Monday, February 24, 2014

HOUSE OF LORDS: "Precious Metal"

Rating: RRR
Label: Frontiers 2014
Review by: Urban "Wally" Wallstrom

Precious few are aware of the Metal in the House Of The Lords? To be honest. Most folks would simply just put them in the category of fluffy pomp and rock. I do not fully agree with the label press-release which speak of a return to the roots of the band's sound and majestic atmospheres. There's hardly any sweeping overblown keyboards ála Giuffria to be found on this platter and the material is more in the vein of eighties 'Melodic Metal' rather than 'Melodic Rock'.

Nitpicking? Sure. But, the title is indeed 'Precious Metal'. Thus why it's extra confusing as you hear the title track. It's the great ultra soft ballad with the special nod to the 70s, classical guitar and medieval influences. The opener of "Battle" has the fun pomp verse and pre-chorus only to be ever so slightly let down by the rather blunt metal war-cry and repetition of the words 'Into Battle'. Tracks like "I'm Breaking Free" and "Raw", goes along the lines of hair-metal in the style of RATT, but not like their best moments. "Enemy Mine", stand with one feet in J-Pop and the other in schlock. It's one of those songs written by Eric Lidbom and let's just say that I do not enjoy the factory made music. Kudos to Mrs. Lords aka Robin Beck for stunning backup vocals though.

The core of 'Precious Metal' are solid ALBUM tracks such as "Epic", "Live Every Day (Like It's The Last)", "Permission To Die", "Swimming With The Sharks", "Action", and the closing track of "You Might Just Save My Life". The latter will also remind you of RATT somehow and especially their 1990 album, 'Detonator'. Darn catchy, but not really what you expect from House Of Lords and a return to the roots album? The phrasing and style 'ala Pearcy is in fact the work of Christian.

Production and overall sound quality has improved since last and Christian's solo album. The songs are not quite as fun and the excellent soaring vocals by James Christian always a notch or three above everything else on this record. Solid effort without any major ups nor downs.

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