It’s incredible but this year marks 20 years since Jim Peterik started Pride of Lions by releasing what I personally consider to be the best AOR album of the 21st century, the excellent self-titled debut album. Since then he has recorded several albums with Toby Hitchcock on vocals and has managed to identify the Pride of Lions name with quality and consistency. In fact, in 2020 he surprised everyone with “Lion Heart” which was easily the natural continuation of the aforementioned first album.
Those of you out there who have listened to even scattered songs from Pride of Lions know very well what to expect: first class AOR deeply rooted in style of the glorious 80s and an ambient optimistic atmosphere that is pervasive both because of the music and (mainly) because of Peterik’s lyrics. “Dream Higher” is no exception. Peterik has once again composed a set of memorable songs with the vocal interchange between himself and Hitchcock being as always seminal. I have to give special mention to “Renegade Heart” and “Through It All” which I truly believe that they are the best songs on the album. The former is reminiscent of Survivor and proves that when Peterik writes up-tempo songs he is in his element. The second one it could have easily found a comfortable place on “Spirits Having Flown” by The Bee Gees if it had a different arrangement. Yes, you read that right!
All in all, we are talking about another remarkable studio effort by Pride of Lions who continue with the pedal to the metal without any sign of slowing down 20 years after their formation. In Peterik We Trust!
Highlight: A very beautiful and fitting cover that departs from the familiar style of Frontiers Records.