Frontiers Records
Release date: June 24, 2004

Guitars: C
Bass: C
Percussion: C
Keyboards: C (sparsely used)
Vocals: C-
Lyrics: A-
Recording Quality: C
Originality: D
Overall Rating: C

User Review
0/10 (0 votes)

After an extended cooling off period, the British rockers, Lionsheart, are back with their new CD entitled Abyss; supported by a new multi-album contract with Frontiers Records. Steve Grimmett bellows out the vocals and wrote the lyrics to each of the songs on the album, Ian Nash handles the guitar duties, Eddie Marsh, the bass guitar, and Steve Hales pounds on the drum kit and provides the fairly sparsely used keyboard fills. Abyss is comprised of 12 tracks, 2 of which are ballads.


Steve Grimmett essentially slipped out of musical sight some time after the release of Lionsheart’s prior album, Under Fire, and evidently had numerous unfortunate personal issues to deal with and resolve. In writing the lyrics for Abyss, he reenters his own personal abyss and essentially spills his guts and emotions into every song. This isn’t an album to listen to, as a result, if you’re looking to obtain a “warm, fuzzy feeling all over,” however; Grimmett did a good job of making the lyrics of each song count for something.

The first 4 tracks are all solid songs: “Screaming,” “Nightmare,” “All I Got,” and the first ballad, “I Need Love” all show the band performing on all cylinders. Grimmett shows, when he wants to, that he indeed has ample vocal talent to offer the listener, sounding (when he’s at his best) like a cross between Don Dokken, Jack Russell of Great White, and Biff Byford of Saxon.


Musically, Abyss becomes incredibly average beginning with the 5th track, “How Can I Tell You.” It appears Ian Nash and the rest of the band likely had a difficult time pairing up suitable riffs and musical patterns to Grimmett’s reflective and emotional lyrics, making this an album that is hugely vocally weighted. Vocal dominance wouldn’t be all that bad of a concept if Grimmett consistently sang up to his capabilities. Basically, when he’s good, the songs have a propensity towards success, and when he’s bad, the songs come through mediocre at best. Beginning with “How Can I Tell You” through the end of the album, Grimmett “over-sings” the songs and the production mix has him coming through at too high of a volume. Quoting the chorus in the 1st track, “Screaming,” Grimmett sings, “I can’t stop screaming / It’s so loud, no one hears a thing” … yep, unfortunately too true. To boot, Grimmett ends many verse lines by holding the last note for extended lengths – too bad it’s often the same note, and he usually adds a rasp element to his voice that starts to grate on you like fingernails scratching a chalkboard.


Grimmett states in the song “Save Me,” “I’m as low as it gets / I can see no way out / As sure as I can be, I wanna die, I wanna die.” Lyrically, this is a common theme resulting from Grimmett sharing with us his prior unfortunate personal plights. If you’re in the mood for melancholy, almost depressive lyrics (that are well thought out, though), Abyss may indeed be for you. If you’re not, lack of redeeming musical qualities along with anything that could be labeled “unique” or “eye-opening” makes Abyss a Metal album that most Metal fans can probably live without.


  • Dan Skiba

    Dan is a former partner at Metal Express Radio, and also served as a reviewer, photographer and interviewer on occasions. Based out of Indianapolis, USA he was first turned on to Hard Rock music in the mid-1970s when he purchased Deep Purple's Machine Head as his first album. He was immediately enthralled with the powerful guitar sound and pronounced drumbeat, and had to get more! His collection quickly expanded to include as many of Heavy Rock bands of the time that he could get his hands on, such as Ted Nugent, Judas Priest, and Black Sabbath, to name just a few.

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