James Christian

JAMES CHRISTIAN – Lay It All On Me

James Christian - Lay it all on MeI’m sure that James Christian isn’t a house hold name even for many of the hard rock people out there. But if you’re a big fan of melodic rock and / or AOR, my guess is that most people knows who he is.  James Christian created a name for himself back in 1988 when he joined the band Giuffria in what would turn into House Of Lords and released an album on Simmons Records / RCA that is now more or less legendary in AOR  circles. When that album was released, I thought that House Of Lords would be huge, but after two more albums, Sahara (1990) and Demons Down (1992) and numerous of line up changes, it was clear that House Of Lords wouldn’t be the big success that was expected and the band split up!

Christian released his first solo album, Rude Awakening in 1995, but grunge ruled by then and the album didn’t do much, which was a shame as the album is full of melodic rock / AOR gems and the only thing negative to say about it is that the programmed drums which sounds, well, very programmed. Christian was also involved in the band Manic Eden that was formed by former Whitesnake / Vandenberg guitarist Adrian Vandenberg, Rudy Sarzo (Ozzy, Quiet Riot, Whitesnake) and Tommy Aldridge (Ozzy, Whitesnake and he actually played on the House Of Lords record Demons Down), but left that project and was replaced by Ron Young from Little Caesar. However, the original line up of House Of Lords minus keyboard player and founder Gregg Giuffria, reformed in 2004 and released the very disappointing album The Power And The Myth and Christian also released his second solo album that year, the oh so mediocre Meet The Man. With those two albums out in the same year, things didn’t exactly look bright for Christian. But luckily, tables would turn and things would be better. Much better.

The original House of Lords line up dissolved shortly after their reunion album, but Christian got an ok from Giuffria to keep on using the House Of Lords moniker and today they are seen as James Christian’s band instead. The new line up has released four really good albums and are today a melodic rock / AOR force to be reckoned with. Christian is also married to singer Robin Beck, so it’s kinda hard to feel sorry for the guy, no matter what. All jokes aside, Christian has found himself a good career with House Of Lords and that is why I’m wondering why he still makes solo albums? I mean, House Of Lords is Christian’s band and the music they make is similar to the music on his solo albums and it’s not like his solo stuff will sell more than the House Of Lords albums. Maybe it’s a money thing. Well, it doesn’t matter because if you’re into House Of Lords, there’s a really good chance you’ll be into Christian’s solo stuff as well – and vice versa.

The album opens with the title track, a very good pop / AOR rocker that could have been written in the early 80’s, “Sacred Heart” follows and it could have fitted any House Of Lords record under Christian’s command, “Day In The Sun” is a very good pop song and with the half ballad “Believe In Me” he takes us listeners to AOR heaven. And there are more on this album where that came from. “You’re So Bad” is brilliant, total AOR and catchy as hell, “Don’t Come Near Me” is a killer and sounds like it comes right out of 1986, “Let It Shine” is an awesome ballad and “She’s All That Rage” breaks the mold a bit as it’s more in the hard rock vein and for this kind of music, it’s quite heavy and aggressive. With this album, James Christian has recorded a high quality record and one of his best efforts in a long time – and that includes some the House Of Lords records. Also, with this album I really can see the reason for him releasing a solo record as this album on many occasions moves away from the House Of Lords sound a bit. Where House Of Lords are more melodic hard rock than AOR, this is the opposite. On here, Christian has created a sound that almost borders to pop and to be honest, it fits him just as well as the edgier sound of House Of Lords. So, thumbs up for this release and for every House Of Lords fan and AOR lover out there, this album is really a no-brainer.

Jon Wilmenius (8/10)

Tracklist:

1. Lay It All On Me
2. Sacred Heart
3. Day In The Sun
4. Believe In Me
5. You’re So Bad
6. Don’t Come Near Me
7. Let It Shine
8. She’s All The Rage
9. Sincerely Yours
10. Shot In The Dark
11. Welcome To Your Future

5 comments on “JAMES CHRISTIAN – Lay It All On Me

  1. I was going to ask, “What’s the point of a James Christian solo album if he IS House of Lords?” but you ended up addressing that question in the last paragraph anyway.

    I’d like to catch up on the better HOL records that I missed, and this too.

  2. Do check out Come To My Kingdom at least. One of my favourite HOL albums. And if you haven’t heard Rude Awakening yet, then that one’s a must.

    • Discogs doesn’t have Come To My Kingdom at the moment, but I’ve wishlisted it. They do have a Live in the UK 2 CD set for a decent price. How’s that one? They also have Cartesian Dreams and Big Money, but both are out of my price range.

  3. I haven’t heard the Live CD so I don’t know. Do they have World Upside Down? It’s not one of my favourites, but to be honest, it seems like I’m pretty alone on that opinion. So you might wanna try that one out as well. And don’t forget about the Brian Robertson album. 😉

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