Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Album Review: House Of Lords - Saint Of The Lost Souls

A couple years ago, when I was talking about House Of Lords' previous album, I was musing on how they were a band that always made solid music, but I was never in a rush to listen to them. Several albums had slipped past me, and I didn't care. That was changed with "Indestructible", which was a powerhouse album that I still go back to. It not only made me rethink my opinion of House Of Lords, but it made their next album appointment listening, to see if they could keep up that momentum, or if it was a fleeting moment in the sun.

We are now at that judgment day.

Things get off to a good star with "Harlequin". After a frustrating wait for the build-up to finish, the song itself is classic House Of Lords, melodic rock with James Christian's hook carrying the day. The production is a bit more polished than last time out, but stops short of being the hyper-glossy sound that makes many AOR bands unappealing to me. House Of Lords still sounds like a rock band.

By the middle of the record, we get to the same problem I had with the previous album; House Of Lords occasionally tries to write a song heavier than they are as a band, and it doesn't work. In this case, it's the title track, which is let down first of all by the guitars not being heavy enough for the riff they're trying to get across, but more by the chorus, which can't fit a smooth melody into the space given for the vocals. It's more aggressive, and less interesting.

House Of Lords is better at the first word of 'melodic rock', and it shows. When they don't worry about trying to be heavy, they make fantastic music. As I already mentioned, "Harlequin" is a great song, and the ballad "The Sun Will Never Set Again" is also top-notch. They aren't fluff, so I can't understand the need to try to up the heaviness here and there to a degree the band just isn't capable of. It's better to work to your strengths.

That would make this still a good album, if they were able to hit their marks. "Reign Of Fire" is a pretty bad track, and while "Hit The Wall" does make an impact, it does so in a way I find annoying instead of memorable. This is the same issues I've had with House Of Lords before. They are not at all consistent when it comes to songwriting. There will be four or five amazing tracks on an album, and then another three that leave me scratching my head that it's the same band. That holds true here as well. There's half of this album that is really good stuff. The other half is either boring or disappointingly mediocre.

That leaves me to say that "Saint Of The Lost Souls" is merely a decent album, and is certainly not as good as "Indestructible" was. That album was fantastic, and this one makes me want to pull that one out again.

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