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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

House of Lords – Big Money album review

House of Lords – Big Money album review
Released on: Frontiers records. Release date: Available now

House of Lords are a band with some great history and even better is their back catalogue for the most part.
It was really only ‘The Power and the Myth,’ that has really disappointed fans, as starting with their self titled debut, through ‘Sahara’ – Killer album! – then ‘Demon’s Down,’ there were some true gems of material. After the ‘Power and the Myth’ disappointment, they seemed to find their true form once more!
‘World Upside Down,’ ‘Come To My Kingdom’ and ‘Cartesian Dreams’ are all albums I’m glad to say have returned to the more familiar classic House of Lords sound. I enjoy all of them!
 ‘Big Money’ is now the outfit’s eighth studio release and it’s a good one!
I was fortunate to have seen the original band soon after the release of their first self titled album, opening for the Scorpions back in 1989 and was very impressed!
They of course, like many bands of their ilk have been through a number of lineup changes, the biggest of which to many fans was when original founding member Gregg Giuffria decided to step away from the project.
Lead vocalist James Christian has basically maintained the helm since then and he’s done very well as I say, after three very good and consistent previous studio releases.

The album opens with the title track, and the female spoken line of, ‘The root of all evil,’ quickly followed by Christian’s scream of ‘Money! Yeah, yeah!’ It get’s into a great reminder of so much of the bands previous good works. Very impressive!
Great guitar work, big harmonies, catchy hook lines galore and it rocks! What more could you want?!

‘One Man Down’ next starts in a familiar House of Lords style, with some nice acoustic guitar, well presented harmony vocals before … Kick in those drums and electric guitars guys!
It’s actually got a kind of Led Zep groove about it to be honest, but it’s still very reminiscent of some of the bands best early work.

OK, talk about big hit song territory! ‘First to Cry’ is a huge song with hook lines and big choruses that would make Bon Jovi wish they’d written this, in their hey day! It’s massive!
Great lead work here from Jimi Bell and good solid backing from Chris McCarvill on bass and BJ Zampa on drums.

It’s funny to say this but if there was something I’d say I often feel is missing from their recent releases it really is Gregg Giufrria’s keyboards, but these guys still manage to capture some great moments with prominent keyboards and it’s no more obvious here than on ‘Someday When.’
What a truly great track this is, it’s strong, really powerful to me and simply lush!
‘Searchin’’ next has an almost melodic hard rockin’ mid paced blues groove, but it no blues snooze, far from it, it’s a good groove indeed!
Wow! ‘Livin’ In a Dreamworld’ I have to say, greatly reminds me of Rainbow, and specifically the Ronnie James Dio (RIP) era track ‘Gates of Babylon’ an awful lot through the verses, but the chorus is really something quite different. That said, Jimi does play the lead break in a style that’s somewhere between (Ritchie) Blackmore and (Yngwie) Malmsteen, nice!
Big power ballad time in ‘The Next Time I Hold You,’ is as sickly sweet as any AOR ballad could be, but that’s what the people like, right?! Perfect power ballad.
‘Run For Your Life’ is a more up tempo commercial rocker, and as well ..., always, James Christian is right on his game. Great stuff!

In ‘Hologram’ it kicks off with some nice little riff and powerful bass and drums and then gets into a groove that’s quite akin to Def Leppard, added to some of House of Lords most contagious hooks.  More classy lead work continues from Jimi Bell.
It’s a really catchy tune, no question!

‘Seven’ seems a little darker from the get go, then how about a little cowbell anyone?!  The song then find its groove and then the pre-chorus takes the song up a little and then the chorus, oh yes, it’s all big vocals as you’d expect from these guys.

The up tempo ‘Once, Twice,’ is next and it races along nicely and a few little changes pre-chorus and then, it’s a speedy chorus to keep it all moving, faster and faster! A very catchy, seriously racing number, where Jimi Bell seems to speed through his solo but it’s brilliant! Love it!

‘Blood’ is a darker, moody number through its verses, but then the chorus takes it up to the melodic rocking harmonies they do so well!
That’s it, done!
For me, they’ve done well for themselves again a very enjoyable album from these guys, boy would I like to catch them live again though. It’s been too long, over twenty years!
They last played Detroit with Bang Tango, a few years ago with such a poorly advertised show, that I missed them … I was also travelling on business as it turned out and found out they were playing, after my Mexico trip was determined. :(
James Christian was recently diagnosed with prostate cancer, but has had treatment and is now in recovery, the band cancelled live dates in October / November but have rescheduled these for early 2012. I hope they come through Detroit, you guys rock!
James, get well soon mate!
 Rating: 4 out of 5

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