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House Of Lords - 'Precious Metal' http://rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/e0/a7/0c/House-Of-Lords-Precious-Metal-66-1394051613.jpg Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     March 05, 2014    
 
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It's early in 2014 but already I have a contender for my album of the year.

As a long-term House Of Lords fan, any release from the band is always met with an air of excitement from yours truly. However, as two of my favourite albums of 2013 were front-man James Christian's solo effort 'Lay It All On Me' and his HOL cohorts side-band Maxx Explosion's 'Forever' debut, the anticipation for this new release has been heightened considerably.

Previous album 'Big Money' was their heaviest and rawest-sounding release to date, but while 'Precious Metal' continues in that heavy vein for the most part, stylistically there are elements that hark back to the early HOL days with some of their most grandiose arrangements for some time, while constantly looking forward with some contemporary twists. Opener 'Battle' arrives on a wall of Jimi Bell's guitar histrionics before B.J. Zampa's enormous drums crash in and propel the song forward, while huge swathes of keyboards swirl in and out of the riff and sweep the powerful chorus along. Living up to its name is 'Epic', a high-tempo pounding pomp-rocker that sees HOL head into Royal Hunt territory with synthetic string sounding keyboard stabs and a chorus to die for. 'Permission To Die' is a groove-laden rocker built around a spiraling guitar riff, 'Swimmin' With The Sharks' another frenetically paced offering whilst 'Action' is a contemporary-sounding rocker with a big chorus driven along on Chris McCarvill's rumbling bass-line.

Fireworks - The Ultimate Magazine For Melodic Rock Music

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However, there is still an abundance of the classy Melodic Rock anthems that have been a hallmark of HOL output since day one like 'I'm Breakin' Free', (featuring some astounding drumming from Zampa - surely one of the most under-rated drummers around), the cautionary 'Live Every Day (Like It's Your Last)', 'Turn Back The Tide' and the neatly-arranged 'You Might Just Save My Life'. Of course any HOL album would not be complete with a couple of wonderful ballads and the haunting 'Precious Metal' is one of their finest and most beautiful love songs to date; very understated and mainly acoustic in delivery with just Bell's guitar solo adding fire midway through assisted by a serene vocal performance from Christian. Once again, Robin Beck lends her considerable talents to proceedings with some excellent backing vocals throughout as well as duetting with husband Christian on 'Enemy Mine', a very modern sounding ballad with some unusual keyboard textures, not the sort of song you would expect from HOL, but it works very well and opens up enormous possibilities for the future of the band.

It's early in 2014 but already I have a contender for my album of the year. Like a fine wine, House Of Lords simply get better and better with age.

Ant Heeks

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