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A Hero for the World – The Lion King Rock Opera

A Hero for the World
The Lion King Rock Opera
by Rachel Montgomery at 03 September 2019, 12:04 AM

When I first got the album, I had to do a double take. Are they sure they didn’t send me the wrong file? Was there a mix-up? Nope. There’s a Heavy Metal Lion King album. This is a thing that exists.

A HERO FOR THE WORLD has been going since 2012. They claim to be from “The World” on their Facebook page, and have members from Sweden and The Philippines. From their discography, they make Christmas music, and here, their latest album is a novelty Rock Opera version of one of my childhood staples.

Rather than opening with the iconic African chant, “The Circle of Life” opens with a name-drop. I’m not sure about the vocals here – they sound a little nasally on the first listen. However, the music is beautiful once it gets into it. The vocals are mediocre in the lower register; they’re good in the mid-range. The upper register needs a little work, but it’s better once they sing the actual chorus.

The great thing about “Circle of Life” is that it gives the band a chance to sell their instrumental ability. Apart from a verse and a chorus, it’s all instrumentation. However, it’s standard Power Metal; the ambiance, true to the film, is what makes it.

I Just Can’t Wait to Be King” has some interesting harmonies with the guitars. Again, the vocals are a little mediocre, but I’m here for the instrumentals and to sing my favorite Disney™ songs. I love the choir elements at the end of the song. While the vocals were mediocre from a technical standpoint, the characterization is amusing.

Of the Lion King songs, “Be Prepared” should be the easiest to “metalize”. They get the more ominous buildup right. They start with the last verse for some reason, though. Usually, I would have a problem with the speak-singing, but I wish they led with that rather than the most intense verse in the song. It takes away the ambiance and some great buildup you could’ve got out of this song. Other than that, I enjoyed the string elements and the novelty-feel they gave this song, but I wish they hammed it up here, it would’ve made it way more enjoyable. The theatrical growls were funny, though.

Hakuna Matata” is a Thrash song? I like the videogame symphonics here since it’s a lighter song, and the chorus is really enjoyable. I like the high-pitched guitars and that they cheesed it up ‘80s style. The hammy vocals at the end were great; I wish those were more utilized in the last song.

Shadowland” is a song from the stage production, and while I was privileged to see the musical on The West End eons ago, I barely remember this song except for the instrumental hooks (which were part of Hans Zimmer’s score from the film). Unlike the campy novelty songs that the last songs were, this sounds like a traditional power metal song. It’s epic, especially at the end. I enjoyed the guitar solo and how they utilized the score to make it as epic as possible.

The Lion Sleeps Tonight” was originally a song by THE TOKENS written in the ‘60s. I love the bouncy guitars. I love how fun it sounds, and I can tell the band members are really enjoying themselves. I like the biting guitar in the hook and how it gives it that Metal edge while maintaining the fun spirit of the song.

Endless Night” is another song from the musical. I enjoy the acoustic elements, but I’m not sure how I feel about a slower song coming from this band. Their strength comes from their faster, bouncier pieces; the more they ham it up here, the better. The decision to stick to the mid-range was a good one, as the vocalist is solid here.

Can You Feel the Love Tonight” sells it with the hook played on the high-pitched, down-tuned guitar ‘80s ballad style. I like the sweeps, and again, I feel like the band is having fun playing this song. I like the chorus in the backup vocals. It’s cheesy, and the upper register needs some pitch work, but it’s a fun, bouncy, novelty song.

I remember “We Are One” from the sequel. I was skeptical at first, but once the thrashing guitars come in, plus the ambiance from the film. Surprisingly, it’s my favorite off the album: it keeps the ambiance and dignity from the original song intact while making it a fun, novelty tune.

Unfortunately, it can’t hold a candle to the original film’s score, but I’m glad to listen. And like a true ‘90s kid, I sang along. As far as the album, novelty albums aren’t made to be technically good, rather, enjoyable, campy, and a fun time. It’s worth checking out, especially if you’re a member of my generation and have fond memories of the movie.

Songwriting: 8
Originality: 8
Memorability: 10
Production: 6

4 Star Rating

1. Circle of Life
2. I Just Can’t Wait to Be King
3. Be Prepared
4. Hakuna Matata
5. Shadowland
6. Lion Sleeps Tonight
7. Endless Night
8. Can You Feel the Love Tonight
9. We Are One
Jacob Kaasgaard – Vocals, Keyboard, Guitar, Bass, Drums, Choirs & Orchestra
Louie Ryan – Female Vocals
Record Label: Independent


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