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HOUSE OF LORDS Saints And Sinners

By Jay Roberts, Massachusetts Contributor
Wednesday, November 30, 2022 @ 10:02 AM


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HOUSE OF LORDS
Saints And Sinners

Frontiers Music Srl - 2022




HOUSE OF LORDS returns with their 13th studio album Saints And Sinners, the follow-up to the 2020 release New World - New Eyes. The latter album was a big hit with me so I was definitely looking forward to the new album.

Unsurprisingly, there are some lineup changes from the previous album. Besides mainstay vocalist James Christian (who also handles bass duties for the disc), only guitarist Jimi Bell returns to the lineup. Johan Koleberg is the new drummer with Marc Mangold joining the lineup on keyboards. He plays a huge role on the album, producing it with James Christian as well as writing or co-writing the majority of the album.

At first listen, I realized that I had a bit of work to do in order to give a fair review. My first impression of the album's first half was that it was "OK" but not necessarily great. I liked the 2nd half of the album much more on that first listen. But as I dug into the album with a repeated listening session or two, I realized those first impressions weren't quite accurate.

I loved the immediate rocking flourish that opens up the album's title track. Originally, I didn't think the song quite hit the mark as a table-setting number to whet the appetite for the rest of the album. But upon further review, the mostly uptempo pacing of the song actually accomplishes that table-setting task quite nimbly.

The pacing of "House Of The Lord" has a galloping feel to it at the start. The song has a big epic scope kind of feel to it and overall it was a solid number. Though "Take It All" apparently needed four co-writers, the uptempo number came off nicely. I actually liked this one right from the first listen.

And while those first three songs end up being quite nicely representative tracks for HOUSE OF LORDS, I thought Saints And Sinners really started picking things up on the song "Road Warrior". It bursts out of your speakers from the start and just has a relentlessly invigorating soundtrack from start to finish. Mangold's keyboards dominate parts of the song, but the band as a whole just nails the song perfectly. And when the song ends, you kind of sit back in your seat realizing that the band kind of wore you out with their high-end pyrotechnics for the song.

"Mistress Of The Dark" ranges in pace from mid-to-uptempo. This was the first song where I found Mangold's keyboards did not really serve the song as well as you might think. There were just little flourishes that served more to annoy me for their inclusion than enhance the overall appeal of the song. Overall, the song wasn't bad but I think I would've liked this one a bit more had it been with a little bit less keyboard. Considering that I did rather like the brief guitar solo in the song, a bit more rocking was definitely in order I think.

And then we come to "Avalanche", the "ballad" number for Saints And Sinners. And as much as I've tried to enjoy the song, this one just annoys the crap out of me. Accompanied mainly by Mangold, James Christian certainly captures the emotive nature of the song lyrics but it just sounded a little whiny to me. To be fair, I will own up to not exactly being the most sentimental of people so perhaps that's why this song was a bit of a chore to get through.

While "Avalanche" is probably the low point of the album for me, HOUSE OF LORDS immediately compensates for it with the song "Roll Like Thunder". Oh man, this is a thunderously rocking song! There's a great sound to the music and the vocal performance from James Christian is both gritty and soaring at the same time. I had to stop myself from pumping my fist in the air during the song's chorus. And I loved the solo! This is definitely my favorite track on the album.

As I said in the beginning the 2nd half of the album made a much better impression on me the first time I listened to it. And that stayed pretty much true to form with each new spin of the disc. After "Roll Like Thunder" blew me away, HOUSE OF LORDS stayed on the more rocking path musically with the song "Razzle Dazzle". It's another over the speed limit track with plenty for fans to dig into. Very aggressive and featuring cool solos from both Jimi Bell and Marc Mangold, this was another well constructed track that will kick things up a notch for anyone listening . And the song "Dreamin' It All" keeps that rock and roll adrenaline level pegged at "10" as well. While "Takin' My Heart Back" is just a bit slower than these last three songs, it is still pretty uptempo in nature and features some great guitar work.

The Saints And Sinners album closes out with the song "Angels Fallen". While the main lyrical passages stick more to a midtempo delivery, as the song moves into the chorus the music gets more grand in scope and you get a big backing vocal sound mixed in to enhance the overall depth of feel to the track.

HOUSE OF LORDS has tended to be one of those bands that I keep track of musically but still manage to somehow miss an album along the way. But in recent years, I've been keyed into each successive release and they end up being vastly entertaining each time out. While I still think the first half of Saints And Sinners had a couple of problems, the incredible back half of the album and the overall feeling I had at the end of the last few spins of the disc have me once again giving a big thumbs up to the band for putting out yet another great rock and roll record that will resonate with their fans once again!

4.3 Out Of 5.0


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