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HOUSE OF LORDS Precious Metal

By Jay Roberts, Massachusetts Contributor
Sunday, March 2, 2014 @ 4:12 PM


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HOUSE OF LORDS
Precious Metal

Frontiers Records - 2014
http://www.jameschristianmusic.com/

The ninth studio album from HOUSE OF LORDS finds the project produced by singer James Christian, but don't be fooled into thinking this is some kind of vanity project to keep the band's name alive.

Fully formed and fleshed out, the HOUSE OF LORDS band is churning out one great track after another on Precious Metal.

The expected trademarks of the more overblown stylistic choices on past HOUSE OF LORDS albums are kept in check for the majority of the album. Instead, there is a far more vibrant harder rock edge to the tracks.

The album opens with the song "Battle" and while it is slow to develop at the beginning of the song, a much faster pace soon takes over. I liked the song ( and the accompanying video the band filmed for it), but the chorus was a bit dead on arrival.

It should be pointed out that while Christian is the acknowledged leader of the band that guitarist Jimi Bell continues to shred out memorable riffs on each successive album. I'm just as interested in hearing what he is playing as I am in what is being sung.

Bell starts out with some great lines on the song "I'm Breakin' Free", a decent uptempo number. But that is just the beginning. He shines on "Permission To Die" where his guitar work is the real selling point of the song. Seriously, the song is smoking hot!

I loved the relentless pace of the appropriately titled "Epic". The phrasing in Christian's vocals work perfectly.

The high energy rock tracks work far better than the slower material on Precious Metal. This album definitely drives 55 and more. But mid-tempo tracks like "Live Every Day (Like It's The Last)" stand out as well.

The first half of the CD closes with the one real ballad on the disc. It is the title track and it just made me want to scream. I've got no problem with expressing love through song, but this song was just so sweet and syrupy, I was worried about slipping into a diabetic coma. I wanted to vomit if the truth be told during the song's chorus. I just think that melodic rock bands are almost uniformly treading infertile ground when they try to write "a love song" these days. What song can I use by way of comparison to give you a real solid understanding of how much I never want to hear "Precious Metal" again? Think STRYPER's "Honestly", or perhaps I should say that Beavis and Butthead would endlessly ridicule the track if this was released back in the day.

Thankfully, the song does end and more rock songs begin. While just a bit slower than the fastest tracks, the song "Raw" has an immense hook with more Bell guitar awesomeness.

"Swimmin' with the Sharks" and "Action" are two more ballsy rockers and along with "Raw" make up the triumvirate of my favorite songs on the disc. The "Sharks" track is a perfect blend of a slightly grittier vocal turn from Christian and the music taking you on a fast trip across the song's landscape and the solo is just bombastically outstanding. On "Action", James Christian has another great vocal take and they use that big backing vocal sound to give more heft to the vocals as well.

If you have listened to a lot of the releases from Frontiers Records, you are sure to realize that for most of the material, there is a bit of formula to them. And that's fine, they are upfront that they are a melodic rock label and have a certain way of doing things. The trick to making one album stand out from the rest is to find a way to play within the format, allowing the band to come up with something that sounds fresh instead of retread work. This enhances the listener's appreciation of the band's creativity.

And that's what you have here with HOUSE OF LORDS. The guitar work from Jimi Bell is amazing and the overall musical experience had me pressing the repeat button on my CD player when listening to the album. Nothing seems manufactured or forced on Precious Metal other than that gawd awful ballad and I found myself thoroughly entertained with this latest slice of James Christian's musical vision.

4.0 out of 5.0

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