Sound — 7
House Of Lords first came into formation from the ashes of Gregg Giuffria's solo project, the appropriately titled Giuffria. Determined to continue on where he last left off, Gregg comprised the majority of the group's 1988 self-titled studio album upon demo recordings of what was meant to be Giuffria's third studio effort. Using his status as a founding member from the highly influential 1970s hard rock band Angel, Gregg Giuffria was able to recruit a staggering amount of talent to contribute to House Of Lords' original three studio albums, including Paul Stanley from KISS, Mandy Meyer of Asia and Jeff Scott Soto.
Aside from this relatively large collection talent, House Of Lords already had a formidable lineup of lead vocalist James Christian, former Giuffria guitarist Lanny Cordola, Quiet Riot bassist Chuck Wright and Alice Cooper drummer Ken Mary. Had Christian been involved with any other artist up until this point, House Of Lords would have quickly been characterized as a supergroup, but nonetheless the band quickly made their own name for themselves and soon developed a dedicated following.
To ears of many listeners, what House Of Lords excavated on those first three efforts was a raw collection of exemplary glam metal, however as grunge began to rise in popularity artists within the same subgenre fell victim to the lack of exposure. House Of Lords was one of these artists, and soon disbanded while in the midst of working on their fourth album. 2004 marked a revival for the rock group, boasting the return of Christian, Cordola and Wright, while leaving the noticeable gap left by Gregg Giuffria. To date James Christian is the only member of the original lineup left in the House Of Lords lineup, however that hasn't prevented the band from creating new music, as is evident on the group's newly released ninth studio album "Precious Metal."
As compared to the band's earlier efforts, "Precious Metal" showcases an overall heavier take on the established House Of Lords sound. Songs such as the guitar dominated "I'm Breaking Free" and "Epic" are prime examples of this modernized style, and shows the band leaning somewhat away from the glam metal direction which decorated their first handful of albums, while retaining enough familiar qualities to appeal to dedicated followers. That being said, "Precious Metal" still includes plenty of moments which could easily sit amongst House Of Lords' early material, such as the harmony bolstered "Live Every Day (Like It's the Last)."
The absence of the once dominant keyboards within the House Of Lords sound is admittedly missed, especially when the members of the band hit their stride and create memorable melodic anthems. In the ears of this listener, songs such as "Action" and "Turn Back the Tide" would have strongly benefited from the addition of high-in-the-mix orchestral arrangements which Gregg Giuffria was well known for. This very absence proves to be a dual edged sword, however, meaning that the lack of soaring synthesizers does in fact compliment the album's heavier moments, for example the distortion fueled "Swimmin With the Sharks" and "Raw."
Lyrics — 8
James Christian's voice has aged relatively well, considering the majority of his catalog with House Of Lords are filled with considerably high vocal melodies and the occasional addition of scratchy falsetto. The addition of Christian to the current House Of Lords lineup provides some justification for the band's current existence, and also serves as a firm tie back to the group's earlier efforts.
Overall Impression — 7
It's enjoyably surprising to see House Of Lords still out and creating new music, during an era where so many renowned rock artists would rather tour off of their greatest hits or are simply too hesitant to re-enter the studio. With their ninth studio album "Precious Metal," the outcome may be of hit-and-miss quality as far as whether or not the band stays true to the classic House of Lords sound, but there isn't a clunker in the bunch. The clear standout moments on this album would have to be "Live Every Day (Like It's the Last)," "Turn Back the Tide" and "Action." Any familiar listener should give this album a chance, as there are plenty enough enjoyable moments here to justify picking it up for yourself and giving it a quick spin.