, superbly played, clean crisp production, and what can only be described as a stunning vocalist! The disc has been played non-stop now and just gets better and better with every listen. So if you are looking for some stunning AOR look no further.

30/11/03: Simon Shorten -
Rating: 100
The search is over. This is what I have waited for; The most powerful, emotional, nerve tingling masterpiece that I have found. Years of buying good albums and occasionally great albums ie Dare - Belief, but Pride of Lions is something special, this is what it is all about. If you are reading this site its because you love great music and it just doesn't get any better. Thanks to Jim and Toby for making an emotional rock masterpiece. If Sound of Home does not raise your neck hair and make you realise why music can be so emotive then nothing will. If you buy one album this year it must be this.

29/11/03: Antonio V. -
Rating: 100
Amazing album from a master of his game, mr.Peterik.Hats up.This album will live for many years,for me this is a classic.The boy makes a fantastic work,high class vocalist!!Another one like this next year please...

29/11/03: frank -
Rating: 80
It's a good record but not a "99"????
Nothing new under the sun!A fucking good singer and the sound is also good!

29/11/03: Marc -
Rating: 100

As Andrew wrote, this album has it all!!!
Yes, I think it has.
No more comments.......

29/11/03: freddy de keyzer -
Rating: 95
I know, I know ! This is my highest rating EVER ! It even beates Mecca (score : 92) ! But this is BY FAR ALBUM OF THE YEAR ! Brilliant AOR is what we get here, and it's done perfectly. We all know what mr.Peterik is capable of, he's a world talent, but the real find here is Toby Hitchcock ! Great voice and a real talent ! Of course the songs are of the highest calibre ! Fantastic musicians, great singer, fantastic songs and KEYBOARDS ! Finally a band that's not afraid to use keys ! In my humble opinion, AOR can't do without keys. That's why I love classic AOR and why I loathe those new, modern bands (refusing to use keys, mostly !!!).
Yes, THIS IS A MUST HAVE ! If you only buy one record this year, it should this piece of classic, timeless AOR !!! A GEM !!!

29/11/03: Almir -
Rating: 40
Finally. An interactive review for this album.
First, I don't have anything against this people and second, in the last few years I build my discography based on the reviews that I read on this site. Some highs and lows, here and there, but I think that they're pretty much fair. But THIS one I don't understand. Why all this noise about this record?
Like I wrote in the miscellaneous reviews, after 3 or 4 listenings (and I couldn't take it any more), it reminds me an old Patrick Swayze "B" movie shot in some small town in the early 80's. Outdated vocals and weak songs. And whith all due respect to their fans, I didn't know that "Survivor" means soooo much for the melodic rock world either! 1 or 2 good songs and that's it. I kind of embarassed to listen to this CD with my fiancé and my son. Despite that I'm 44, it makes me feel a lot older.

28/11/03: LUCA -
Rating: 100

28/11/03: Apostolos Kaponis -
Rating: 90
Simply, the best melodic rock release of the year.

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