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Album Review : Lionheart – The Grace of a Dragonfly

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Review by Lydia Evans for MPM

Lionheart returned on 23rd February 2024 with their latest album, The Grace of a Dragonfly. The album follows the critically acclaimed The Reality of Miracles, which was released July 2020.

Lionheart is a supergroup formed in 1980 by guitarist Dennis Stratton (Iron Maiden), guitarist Steve Mann (Liar, Michael Schenker), bassist Rocky Newton (Wildfire, Michael Schenker), Jess Cox (Tygers of Pan Tang) and Frank Noon (Def Leppard).

The drummer’s seat eventually was given to Clive Edwards (Pat Travers, UFO). The band was a regular at London’s famous Marquee Club in the 1980s and has undergone different vocalists through the years.

In 2016 promoters from the Rockingham Festival asked Lionheart to unite for one performance – this is
when vocalist Lee Small (Shy) was brought in. The rest is history: Lionheart has now released multiple albums together since 2016 as well as performing in Japan, Spain, and the UK.

The Grace of a Dragonfly is a concept album centering around anti-war and WW2 themes. The album opens with Declaration, a fantastic start. With keyboards juxtaposing heavy guitars, it immediately takes your attention. Lee Small’s vocals are clean across the board, and the chorus booms with harmonizing backing vocals.

The concept and theme are shown in the lyrics; “Let’s start by crushing machines of mass destruction”.
Lionheart has mastered the mix between hard rock instrumentals and vocals with anti-war themed lyrics that bring a new depth to the music.

It’s emotional in a different way and on a different level with being a concept album, and I find it a success. Flight 19 has a muddy, catchy riff with a melodic guitar solo and vocals that showcase Lee’s range.

V is for Victory is a powerful track with lyrics of “this is a victory for all humanity” and showcases the anti-war theme. The harmonies and backing vocals in the chorus, in this song and throughout the album, are especially impressive and moving.

This is a Woman’s War shows off bassist Rocky Newton’s strong basslines that complement both guitars and the belting vocals.

The Longest Night is an upbeat rock song that shows you at first listen this may just be another rock album, but when you really pay attention lyrically, you understand the concept.

The Eagles Nest is a personal favourite; it has a retro rock feel with its melodic guitars and powerful guitar solo, while Little Ships has another high-powered chorus and a dynamic rhythm section.

Just a Man begins with just the keyboard accompanying Lee’s vocals. A plane voice swoops in before guitarists Dennis Stratton and Steve Mann impress and harmonize.

This is a particularly powerful song with lyrics reminding listeners, “we are just like each other / so please don’t fear me brother / these uniforms of war divide us all”.

UXB is a futuristic sounding track with keyboards and synths. Clive Edwards keeps the rhythm section steady with commanding drums. Title track The Grace of a Dragonfly is an anthem.

It starts off soft but builds, and the keyboard shining through the chorus is dynamic and interesting. The album finishes with Remembrance, Praying for World Peace.

Though this is mostly a WW2 concept album, Lionheart relates themes of anti-war to current events and hopes for world peace on this one. It’s a passionate tribute and moving to listen to with lyrics of “here
we are / we’ve come so far / and yet we still learn nothing”.

Listening, you can tell this is a band who works together. I can hear all the moving parts when listening, and everything sounds very cohesive. The music is great, but the theme really adds something special and current. Lionheart will be performing at Firefest Festival in the UK on 11th October


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