As we often say here at Sentinel Daily, Lionheart produced one of the all time great British AOR albums in the shape of 1984’s Hot Tonight; Since then, for a multiplicity of reasons, the band has remained largely a well-kept secret, despite the presence of British hard rock/heavy metal Titans of the magnitude of Steve Mann and Dennis Stratton lurking amidst their number.

If there was any justice in the World – and let’s fave it, however much we hope to the contrary, justice is something in very short supply for most of us in 2024 – the release of the band’s new album, The Grace of a Dragonfly, would change all that. It won’t, of course, but the fact that such a beautifully put-together album exists at all should be a matter for huge celebration. So let’s do just that.

For a start, this is easily the band’s best collection of tracks since that debut, with V Is For Victory, This Is A Woman’s War, The Eagle’s Nest, ‘incendiary’ standout cut UXB, Just A Man and the title track being amongst some of the absolute best you’ll hear in their field this year. Pompous, bombastic and overblown in all the right ways, Guitarists Mann and Stratton, joined by bassist Rocky Newton, drummer Clive Edwards and vocalist Lee Small have created a perfect storm of muscular riffage, pumping rhythms and frankly spinetingling vocalisation that’ll have you returning to the well time and again to wallow in it’s artisanal brilliance.

Small is one of those people for whom ‘they could sing the phone book’ is a very accurate descriptor. Here, engaged to sing some at times quite challenging vocal lines in order to get the concept of the album across (TGoAD is an album that tells the story of World War Two from a number of perspetcives) the man gives the performance of his life, adding soul and humanity to the sturm und drang with a bravura performance that deserves to be heard on the widest possible stage.

Meanwhile Edwards and Newton (who, let’s not forget, sang backups on Pyromania and Hysteria!) keep things moving forward with a classy urgency; Some of Newton’s bass work is superb, and Edwards is a punchy, no fuss drummer of the type superbly suited to this kind of music. And then there we have prime mover Mann, who adds keys to the mix and produces, and, of course Stratton, who’s powerhouse backing vocals add a real point of difference to the sound and whose tasteful playing, like Mann’s keeps things on the right side of classy at all times.

Being the picky so-and-so that I am, I’ve listened long and hard to this album in search of weak spots – but I truthfully cannot find even a small one. If you enjoy Brit rock names like Magnum and Ten but haven’t yet dipped your to toes into Lionheart then I suggest you remedy that situation as soon as possible; The Grace of A Dragonfly is the perfect opportunity to do so… and you can thank me for the recommendation later.

The Grace of a Dragonfly is out now.