HOUSE OF LORDS – New World / New Eyes (2020)
HOUSE OF LORDS‘ 10th studio album, “New World – New Eyes“, will be released on June 12 via Frontiers Music. Recorded and produced by the band’s singer and mastermind, James Christian, the follow-up to 2017’s “Saint Of The Lost Souls” has a great flow of up-tempo and mid-tempo rockers mixed with power ballads, which lean a bit more toward keyboards this time around providing an AOR sheen all over.
“New World – New Eyes” is already one of the year’s most anticipated melodic rock / AOR releases and will not disappoint fans of the band and the genre. Christian is in good form delivering smooth vocals, guitarist Jimi Bell is on fire with his melodic riffs throughout the album, Chris Tristram on bass is solid than ever, and B.J. Zampa brings a powerful rhythm foundation to this new HOUSE OF LORDS effort.
This time, the band has cooperated with none other than Mark Spiro (GIANT, BAD ENGLISH, CHEAP TRICK) on the songwriting of most of the songs. More co-write came via Tommy Denander, Chris Pelcer and Richard Hymas.
Many critics have gone to print noting the inconsistency of the reformed House Of Lord’s 21st century releases. Maybe that would explain why Christian has brought in Spiro and Denander to collaborate on the songwriting. Though you have to say that the Jimi Bell / Jeff Kent writing axis impressed on the last couple of releases.
A few songs open out quickly onto a familiar landscape. The picks of these are period pieces, ‘One More’ and ‘The Both Of Us’. Each is worked up from a simple tune into no-frills, muscled up melodic hard rock, with the “best before 1989” labels removed.
Others here take a little longer to unlock, but once you open the door and step inside it’s well worth the effort.
There are echoes of sixties’ protest songs in ‘Change, Whats It Gonna Take’ and ‘New World’. They are not quite so lyrically pointed or as challenging as Dennis DeYoung’s recent reflections on the current state of world affairs, but musically, not launching the declamatory chorus until we are two and half minutes into ‘New World’ is quite daring. And it works a treat. The ultra processed backing vocals give it additional heft.
To balance things, ‘Better Off Broken’ is a straight heavy rocker, mixing classic riffs with modern production.
Then the album takes a striking and emphatic turn with ‘Perfectly, Just You And I’ and ‘We’re All That We’ve Got’.
The first is a fresh faced ballad, an acoustic / electric hybrid. Christian shows an ear for fine textural detail here, having his lead vocal shadowed by background harmonies, adding depth and indeed, an old fashioned romanticism to an elegant rock song.
The second mixes up standard melodic rock ingredients – a heavy percussive thump, cascading keyboards and tough as teak guitars – with philosophical lyrics, beautifully handled by Christian’s mournful yet ultimately triumphal vocals.
The help of external songwriters made wonder to ‘New World / New Eyes’. House Of Lords 2020 is not the band with that very big ‘arena’ sound anymore but has developed into a very versatile hard rock band that still has plenty to offer.
Has the band though added anything to their legacy with this CD by doing things different? That is the question that can only be answered by the fans.
01. New World New Eyes
02. Change (What’s It Gonna Take)
03. One More
04. Perfectly (You And I)
05. The Both Of Us
06. Chemical Rush
07. We’re All That We Got
08. Better Off Broken
09. $5 Buck Of Gasoline
10. The Chase
11. The Summit
James Christian – lead vocals
Jimi Bell – guitar
Chris Tristram – bass
BJ Zampa – drums