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House Of Lords - 'Precious Metal'

posted 23 Feb 2014, 14:53 by Paul Woodward
(Frontiers Records)

Review By Woody

Popular and always busy melodic rockers House Of Lords have unleashed their ninth studio album Precious Metal onto us! The ever reliable mark II version of the band is all present and correct again so joining front man James Christian is of course Guitarist Jimi Bell, Bassist Chris McCarvil and Drummer BJ Zampa – all of whom have input into the current House Of Lords sound under the leadership of Christian.

I love House Of Lords always have always will, but with their last album Big Money my interest in them waned a little bit, not that it was a bad album, far from it but it was all a little too predictable. It was obvious they had created an album purposefully that was familiar, sticking to tried and true House Of Lords traits and basically giving their fans more of what they want. So it got rave reviews and positive feedback from fans, but it felt a little bit pedestrian to me and saw the band going through the motions.

Now with Precious Metal they have come out with an altogether different beast and a major effort has been put into to shaking up their sound and style. Fresh is the optimum word to describe the song writing, they have maintained the epic ballsy rock n roll swagger that we know them for but with a refreshed approach that really shakes the album up and there is a hefty dose of non stereotypical House Of Lords songs in the mix that gives Precious Metal more contrast and a greater depth. They have gone for a less polished sound this time around and the raw guitar tone creates a really interesting vibe when intertwined with the pompous and lush Keyboards, and it really works well, I think this new album will reignite many fans, like myself, passion for the band. They really have come back with a monster with no restrictions on the direction of the songs trying to keep their established fans happy.

I have to say the guys haven’t shied away from some ‘pop’ style sensibilities in their song writing and it makes these songs undeniably infectious with hooks flying at you thick and fast. It’s full of huge lush melodies, crunching guitar riffs, powerful vocals and at no time does it pull its punches from enveloping you in its grandiose atmospherics and raw rockin edge. Christian easily delivers one of his strongest vocal performances his voice giving a sweeping epic grandeur to the entire album with his booming commanding style.

I feel in love with this album hard and fast and it’s spiced up approach really got my musical juices pumping. Precious Metal is easily one of the best House Of Lords albums ever, if you don’t love it from the first spin you never will. Without doubt an essential listen for all true melodic rockers!

Track Listing: Battle / I’m Breakin’ Free / Epic / Live Every Day (Like It’s The Last) / Permission To Die / Precious Metal / Swimming With The Sharks / Raw / Enemy Mine / Action / Turn Back The Tide / You Might Just Save My Life

Album Rating: 9/10

Woody’s Essential Track: Precious Metal

Track By Track:

Opener ‘Battle’ rips it up in epic style with big pompous keyboards and a stirring HOL style riff. It’s a huge sounding song, very epic HOL but different, the pounding chorus hitting you with an energetic punch. ‘I’m Breakin’ Free’ is a strong melodic rocker with a pop tinge and an engrossing chorus. It’s not a stereotypical HOL song. It has a killer keyboard hook and infectious melody, a sure fire dance floor filler which should kick ass live. ‘Epic’ is pompous and indeed epic. It’s a driven rocker with a driven keyboard riff. This veers more into familiar HOL territory but with a much rawer edge, less polished and it works really well in capturing you. The big vocals and harmonies make it a truly stunning song.

Mid-tempo ballad ‘Live Every Day (Like It’s Your Last)’ hits you with an instant chorus and is another non typical HOL track; again it has a pop slant in its hooks. It features powerful and evocative vocals from Christian. ‘Permission To Die’ has a funky guitar riff, and the track is perhaps a little too offbeat for me, but it adds a little contrast to the album as a whole and its gargantuan chorus is sure to hit the right spots with fans. Ballad and title track ‘Precious Metal’ has fast become one of my favourites and is a song I return too with increased frequency. It’s an emotional ballad with lush embracing melodies which evokes a powerful atmosphere. It’s a small song in many ways but it hits you with an epic impact, Christian excels on this song giving a truly stirring performance.

‘Swimmin’ With The Sharks’ has driven guitars from Bell the gives this track an alluring swagger. The huge vocal harmonies build up to an epic and infectious chorus, another track that fits in the not your typical HOL song category!  Now ‘Raw’ has more of a typical HOL rock n roll swagger to it but again it’s got a rawer edge. The multi layered vocals on the chorus ensure the song has a massive impact on the listener, could be a live favourite in my opinion. ‘Enemy Mine’ is a perfect slice of synth heavy melodic rock balladry and a kick ass duet with Robin Beck. Really emotional with a beautiful ambience which truly sticks with you, bittersweet it may be but beautiful none the less.

‘Action’ is an old school HOL rocker with a raw invigorated edge with pumping pompous keyboards and an infectious chorus that gets under your skin. ‘Turn Back The Tide’ is a hook filled sweeping melodic rocker with a powerful and enveloping chorus. Another epic performance from Christian and I love these ultra melodic tracks which drip emotion with every note. ‘You Might Just Save My Life’ is a pompous rocker which has a quirky Cheap Trick pop element to it, a song that really highlights the bands desire to shake up their sound.