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House Of Lords
Cartesian Dreams
November 2009
Released: 2009, Frontiers Records
Rating: 4.0/5
Reviewer: Waspman

Man it feels weird to be reviewing a House Of Lords album in 2009. One of the last successful gasps of the ‘80s rockers before grunge killed them all, House of Lords has had a ten-year hiatus, only to return in ‘00s and suddenly become more prolific than ever. Sure, the only original member remaining from the glory days is singer James Christian, but he does have the blessing of founding member Gregg Giuffria to continue on, so all’s well there.



I haven’t heard a single note from House Of Lords since their superlative sophomore album, SAHARA, so I’m quite pleased to hear what they’re offering these days. From the opening notes of soaring title track, two things are obvious: 1) James Christian still has one of the best, smoothest voices in rock, and 2) House Of Lords can still right a kick-ass, catchy hard rock song. From there through closer “The Train”, CARTESIAN DREAMS is simply a fun hard rock ride that shows these guys are still one of the best at what they do. Sure, there are moments of derivation (c’mon guys, “Born To Be Your Baby”? Bon Jovi’s calling) but all in all, this is good stuff.



As you would hope from a veteran band, there are moments of maturity, both musically and lyrically. A perfect example of this is “Desert Rain”, which is a political song about the fighting in the Middle East, and features a driving verse followed up with a hanging chorus with beautifully harmonized vocals. Of course, this being ‘80s derived music, they can’t help themselves with the party songs; “Bangin’” and “Saved By Rock” being perfect examples.



Simply put, CARTESIAN DREAMS is a great album that has something for everyone. If we are going to hear hard rock in 2009 (yes please!), then let it be a band like House Of Lords playing it.
Track Listing

1) Cartesian Dreams
2) Born To Be Your Baby
3) Desert Rain
4) Sweet September
5) Bangin’
6) A Simple Plan
7) Never Look Back
8) The Bigger They Come
9) Repo Man
10) Saved By Rock
11) Joanna
12) The Train (Bonus Track)

Lineup

James Christian: Vocals

Jimi Bell: Guitar

BJ Zampa: Drums

Chris McCarvill: Bass


Next review: » House Of Lords - Cartesian Dreams
Previous review: » House Of Lords - Big Money

House Of Lords
Cartesian Dreams
March 2010
Released: 2009, Frontiers
Rating: 4.0/5
Reviewer: JP

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.
Track Listing

1. Cartesian Dreams
2. Born to Be Your Baby
3. Desert Rain
4. Sweet September
5. Bangin'
6. A Simple Plan
7. Never Look Back
8. The Bigger They Come
9. Repo Man
10. Saved By Rock
11. Joanna
12. The Train (Bonus track)

Lineup

James Christian - Vocals
Jimi Bell - Guitar
Chris McGarvill - Bass
B.J. Zampa - Drums


Next review: » House Of Lords - Live in the UK
Previous review: » House Of Lords - Big Money





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