Steve Harris Shares Title Track to British Lion's 'The Burning': Premiere

British Lion
John McMurtrie

British Lion

There's a significant difference between the British Lion of 2012 and the band that's releasing its new album The Burning -- whose title track is premiering exclusively below -- next month.

When the British Lion album came out seven years ago it was a solo outing for Iron Maiden co-founder and bassist Steve Harris. Since then, however, British Lion has become a "more of a band unit," according to Harris. "I always wanted it to be like a band from the start, not just about me," he tells Billboard. "It just evolved into a band over seven years of touring and playing live -- not a full seven years, but something each year. It just evolved into a good, tight live unit and we're loving it. I think that shows in the vibrancy of this (new) record."

Harris did, however, produce The Burning, a (not surprisingly) hard rocking 11-song set recorded at Barnyard Studios in the U.K. and due out Jan. 17. The album was several years in the making as well, written primarily by Harris, singer Richard Taylor and guitarist David Hawkins and recorded when Harris' schedule permitted. "We've been sitting on this for quite awhile," Harris confirms. "We'd just grab moments whenever I was back in the U.K., just go and do it whatever chance we'd get. We did a lot straight after a couple tours we did, so it was very fresh, a very live feel to it. We wanted to make an album to represent where we are now, which I think this does."

While the quintet has toured in other territories, The Burning will bring it to the U.S. for the first time, with dates starting Jan. 18 in Orlando, Fla., including the Monsters of Rock Cruise Feb. 8-13. "There have been a few people complaining 'Why aren't you playing in the States,' but we are now," Harris says. "It's exciting for us. Whenever we play a new place or a new country you never really know what you're gonna get. We don't know if it's going to sell out or anything. It's a bit nerve-racking, but that's alright."

Harris hopes British Lion's third album won't take quite as long to happen -- "Seven years is a little ridiculous, you know?" -- but Iron Maiden remains his priority. The third and final leg of its Legacy of the Beast Tour starts May 1 and plays Oceania, Asia and Europe before wrapping up July 25 in Barcelona. Harris predicts that some sort of live release will follow, and since it's been a few years since Maiden's last album, 2015's The Book of Souls, a follow-up may be on the horizon as well.

"Bruce (Dickinson) the other day was saying, 'Do you fancy doing some more albums?'" Harris says. "I'm up for it if everyone else is. I don't know quite when we'll dive in and do it, but it's in everybody's minds now."