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Lion's Share

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Sundsvall, Sweden's Lion's Share have spent the better part of three decades in the service of traditional heavy metal. Though never quite as well-known as power metal-favoring compatriots such as Hammerfall, Dream Evil, Sabaton, and Evergrey, Lion's Share can at least claim to predate them all -- having first recorded a single called "Ghost Town Queen" as far back as 1988. But it wasn't until 1995 that vocalist Andy Engberg, guitarist Lars Criss, keyboardist Kay Backlund, bassist Andy Loos (soon to be replaced by Pontus Egberg), and drummer Johan Koleberg had their proper coming-out party via an eponymous, self-financed debut album that impressed Century Media enough to sign the group. Unfortunately, that relationship lasted only long enough to see the release of 1997's simply named Two, after which Lion's Share moved to Massacre Records for 1999's Fall from Grace and 2001's Entrance, the last of which introduced new vocalist Tony Niva and keyboardist Mats Olausson. Throughout these years, the band also toured Europe with major names like Saxon, Manowar, Nevermore, and Iced Earth. A long hiatus silenced the band until 2007 and the AFM Records-released Emotional Coma LP, featuring vocalist Nils Patrik Johansson (of Astral Doors), bassist Sampo Axelsson, and drummer Rickard Evansand (also of Therion, Demonoid, Ebony Tears, and others). Still faithful to the band's long-established sonic blueprint, this in turn led to renewed touring commitments highlighted by an appearance at Manowar's Magic Circle Festival (and inclusion in the resulting DVD), and then another new album -- Lion's Share's sixth -- entitled Dark Hours, released in 2009 through Blistering Records. ~ Eduardo Rivadavia