On their latest release, Big Money, House of Lords reminds us yet again what an underrated band they are. Their last release (2009’s Cartesian Dreams) was so grand that it ranked on my top ten hard rock records of the year list (no easy feat). With singer James Christian still sounding magnificent on the microphone and his current bandmates following suit on their respective instruments, House of Lords prove once again that they are a force to be reckoned with.
Big Money opens with the hard rocking title track that immediate reminds the listener of why House of Lords is such a great band. Packed with strong guitar riffs, a heavy handed drum beat by B.J. Zampa, and some solid vocals by James Christian, “Big Money” is as strong an opener for a record as they come. James Christian can still pack a wallop when singing a tune. His voice sounds as magnificent today as it did back in 1989 when the band debuted. Father time has been very kind to James Christian’s voice.
Proving they can still belt out a ballad with the best of them, House of Lords included “The Next Time I Hold You,” on this record. A powerful love-fest of a song, cigarette lighters will be out in full force if the band decides to play this in concert. House of Lords was kind enough to remind us all what a power ballad should sound like and delivered a superb one in “The Next Time I Hold You.” With exceptional vocals, a solid guitar solo, and a classic arrangement, this is a fantastic ballad and one of the best tracks on the disc.
Synthesizers dominate the music throughout Big Money, making it sound like a harder edged Europe. While House of Lords has always had keyboards in their music, I can’t recall an album where they dominated the landscape of the music as much as they do on Big Money. The added element doesn’t take away from the music, but the disc may have benefited from more guitar solos and less synth work. There are areas on the record screaming for a guitar solo, only to be filled in by some keyboards. That’s not to take away from the great work that keyboardist Jeff Kent has done, but some more solos from Jimi Bell would have helped on certain songs.
Following the mantra of “always leave them wanting more,” House of Lords waited for the final track of the disc to unleash their best song. “Blood” is a hard rocking masterpiece that includes outstanding vocals, a ripping guitar solo, and arena pounding drums. The synthesizers were reduced to a background rhythm section, making “Blood” a much heavier song than most of the album.
Overall, House of Lords have produced another solid record that is worth seeking out and adding to your collection. With any luck, we may see this band on some of the festival bills in 2012. A stop at M3 would be real nice! With new music to support, I suppose that anything is possible.
Rating: Out of 10
- Big Money
- One Man Down
- First To Cry
- Someday When
- Livin’ In A Dream World
- The Next Time I Hold You
- Run For Your Life
- Once Twice
House Of Lords Is:
James Christian – Lead Vocals, Guitar
Jimi Bell – Guitar
Chris McCarvill – Bass Guitar
B. J. Zampa – Drums
Jeff Kent – Keyboards
Frontiers Records is pleased to announce the release of the brand new HOUSE OF LORDS studio album “Big Money” on September 23rd in Europe and September 27th in North America.
Following on the heels of the successful release of « Cartesian Dreams » House of Lords are coming back with another amazingly strong release which presents again all the trademark elements of their Melodic Hard Rock sound. « I am very proud to have done four HOL CD’s with the same line-up » says singer James Christian, « I enjoy working with every one of them and plan to do many more records in the future. Mark Baker has now been on board as a co-writer for the last two CD’s I love working with him. We are totally on the same page when writing new music ».
And indeed, the new album, is truly newest addition to an already stellar catalogue of songs. “Big Money”, is well, ‘BIG’. The album starts with the trademark vocals of James Christian and crashes into a Power Rock Classic that you will not forget after the first listen, followed by in a song that Christian describes “as the band’s best work to date”: “One Man Down”. Each song has its own distinct quality as you would expect from The Lords and once again the album is full of soaring choruses, awesome guitar work and songs that grab you from the first listen and don’t let go.
“The elements we use on “Big Money” are always the same for us and that is to write and record the best songs that we can” explains Christian. “We always write enough songs for more than one CD and then we pick the best songs to make up the new record. We will always be a Melodic Rock Group. It is the music that made us want to be musicians in the first place. So we will always stay true to that art!”. James teamed up again on the songwriting with long-time friend and partner Mark Baker along with the other band members Jimi Bell and BJ Zampa and Swedish producer/guitarist Tommy Denander.
House of Lords debuted in 1989 with the release of the self-titled album, a record which is still regarded as one of the best Arena Rock releases of the 80’s. The colossal sound, the soaring vocals of James Christian and instrumental capabilities of the band (which featured ex Angel and Giuffria Gregg Giuffria, along with such luminaries as Lanny Cordola, Chuck Wright and Ken Mary), reminiscent of such frontrunners as Whitesnake, Deep Purple and Van Halen, immediately brought the band to the attention of the media and fans.
With their sophomore release entitled “Sahara”, House of Lords gained considerable chart success with their cover version of Blind Faith’s “Can’t Find My Way Home”. After a tour with Nelson in 1991, the group disbanded, eventually coming back with a new lineup (only featuring original members Giuffria and Christian) in 1992 with “Demon’s Down”. With the change of the musical climate, House of Lords went into hibernation, until the original lineup came back together in 2000, releasing of the controversial “Power and the Myth” an album which featured a sound leaning more towards Progressive Hard Rock with 70’s rock influences.
After a short European tour, singer James Christian decided to go back to the trademark Arena Rock sound of House Of Lords, putting together a new line-up with the blessing of founding member Gregg Giuffria, who opted out right before the release of “Power and the Myth”. New members Jimi Bell on guitars, B.J. Zampa on drums and Chris McCarvill on bass supplied a true powerhouse sound to the fifth studio album “World Upside Down”, a record which caused a real stir in the Hard Rock and Melodic Rock scene and was followed up by the equally impressive “Come to My Kingdom” and “Cartesian Dreams”.
The new album “Big Money” includes the following tracks: Big Money, One Man Down, First To Cry, Searchin’, Someday When, Livin’ In A Dream World, The Next Time I Hold You, Run For Your Life, Hologram, Seven, Once Twice, Blood. Also included: multimedia bonus videoclip “Someday When”.
Check out the promotional EPK of “Big Money” following the link below:
HOUSE OF LORDS have already confirmed the following tour dates in Europe:
15 October – UK – Sheffield – Corporation
18 October – Germany – Osnabrueck – Ballroom
20 October – Germany – Munich – Garage Deluxe
21 October – Netherlands – Weert – De Bosuil
22 October – France – Le Savigny – L’empreinte
24 October – Germany – Frankfurt Am Main – Sinkasten
28 October – Italy – Bologna – Sottotetto
29 October – Italy – Trofarello (TO) – Il Peocio
30 October – Switzerland – Pratteln – Z7 Rockfabrik
2 November – Austria – Kufstein – Q-West
4 November – Sweden – Vaxjo – Dirty Harry
5 November – Sweden – Trolhattan – Backstage
10 November – Spain – Madrid
11 November – Spain – Valladolid
13 November – Portugal -Lisbon – Clap Box / Music Box
House of Lords
James Christian – vocals
Jimi Bell – guitars
BJ Zampa – drums
Chris McCarvill – bass
Is the sequel ever as good as the original? For House of Lords the answer is a resounding YES! After a “What the Hell Were They Thinking” moment that was the release of 2000’s “the Power & the Myth” James Christian said enough is enough, and with the blessing of founder Gregg Giuffria, put together a new lineup consisting of Jimi Bell (Guitars), BJ Zampa (Drums), and Chris McCarvill (Bass) and a return to the melodic sound House of Lords were known for. With the release of two very solid albums “World Upside Down” and “Come To My Kingdom” House of Lords were back at the forefront of the Melodic Rock world, but the release of the lineup’s third album “Cartesian Dreams” puts the band way ahead of the competition. If I could only use one word to describe the sound of “Cartesian Dreams” it would be heavy, by far the heaviest HoL album to date but still retaining HoL’s trademark melody and sound. James Christian’s voice still sounds fantastic and the band as a whole are tight and in sync with one another.
“Cartesian Dreams” starts out with a bang with the title track, and immediately gives us a taste of what we are in for with this release. Heavy, thumping, with nice keyboard fills and some outstanding background vocals Bell has an excellent solo but it is BJ Zampa that outshines everyone on this track with his drumming. “Born To Be Your Baby” follows up with a great sing a long chorus that will get stuck in your head and not let go. One of the catchiest tracks on the album that has single written all over it. “Desert Rain” is next in line and much like “Cartesian Dreams” is a heavy thumping song about the Iraq War, with the whole band sounding fantastic. On the American version “Sweet September” is the closest song you could call a ballad on this album and it is a great one with some nice background vocals and James Christian sounds amazing on this song. “Bangin'” is a great dirty rocker, which would make a great lead off single, a classic HoL song. At first listen you think “A Simple Plan” is a slow mid tempo number, but once Bell’s guitar kicks in, that changes your thinking completely, while it does stay in the mid tempo range it is anything but slow. Once again the band sounds outstanding on this song especially Bell and McCarvill.
The rest of “Cartesian Dreams” is filled with more heavy melodic rockers like “Saved By Rock”, “Repo Man” and the outstanding “Joanna” another song with single written all over it. If you get the European version look out for the song “the Train” a slow mid tempo song with some great lyrics and background vocals. Fans of HoL and Melodic Rock in general are going to find “Cartesian Dreams” to not only be the best release of HoL’s new Lineup but one of the best of the band’s entire career. Definitely a must have album.
Rating: Out of 10
01. Cartesian Dreams
02. Born To Be Your Baby
03. Desert Rain
04. Sweet September
06. A Simple Plan
07. Never Look Back
08. The Bigger They Come
09. Repo Man
10. Saved By Rock
12. The Train (Bonus Track)
House of Lords are:
James Christian – vocals
Jimi Bell – guitars
BJ Zampa – drums
Chris McCarvill – bass
I must admit that I really wasn’t looking very forward to seeing Dokken. I wasn’t very impressed by their new CD, and with Don Dokken being the only member of the original band left, this is more like the Don Dokken solo band.
Dokken guitarist Jon Levin, without question can play any guitar lick that George Lynch recorded before him, and does it quite well. That was the highlight for me, when it came to Dokken’s set. Chris McCarvill from House of Lords played bass (covering for Barry Sparks who did not tour) and BJ Zampa (also from House of Lords) played drums, covering for Mick Brown who was on tour with Ted Nugent. I never had the chance to see House of Lords play live, so it was to cool to at lease see a couple of the guys performing in Dokken’s band.
I don’t know if Don was trying to squeeze some high notes out of his crotch, but he wore a pair of jeans that both my wife and I thought was far too tight for a man of his age and size. As you can see in the video below, Don was skipping the higher vocals in Kiss of Death. Amazingly, his newer song, “Standing On the Outside” sounds better than his Lynch era material.
The set list has the following songs:
“Intro (Without Warning)”, “Tooth and Nail”, “Into the Fire”
“Standing On the Outside”, “Dream Warriors”, “Just Got Lucky”, “Kiss of Death”, “Alone Again”, “Breaking The Chains” and “In My Dreams”
As much as I love the Lynch and Pilson era of Dokken, I think Don Dokken needs to find another bass player that can sing the higher parts that he can no longer reach. Pilson’s vocals are still great missed in this band. Aside from Don’s diminished range in his vocals, Jon Levin‘s playing was excellent all night, and for the band having some fill in musicians, the songs sounded better than expected.
Check out the live clips from the show below.
Kiss of Death
Standing on the Outside/ Dream Warriors