Brian and I have been saying for the past few years that the bands we love have been recently making the best music of their careers! Armored Saint, WASP, Stryper and Europe have all released amazing albums that seem to be miles above their most successful and critically acclaimed works. Add to this the latest from House Of Lords, SAINT OF THE LOST SOULS.
For those who don't know their history, House Of Lords was formed out of the ashes of the band Guiffria and was signed to Simmons Records, the label formed by Gene Simmons of KISS. Since 1989 House Of Lords released ten studio albums and number eleven... their best and most complete by far!
SAINT OF THE LOST SOULS is a lesson in balance. The disc contains 11 tracks (12 on the Japanese version) with each one better than the next. Known primarily as a hard rock band, House Of Lords move between styles and textures yet keep it sounding like a cohesive collection. The album rocks when it needs to but it also has some beautiful moments and some very progressive moments.
Vocalist James Christian has one of the most expressive and never fading voices in rock. As I listen to songs like Ocean's Divide and my favorite from the album, New Day Breakin' his voice soars with emotion and conviction. Guitarist Jimi Bell is perfect on this album. He has a unique style and shows his virtuosity on full on rockers like the title track and can play it with feeling and heart on The Sun Will Never Set Again. Drummer BJ Zampa and new bassist Chris Tristram may not get the press and praise (sadly most don't) but in order for Christian and Bell to have their moments... Zampa and Tristram are there to back them up and let them shine. Listen to them on the the amazing Reign Of Fire as they go from a heavy AC/DC style riff to a very ASIA/STYX middle section.
Since their return to music in 2006, House Of Lords has released some amazing albums but SAINT OF THE LOST SOULS is to me the perfect record. Here, the songs are the stars, a perfect mix of harmony, melody and power. The balance I mentioned earlier is that nothing here is too heavy or to slow, to powerful or too soft.
For me House Of Lords falls right in the center of my musical dart board; perfect rock vocals, keyboards in the right place, expressive guitar and thundering rhythms to keep it all together....or throw Deep Purple, Europe, Yngwie Malmsteen, ASIA, UFO, Rainbow and Marillion into a blender, you will get the Matman perfect listen... or SAINT OF THE LOST SOULS.
Matman Rating - 5 out of 5 - Now my album of the year!!!
SAINT OF THE LOST SOULS will be released on March 23rd on Frontiers Music Srl. The Official House Of Lords website can be found at www.houseoflordsband.com.