It didn’t take long for a bunch of negative comments to make their way around the internet soon after the release of Steve Harris’ debut album, British Lion. The comments were mostly from Iron Maiden fans who apparently expected Harris to release the follow up to Number of the Beast or something of that magnitude.

Plain truth: Get over it. This is a solo album, not Iron Maiden.

Fans need to remember, solo albums are exactly what they appear to be. They are meant to move away from the musicians’ normal creative work with his or her signature band. And that’s what Steve Harris has done here. He has taken his love for ’70s hard rock — UFO, Thin Lizzy, etc — and turned it into his own creative reality.

On British Lion, the production can be a bit muffled in places, the bass a little high in the mix for the material being played — and, yes, there are some truly avoidable songs — but this is not a bad debut solo album by Steve Harris.

In fact, with a bit better production, the first three songs would be perfect hard rockers. The decline only starts to happen approaching the fourth number. “The Chosen Ones” is mediocre fare and “A World Without Heaven” is by-the-numbers, tame rock — something you’d expect to hear out of the corporate rock machine in the early ’80s. These are perfect examples of those truly forgettable and avoidable songs hinted at before. At least they come back-to-back so you can easily jump right over them.

It picks up again with a solid rocker named “Judas” by track seven but the height of the album is, again, the first three taracks: “This is My God,” “Lost Worlds” and especially “Karma Killer,” which has the kick-ass drive of the first two, but also a good hook and a sustaining melody. These songs alone prove the album to be a minor success for the world’s greatest heavy metal bass player.

Label: UMe (click to order “British Lion” in audio CD format)