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House Of Lords - 2008 Come To My Kingdom

ARTIST: House Of Lords
ALBUM: Come To My Kingdom
LABEL: Frontiers
YEAR: 2008


LINEUP: James Christian - vocals * Jimi Bell - guitars * Jeff Kent - bass, keyboards * BJ Zampa - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Purgatorio Overture No 2 * 02 Come To My Kingdom * 03 I Need To Fly * 04 I Don't Wanna Wait All Night * 05 Another Day From Heaven * 06 In A Perfect World * 07 The Dream * 08 One Foot In The Dark * 09 Your Every Move * 10 I Believe * 11 One Touch * 12 Even Love Can't Save Us * 13 In The Light * 14 Another Day From Heaven (Acoustic, Bonus)



It's a well known fact among those who know me well. House Of Lords has never rated very high on my excito-meter. Things changed in 2006 when the band released 'World Upside Down'. An excellent album, and judging from recent peer reviews/comments elsewhere, it's probably the best thing they've done. In between times, HoL have toured the UK, seen a rarities CD called 'The Lost Tapes' leak its way into the public domain, while main man James Christian has also been helping out wife Robin Beck with her return to the public eye with recorded material as well. Come 2008, House Of Lords return with a studio set that has had fans and followers waiting with bated breath - hoping to see if the quality of 'World Upside Down' can be repeated. Yes, the recipe is the same as WUD, but there is a little less starch in the mix. If anything, CTMK is more refined, whilst retaining those elements which make up the overall HoL profile. One could say that this is as polite a melodic rock release as you'll hear all year.

The Songs
HoL have discovered the formula for turning up with an album full of good choruses - something the melodic prog metal boys have been doing for some years now. However, there is a certain similarity in the construct of the songs - which doesn't offer a major contrast across the entire album. It's not a criticism, just an observation, because mostly, I like this album and what it contains. HoL - famous for their thick layer of instrumentation, hold on to these qualities like a good patent lawyer would!

Every HoL has an overblown intro theme. CTMK is no exception, with the grandiose 'Purgatorio Overture No 2' being the 2008 edition thereof.

Segueing on the back of that grandiose entrance is the title track 'Come To My Kingdom'. An impressive entrance, the verses are absolute ear-candy, the band have set the platform for the rest of this album.

If that wasn't enough, 'I Need To Fly' outdoes the title-track in spades. For me, it's one of the highlights of the album. Supremely melodic, with all the arranged parts coming together in unison. Very nice..

Moving back to the rock pathway, 'I Don't Wanna Wait All Night' is a committed rocker, complete with a chorus of Leppard like proportions, a pounding back-beat of drums and a quicksilver solo from Jimi Bell.

'Another Day From Heaven' contains those trademark HoL melodies and song structures that we've heard before. It has a certain majestic aspect about it - and when thinking back to their debut album, this would've fitted on there no problem.

An airraid siren announces 'In A Perfect World', perhaps indicating anything but. Musically though, this is one of the better tracks for me. Slightly heavier but not lacking for melody.

Another track with aspirations of majestic qualities is 'The Dream'. It has a warm sound, but if there are keyboards in the mix I can hardly hear/discern them.

'One Foot In The Dark' lives up to the song title, where there is more shade than light on offer. Despite that, the track is still very melodic and the solo is rather fiery.

One of the tracks which rocks harder than most is the positively dangerous 'Your Every Move'. There are a multitude of vocal choruses, a cool razor sharp solo and a nice keyboard sequence that pokes its nose from the layered underbelly toward the end of the song.

'I Believe' is a simple construct arrangement wise, and is delivered with such panache. Is this really the same band I sued to slag all those years ago? lol!

'One Touch' has a lovely keyboard motif which under-pins the song nicely, from which springs forth an easy on the ear chorus and a precision drill-bit guitar solo.

'Even Love Can't Save Us' is a faster paced affair, with a high-end pumping bass line - the overall feel of this song is much like Tommy Denander's outfit Radioactive.

'In The Light' is another to align to the HoL formula, layered keys and guitars all prominent as is the on-queue chorus.

The album finishes with an acoustic version of 'Another Day From Heaven'. A nice wind-down to nearly an hours worth of listening.

In Summary
If anything, 'Come To My Kingdom' is an extremely well-balanced affair. The instrumentation is like a well-oiled machine, the integration of the parts is nearly seamless. I can't fault the production, but in terms of the mix, I was kinda hoping for a bit of zing and oomph. I blame a guy like Fredrik Nordstrom for setting the bar so high on production standards, and after listening to the new Myland CD, I thought some of those things stuck out for me. I am a huge fan of Denis Ward and his mixing work, but as I said earlier, this is positively polite hard rock affair by comparison - even by his standards! Still, in all honesty, this is a pretty good album, and that's coming from someone who isn't even a fan of the band. So that says something huh?

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#1 | DEMONAOR on March 22 2008 19:19:08
Yep pretty good albumThumbs Up
#2 | spooky on March 23 2008 16:01:27
It's so good to know about James Christian's responsibility to HOL-records. But as usual nowadays it's a little shame when it comes to the drums, that's what makes the difference to the older records from the golden past. And on the next record he needs a very strong counterpart on the guitar, one who bites and scratches him. This might be what such a strong vocalist like James really needs to give the blood. But, pardon, this is a really strong record with the might of one of the best names in this genre in general.
#3 | jefflynnefan on March 27 2008 03:01:59
I haven't got this yet but plan too. I've always liked James' voice. Sounds like this cd and the one by Myland are the ones to get.
#4 | gdazegod on April 13 2008 20:41:11
Respected AORster Carl Noonan got in the firing line with James about comments he made about CTMK. I agree with Carl to a point. I agree the drums needed to have more presence, the mix was 'lacking starch', and the whole thing to my ears just seemed to be too polite - in other words, probably needed to have more crispness and (use that word again) presence. It just moulded together too nicely from one track to another - which is probably where Carl is coming from - being a long time HoL fan. Certainly when you compare the mix against the likes of the recent Myland or Brother Firetribe albums, you can really tell the difference. Hopefully Carl, who is a regular visitor here, can drop in a few words on this topic... hmm!
#5 | reyno-roxx on April 14 2008 08:33:45
The fact that Ken Mary is no longer involved has probably made a difference to the drum sound. Ken's obviously a bit of a perfectionist in that department.
#6 | george_the_jack on June 22 2008 15:55:33
I Think that 'World Upside Down' was a bit better....Well, It's a great album. One of the best of this year...
#7 | roadrunner158 on December 10 2008 15:39:18
I also liked 'World Upside Down' better. It comes down to the quality of the songs, and in this aspect 'WUD' is superior to 'CTMK'. Still, a very good CD.
#8 | jeffrey343 on February 04 2009 16:44:55
I thought "World Upside Down" was pretty good - not great (except for "S.O.S." which is stellar), and since the general feel I got from the comments here was that WUD was the better of the two, I didn't put this on my urgent list. I couldn't find it cheaply when it came out, nor did I find it at the usual online music stores. Well, I got it in January 2009, and I'm wishing I had found it earlier. I happen to think it is pretty dang good. Even though the album is "an extremely well-balanced affair" (to use George's words), I don't find it to be "samey" at all. Every song is good, with lots of melody. I guess I'm a fan of the "polite" sound - I still think this one rocks quite hard. There is nothing polite about the title track, for sure! "The Dream" reminds me a lot of the Rainbow classic "Street Of Dreams", and not because of the title.

This is available in mp3 format on iTunes and Amazon (but not Rhapsody). So if you're on the fence about it as I was, you can check out samples, and get it cheaply if you like what you hear.

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