Formed in 2003, Pride of Lions is a melodic rock band that combines the musical talents and songwriting of ex-Survivor legend Jim Peterik and vocalist Toby Hitchcock. Their sound blends old style melodic rock with the bombast of musical theatre – a musical mix that’s surely won them as many detractors as genuine fans. Peterik’s gift for a huge chorus has remained obvious, but in Hitchcock, he’s found a musical partner who is often so overbearing that his voice tends to smother any real melodicism Peterik’s songs might have had. This made their first five albums very hard on the ears. It’s not that Hitchcock isn’t talented in his own way – his ‘Reckoning’ solo album from 2019 is actually very good for what it is – it’s just that working with Peterik always tended to bring out his worst vocal excesses. [Peterik’s bloated musical theatre sound, meanwhile, was much better suited to superior singer Dennis De Young…and even that produced mixed results.]
Beloved by many within the melodic rock community, Dennis De Young is someone worthy of being called a legend. His years spent recording with pomp rock legends Styx gave the world a handful of classic albums. His on/off solo career also brought big success in the US, with his 1983 album ‘Desert Moon’ being highly praised. He even wrote a musical based on The Hunchback of Notre Dame. In terms of a career, after fifty years, he’s pretty much done it all.
All good things must come to an end and with his ’26 East’, Dennis closes his half-century in the spotlight the best way he knows how. Few would have the balls to say goodbye with a double volume of autobiographical material (except, perhaps, Neal Morse), but DeYoung makes such an indulgent concept seem like a fitting epitaph.
Jim Peterik is a legend. His work on various Survivor albums cements his place in the melodic rock history books, regardless of anything he has written or recorded since the 80s. Tracks like ‘American Heartbeat’, ‘Jackie Don’t Go’, ‘I Can’t Hold Back’ and ‘Poor Man’s Son’ are stone cold classics…and of course, it would take a hard heart not to be amused by the ‘Eye of The Tiger’ video with Survivor attempting to look tough whilst stomping through a warehouse.
Peterik’s post-Survivor projects have, understandably, been less high profile. After all, how can you follow a million selling rock band, radio play and worldwide number one singles?