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House Of Lords - 1990 Sahara



ARTIST: House Of Lords
ALBUM: Sahara
LABEL: Simmons
SERIAL: 2170-2-R
YEAR: 1990
CD REISSUE: 2007, Axekiller (France), AX0710103

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:

LINEUP: James Christian - lead vocals, additional guitars * Gregg Giuffria - keyboards, backing vocals * Michael Guy - guitars, backing vocals * Chuck Wright - bass, backing vocals * Ken Mary - drums

Guests:
Rick Nielsen, Doug Aldrich, Chris Impellitteri, Mandy Meyer - guitars * Rick Nielsen, Mike Tramp, Robin Zander, David Glen Eisley, Steve Plunkett, Ron Keel, Steve Isham, S.S. Priest, Billy Dior, Robbie Snow, Cheri Martin, Melony Barnet, Bruce Flohr, David Sluts, Shannon Wolak, Margie Rist, Erin Perry, Kimberly Gold, Aina Olson, Breta Troyer - backing vocals

TRACK LISTING: 01 Shoot * 02 Chains Of Love * 03 Can't Find My Way Home * 04 Heart On The Line * 05 Lay Down Staydown * 06 Sahara * 07 It Ain't Love * 08 Remember My Name * 09 American Babylon * 10 Kiss Of Fire

WEBLINKS: www.jameschristianmusic.com


Background
'Sahara' was the second album from Los Angeles combo House Of Lords. It was also the third out of the four albums released on Simmons Records. Certainly Gene had an executive producers role for this album, and thankfully his influence is not significant on the musical side of things, though he may have had a hand in song selection and order. It's uncertain what was going on in the HOL camp during this timeframe. Lanny Cordola who was supposed to be in the band was surprisingly absent, his place being taken by the talented Michael Guy, who came from the female fronted outfit Fire, featuring Jesse Galante. Just why there was a ton of guests on the album is uncertain, perhaps this can be put down to the hand of the aforementioned Mr Simmons. Seems success may be guaranteed if excess is involved? Perhaps not.. Producer Andy Johns, who has been involved with bands such as Free, Autograph, Cinderella, Hughes Thrall up to this point, was the man entrusted with the dials. 'Sahara' is a pretty full album, and you can tell that there's a lot of money thrown at this record, all thanks to Mr Ki$$ter $immon$.


The Songs
Admittedly, I wasn't that keen on HOL's early albums, even though I owned them all. Doesn't mean I played them though. I'm listening to 'Sahara' twenty years after the event, and for it's worth, the album isn't as bad as I made it out to be. That's no fault of HOL, but more the shifting sands that represent my music tastes over the years.. 'like the sands through the hour glass, these are the albums of our lives'.. Yeah right! The thing I really enjoy about Gregg Giuffria's influence is the way he can create vista like keyboard passages, and make them sound like epics. The intro to 'Shoot' is a case in point. Massive keys everywhere before the big guitars kick in. Even the pre-chorus sounds huge. The same applies to the title track 'Sahara', which has soundtrack quality written all over it, exotic in nature too. For the hair metallers out there, you can't go past tracks such as 'American Babylon', 'Heart On The Line' and 'Kiss Of Fire', all three songs are fast and furious, loads of flying guitars and keyboard layers. I like it when the band lighten up, their ballads are quite exquisite actually, all helped by James Christian's vocal attention. 'Can't Find My Way Home' and the sensational 'Remember My Name' are the two examples, the latter you can see the video for below.


In Summary
Good songs mostly, but 'Sahara' couldn't dent the Billboard top 100 albums, and with Canadians Gypsy Rose faring even worse, it wouldn't take Gene Simmons too long to realise that being a bigtime record label owner wasn't such a lucrative venture after all. 1992's 'Demons Down', which was released through the Polygram subsidiary Victory Records, sealed the final nail in the coffin for HOL during the 90's. As we all know, the band reformed ten years later, and have since released a brace of excellent albums during the Noughties. Read more on the links/tag below.


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Comments
#1 | george_the_jack on March 06 2010 13:40:13
Fantastic album! Memorable arrangements and production! I love this band and I'll always will.
#2 | jefflynnefan on March 06 2010 18:54:35
Yep, I like all the cd's by early HOL. I've gone back and forth on which is my fave over the years.
 
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