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'Precious Metal'
(Frontiers Records)
Release Date: 21st February 2014

Gary 'Rockulus' Clarke

Rockulus Maximus

house of lords

The career of these melodic rockin' juggernauts takes place in two parts. The first part of their output included three very consistent studio albums in the shape of their self-titled debut, followed by 'Sahara' and then 'Demon's Down'. I delighted in hearing those discs play every time the stylus made contact with the grooves.

Moving forwards in our time machine, House Of Lords then re-surfaced with an album called 'The Power And The Myth' in 2004 which promised much but delivered a collision of influences and styles which didn't quite gel neatly together. The result might have been a faltering new beginning but the band complete with a new line-up soon pounced in 2006 with 'World Upside Down'.

This reboot catapulted the band into familiar realms with their infamous big sound incorporating luscious keys and chunky guitars. Vocals were handled throughout line-up changes and challenges by James Christian who possesses a truly fine pair of lungs.

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Since 'World Upside Down' the momentum and chemistry on show have propelled studio album after studio album in to the right direction, and each of these newer albums like 'Come To My Kingdom', 'Cartesian Dreams' and 'Big Money' have really done the business. The same Melodic Rock forces are united for this latest offering which shouldn't disappoint.

Maybe the keys are taking more of a backseat than you may be familiar with, but they still surface on occasion. The Rock-o-meter has been steamed up with the power of guitars and energy that has evidently been injected on 'Precious Metal'. There are moments where ballads make an appearance, but for the most part this album hails the concept of driving Rock.

He opening three tracks settles any notion of doubt that this is going to be a melodic riot. 'Battle' complete with sustained guitar introducing the instrumental flourish, before the riff kicks in and the band are in full flow is indicative of what is to follow.

Listen out for the chorus, "In-to, in-to, battle!" 'I'm Breakin' Free' maintains this blast to the ears with the wall of guitar and recognition for arrangement merging tightly. With a thunderous end to this track, 'Epic' (no relative to the Faith No More classic) steps in to earshot next with some light keys before the onslaught of the band stomps in.

If you've always imagined House Of Lords needed attitude added to their arsenal, then this may prove to be a wet dream. 'Live Every Day (Like It's The Last)' slows the pace and reminds the listener of their softer side. Well paced and a welcome change to the tempo for the first half of 'Precious Metal'.

Alongside Christian are his regular contributors Jimi Bell on guitar, bassist Chris McCarvill and drummer extraordinaire BJ Zampa. They combine positively on 'Permission To Die' which continues the upbeat approach before reaching a sudden halt, welcoming the gentle and tender opening of the title track. Christian's vocals soar over the delicate music and it's during these moments that I realise how special this band are.

We crunch our way through the gears back to full-speed as 'Swimmin' With The Sharks' chugs through the walls! 'Raw' doesn't do much to slow things down as the band seem to have lost the brakes on this vehicle. 'Enemy Mine' invests their poppier sensibilities and we're treated to guest vocals from Robin Beck.

After this infectious duet, 'Action' and 'Turn Back The Tide' juggle this fresh energy the band have brought to the table with a controlled delivery that pushes the hook-laden choruses to satisfactory heights. Final track 'You Might Just Save My Life' does an honourable job of finishing this studio album.

2014 to my ears has been a wonderful year thus far. I feel the benchmark has been raised and 'Precious Metal' maintains this observation. They'll be touring Europe in March alongside Robin Beck and special opening act Estrella. If you're looking for a new party to attend this year, then perhaps this tour could well be a worthy candidate?

But for now, have a think about whether you can afford another fabulous slab of loud, raucous and majestic Rock music.

I'm Breakin' Free
Live Every Day (Like It's The Last)
Permission To Die
Precious Metal
Swimmin' With The Sharks
Enemy Mine
Turn Back The Tide
You Might Just Save My Life

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