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House Of Lords - 2014 Precious Metal




ARTIST: House Of Lords
ALBUM: Precious Metal
LABEL: Frontiers
SERIAL: FRCD 638
YEAR: 2014

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:

LINEUP: James Christian - vocals * Jimi Bell - guitars * Chris McCarvill - bass * B.J Zampa - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Battle * 02 I'm Breaking Free * 03 Epic * 04 Live Every Day (Like It's The Last) * 05 Permission To Die * 06 Precious Metal * 07 Swimmin' With The Sharks * 08 Raw * 09 Enemy Mine * 10 Action * 11 Turn Back The Night * 12 You Might Just Save My Life

RATING:

WEBLINKS: www.jameschristianmusic.com


Background
House Of Lords has been on a nice roll over the past several years. The words 'dependable' and 'consistent' can definitely be used to describe them. They're back in 2014, following their excellent 2011 release 'Big Money'. This lineup is on its third album together. I was one of the many people disappointed with James Christian's solo album 'Lay It On Me' last year. Not with the songs - they were very similar to what you'd expect with HOL - but with the production. That could have been an excellent album on par with the past several HOL albums, but the sound quality took it down a couple of pegs. I was hoping that 'Lay It On Me' was just an aberration and that 'Precious Metal' would contain the typically sharp and focused sound of the past releases.


The Songs
Right off the bat, my concerns about the production are laid to rest. This is the sound I want to hear on an album from these guys. 'Battle' is what you expect to hear as an opener, with Bell's razor sharp guitar tone slicing right through your body. I'm a big fan of his playing, and he does not disappoint on this album. 'I'm Breakin' Free' has a great commercial sound. 'Epic' is a fast-paced tune that keeps the quality moving along. 'Live Every Day (Like It's The Last)' slows things down a bit and would have been a strong candidate for radio if we still lived in that world. I can relate to the lyrics of 'Permission To Die', which deals with a wife that just wants to hang around the house while the husband still has the fire to get out at night. Not that my wife is a slug or anything like that, but there are the occasional nights where that could be my theme song. The title track is the first ballad, and it is a pretty good one. Not really immediate, it took a few listens to resonate with me. We're back with a frantic rocker in 'Swimmin' With The Sharks'. 'Raw' has a much more aggressive attitude than anything we've heard so far, and it sounds more like a song you would have heard on the 'World Upside Down' album from 2006. Christian has his lovely wife Robin Beck join him on 'Enemy Mine', a more subdued affair. It's my least favourite song on here, but still good. And I bet many people would rate it as a favourite - it's all a matter of taste, and a testament to the overall quality of these songs. HOL occasionally veers into a more cheesy hair-metal sound, and 'Action' hits that spot. I really like the cheeky lyrics on this one, and it too could have been a good radio song back in the day. 'Turn Back The Tide' starts with Christian singing in a lower register, which is a really nice effect. This one has a killer chorus and is another highlight. 'You Might Just Save My Life' ends on a high note, another very accessible rocker.


In Summary
It is quite safe to say that you should really enjoy this album if you're a fan of the band. It does continue the trend of sounding more commercial than the album before it, but that's a direction I embrace. Even with that approach, it really rocks. The sound quality is great, the pace of the album is what it needs to be, and I can keep this one in heavy rotation for quite a while. This will easily be one of my top albums of what is turning out to be a very strong year.


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