Maryland’s Lionize has concocted an appealing blend of Deep Purple-style heavy rock, reggae, and sci-fi imagery. With a musical vision that began on 2005’s Danger My Dear and reaching a creative peak on 2011’s Superczar and the Vulture, Lionize is a tenacious, hard-working band with moxie and talent.
Framing themselves within an imaginative palette of groove-heavy drumming and rippling rock riffs, the band is bassist Henry Upton, Chris Brooks on keys, and Nate Bergman on vocals and guitar.
From the album’s ’70s prog-rock B3 ostinato introduction into “Breather,” the musicality is tight and hits hard. Excellent wah work is offset by thick organ textures and a bass solo from Upton that is melodic yet concise. Bergman’s he-man vocal delivery benefits greatly from the band’s clever use of breaks and dynamics, particularly on “Evolve” and “Electric Reckoning.” The title track displays the band’s compositional range. “Lazarus Style” is ferocious. Sci-fi movie references flow freely.
This is a heavy album of power and groove. Implementing less reggae and pursuing a more straightforward rock approach, the record is still top-notch Lionize, but hardcore fans may find a key ingredient missing from a superb band.
This article originally appeared in VG‘s July ’14 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.