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.]
Toby Hitchcock first came to prominence in the early 2000s as frontman with Pride of Lions, a melodic rock band masterminded by Survivor legend Jim Peterik. With a combination of big performances and old style AOR hooks, the band found an instant fan base within the AOR community, despite treading a very familiar musical path. Outside of that band, Hitchcock has also achieved cult success with an on/off solo career and, if anything, his 2011 solo debut ‘Mercury’s Down’ featured performances that were even more bombastic.
His second solo album – 2019’s ‘Reckoning’ – offers fans exactly what they want, in that its eleven tracks couple some huge melodic rock sounds with an even bigger vocal. For those who love Toby, the album is probably everything they could ever wish for…and more. For the many who find his approach too big, it might be another album that fails to convince at first, but it’s worth persevering with since most of the material knocks spots off 2011’s ‘Mercury’s Down’.
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?