HOUSE OF LORDS – Indestructible

House Of Lords - IndestructableTo once again write down an introduction for House Of Lords feels like a big waste of time after having reviewed several (two) of their earlier records (you can check out old reviews here and here). But what we can state is that this version of the band is a very creative and fast working band. This is their sixth album since this version of the band first popped up in 2006 with their critically acclaimed album World Upside Down. What’s remarkable is that band leader, lead vocalist and song writer James Christian also releases solo albums and works with his missus Robin Beck on her albums as well, still keeping the quality of both music and production intact. The thing is, even though there are dips on the albums here and there and some records are better than others, all the House Of Lords albums since 2006 has been really good and I think it’s quite impressing that Christian and his band, plus their song writing helping hands such as Jeff Kent and Tommy Denander, manages to reach such high quality album after album. To me, World Upside Down wasn’t all that, it felt more like Christian starting over, going slow and figuring out where the music would land and which way they would go. But I know there are many, many House Of Lords fans who consider that album their best. To me, it was the follow-up, 2008’s Come To My Kingdom that became the record that proved that Christian and his cohorts Jimi Bell (guitar) and B.J. Zampa (drums) – the only guys who has played on all records, whereas there has been a few bass players and keyboard players – was back  for real. That said, bassist Chris McCarvill has been more or less present since the beginning as well. None of the following albums, Cartesian Dreams (2009) or Big Money (2011) managed to follow Come To My Kingdom quality wise, still both albums were very good. But it was with last year’s effort Precious Metal that House Of Lords released their finest record since 2008. When the news came that they were about to release yet another album so close to its predecessor, I had my worries that this new album would come out sounding rushed which would have been sad when it felt like they were on to something big with the last album. And the first time I listened to this record, I felt disappointment coming my way. Afterwards, there wasn’t one song that had stuck and it felt like House Of Lords had released their first real dip since 2006. Which was really sad as the opening track “Go To Hell” video had been to my liking.

However, one listen at home while a million other things going on doesn’t really count. No sir, the album will be given at least one more spin, this time with earphones on. If I had liked “Go To Hell” the first time – and second – around, then the song turned out to be a damn knock-out in my ear phones. The song is reminiscent of the last album’s opener “Battle”, heavy and a bit dark, but with a brilliant melody and really catchy. But this one is better and melody wise, I do hear a lot of Come To My Kingdom here and all of a sudden, there was a ray of hope for this album. The title track that passed me by unnoticed the first time around became a killer this time, a brilliant hard rock song that may had been suited better for Christian’s solo stuff, but truth is, House Of Lords and Christian solo aren’t exactly worlds apart. “Pillar Of Salt” was one of the song I liked the best the first time around and nothing has changed there. It’s a heavy ballad with a big 70’s influence. It has some power balladry tendencies, but it has more Led Zeppelin in  it than Warrant, if you catch my drift. Awesome song! “100 MPH” is a great melodic rocker that has the House Of Lords sound all over it. “Call My Bluff” could also be a James Christian solo song – very AOR, very catchy. If AOR still had a chance of producing big hits, this song would certainly be one. “We Will Always Be One” is a big ass power ballad, think older House Of Lords ballads like “Remember My Name” or “What’s Forever For”. In 1990 this song would have been all over MTV, I’m sure. “Die To Tell” is heavy AOR and has the sticky melodies that I love with Come To My Kingdom combined with the darker heaviness of albums such as World Upside Down and Cartesian Dreams – a brilliant combination. “Another Dawn (Dance With The Devil)” must be one of this album’s finest moments. A brilliant melodic rocker with an in-your-face melody and with more hooks than a fisherman’s hat – this is a hit in my world! “Eye Of The Storm” is a soft rocker that mixes West Coast and AOR influences with a big House Of Lords chorus as the icing on the cake. “Ain’t Suicidal” is hard rock – 80’s hard rock – and this is more Sahara (1990) or Demons Down (1992) (yes, I know, but those 90’s albums contains 80’s rock) than anything else and it reminds me of just what a fantastic band House Of Lords were back then. Also, the teaming up with the guitars and the bass makes me think of Mr Big – very good playing here. Closing track “Stand And Deliver” is a hard rocker where Jimi Bell get to go metal riffing and shred a flashing solo. This actually suits House Of Lords very well and I would love to hear more of such things on their records in the future.

This album is proof of that you should never let first impression decide if an album is good or not. The feelings of disappointment that first reared their ugly heads were gone already by second listen and not only that, after listen # 3, I can happily state that this album is the best House Of Lords record since Come To My Kingdom. It’s also great that the quality of Christian’s voice never seems to fade – he sings just as great today as he did back in 1988. Speaking of which, the whole band are faultless musicians. Faultless might be to put things mildly, they’re great but unfortunately, this version of House Of Lords will probably never escape the James Christian with a backing band – feel. It really do feels more like a solo project than a real band even though all the musicians are featured equally on pictures and in videos. The proplem might be that the rest of the band are somewhat anonymous. The production is more or less the same as on all the records since 2006 which is the one thing that I might leave a remark on. It would be nice if he / they could try out a different kind of producer some time – and maybe even bring in different outside song writers to keep things fresh. There is no duet with Robin Beck on this album either, which is a relief to tell the truth. Not that I have anything against Beck, quite the contrary, she’s an amazing singer, but Christian and Beck keep on guesting each others’ records again and again and there is always a time to end stuff like that. It really has become a bit predictable. If you’re a House Of Lords fan, then there’s not much more to discuss here – go buy it, but if you’re not that familiar with Christian & co., then this album could be a good start. Other than that, this is album for everybody with a soft spot for AOR and melodic rock.

Jon Wilmenius (8/10)

Tracklist:

1. Go To Hell
2. Indestructible
3. Pillar Of Salt
4. 100 MPH
5. Call My Bluff
6. We Will Always Be One
7. Die To Tell
8. Another Dawn (Dance With The Devil)
9. Eye Of The Storm
10. Ain’t Suicidal
11. Stand And Deliver

6 comments on “HOUSE OF LORDS – Indestructible

  1. Great review Jon. I never would have guessed back in the 90’s that HOL would still be making albums in 2015. And that many have been good!

    I liked this review a lot.

    • Me neither, even though only James Christian remains of the original line-up.
      But they still have the sound so I won’t complain… 🙂

      • No, I think he has some hot well-paid job nowadays. I saw that there was a Giuffria reunion gig in England next month, but I didn’t see Gregg’s name there, only David Glen Eisley, Lanny Cordola and Chuck Wright.

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