Arts & Entertainment

Press Pass: Fight The Lion

presspassTheir name was a joke at first. When drummer Shawn Battle first proposed Fight the Lion as a replacement handle for their former Redshift moniker, his bandmates laughed it off. A day later, guitarist Ron Cruz threw it on the table again, this time it stuck.

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Fight The Lion (Courtesy Photo)

 

Their name was a joke at first. When drummer Shawn Battle first proposed Fight the Lion as a replacement handle for their former Redshift moniker, his bandmates laughed it off. A day later, guitarist Ron Cruz threw it on the table again, this time it stuck.

Now a year later and Fight the Lion has become more than a new name born out of necessity to differentiate itself during a Google search. Now it’s become a mantra and the manner in which the four-piece group from Alexandria blasts out its big-sounding, smack-you-in-the-ear-hole rock and roll.

“The name is about looking at the problems in your life, staring them down and taking them on,” Battle says. It just so happens that Fight the Lion’s adrenaline-juiced anthems provide the perfect soundtrack to tackle such difficulties.

With a slew of songs from their time together in previous bands, Battle and vocalist Jake Mimikos headed into the studio to record the group’s debut album, When The Mighty Fall, soon after adding Cruz and bassist Jason Proctor in 2009. Released at the end of June, the album booms with a blow-out-the-speakers potential that has already earned them spots on playbills with Poison and Def Leopard. Now they’re set to take the stage at Uproar Festival at Nissan Pavilion with Disturbed, Avenged Sevenfold and Stone Sour.

The tunes on When the Mighty Fall should fit right in with that lineup. Fourth track “Fire It Up!” absolutely owns a “Rocky” anthem, get-on-your-feet-and-scream quality.

“I could definitely see that song being played right before a Washington Capitals’ powerplay,” Battle jokes.

The album eases into its ultimate electric-storm vibe with “A New Hope,” an A Perfect Circle-like track with a skulking verse and a burgeoning chorus that shows off Mimikos’s pipes and Battle’s hardcore harmonies. “Let This Die” follows, with more vocal gymnastics and a raucous and robust chorus.

Those two tracks were actually the final songs scripted for the album, written while the band was in the studio. “When we get an idea for a song, it comes together pretty quickly,” Battle says. “I think we’re just getting to what we want our sound to be now.”

Part of that evolution includes incorporating some more female-friendly works into their repertoire. While Fight the Lion is perfectly proficient at stirring up a frenzy with some of their more frantic tunes, Battle says it would be nice to balance that out with a little something for the ladies.

“I told Jake, maybe you should try to write a song with the word ‘love’ in it,” Battle recalls, noting that it does make an appearance on the ninth track, “Runaway Lover.” “We don’t want all dudes at our shows. We need to get some hot girls in there too.”

As a whole, the band’s first finished product paints a tantalizing picture of what lies ahead for Fight the Lion. Particularly since Battle’s dedication is more than evident in the way he discusses playing music.

“If I didn’t do this, I’d be a wreck,” Battle says. “It’s just an absolute relief. When I’m playing, I forget about everything else I’m doing that day.”

The Uproar Festival, however, should prove fairly memorable. The band scored a spot at the show through their longtime sponsor, Jagermeister, and is definitely trying to make the most of it. Fans can even join them by visiting their website and entering an e-mail raffle for free tickets (shoot a note to [email protected]).

For those not fortunate enough to get the freebies, tickets for the Aug. 31 show range from $20-70. Fight the Lion takes the stage at 3:15 p.m.

• For more on Fight the Lion, visit www.fightthelion.com.