Released: 2009, Frontiers
I’m certainly pleased that House Of Lords are still going strong. After three great albums they, like many others in the 90s the band went underground for many years, at least a dozen by my count. The band has come roaring back, churning out and impressive six releases in six years, four studio albums, a live album and a collection or rarities. We can thank the Frontiers label for picking them up and supporting the second phase of the band's career.
The band was plagued by lineup instability for their entire career but the last two studio albums have had the same line-up, something that has not happened for the band before! Vocalist James Christian is the mainstay now, his soulful rock voice the focal/vocal point of the act. Veteran left-hand shredder, Jimi Bell is a stabilizing addition to the ranks making sure the guitars are never left behind. His long time buddy, and fellow member of Thunderhead, B.J. Zampa sits on the drum stool.
The first House Of Lords comeback album, THE POWER AND THE MYTH from 2004, was welcomed but disappointing to many who yearned for the classic HOL sound. Consequently, the line-up changes and a major rethink have the band on a roll with three, excellent, high-quality, melodic, Hard Rock/Metal albums. The latest, CARTESIAN DREAMS finds the classic sound fully intact.
As long as Christian is at the helm, House Of Lords will always have a place in my collection. His voice is unique, you instantly know it is him, the perfect blend of grit, and silky smoothness. His delivery is always heartfelt and passionate. His vocals are still as fine as they were back in 1988 when he burst onto the scene. Great songs and song-writing have always been a hallmark of the band as well and the new album is no exception. Lyrically the band is not afraid to embrace the fun side of the genre with cuts like ‘Bangin’, and ‘Saved By Rock’ but tracks like ‘Born To Be Your Baby’ could use a little work. On the other hand the band, lyrically speaking, is not afraid to tackle other issues such as politics on the standout track, ‘Desert Rain’, perhaps the heaviest song on the disc. Since keyboardist, Gregg Guiffria is no longer part of the equation, the band have de-emphasized the role of keyboards, replacing it, for the most part, with crunchy guitars with some elegant soloing.
I was always disappointed when the band broke up, having thoroughly enjoyed the first three records many times. I was very pleased when they continued on years later. CARTESIAN DREAMS made my Top 20 for 2009 here at Metal-Rules and if you were a fan back in the day and have missed out on the rebirth of this melodic and classy act act, I’d recommend you start here.