September 26, 2022

There can be few melodic rock fans who do not know of the American melodic rock band House Of Lords or have at least one of their very fine albums in their collections and to see the name is to see the hallmark of quality. Of course, those heady days of 1988 and the self-titled debut are long since behind us but the behemoth that is House Of Lords continues to walk the land of rock bestowing favours on all and sundry.

The band was formed in 1987 by the former Angel Keyboard player Greg Giuffria and went on to be a stadium rock band of some repute but the usual musical differences resulted in constant line-up changes and even a period of inactivity for around seven years before reforming in 2000. The band has released albums at regular periods since the release of The Power And The Myth, the ‘come back’ album if you will, in 2004 and the changes continued but they finally seemed settled with the same team of musicians with James Christian on vocals, Jimi Bell on guitar, Chris Tristram on bass and B J Zampa on drums as they all featured on Saints Of The Lost Souls in 2017 and New World – New Eyes in 2020.

However, it’s all change again on Saints And Sinners which is the band’s 11th album and sees another new version of the band with just James Christian (vocals, guitar) and Jimi Bell (guitar) remaining with the new guys Mark Mangold on keyboards and Johan Koleberg on drums joining the House Of Lords family. To pull in someone like Mangold is something of a coup as this talented singer, song writer and keyboard player adds real quality to the band and if you have a history that includes Touch, American Tears, Drive She said and The Sign then you are an important and pivotal player in the business. Koleberg (Lion’s Share and Therion)) brings a wealth of talent with him too making this freshened up version of the band perhaps as strong as it has been for many years. For sure, Jimi Bell is an exceptional guitarist, and his work is smooth and sublime with his licks being jaw droppingly good. As for James Christian, well, no accolades could really do justice to this legendary singer with his perfect voice, power and supreme delivery making him every bit the rock god that he is.

House Of Lords is at the top of the melodic rock tree when it comes to anthemic stadium rock with a lush and smooth sound that has led to the band being regulars of the airwaves for many years making them the very epitome of slick and emotion filled balladeers. Saints And Sinners continues in the best traditions of the band and is an album of delights with perfectly presented songs and a nice mixture of heart wrenching ballads and down and dirty hard rock songs that demand multiple repeat plays. Special praise must be given to Mark Mangold as his wonderful keyboards are very much to the fore and he and Bell help to make this as strong an album as the band has released in many a year. James Christian remains on top form with his vocals again being the real stand out on the album and if you have deserted the band in recent years then this is the ideal album to re-introduce your love for this finest of American AOR bands.

Unsurprisingly, the album is hook-laden and very much born in the 1980’s for sure but it is most definitely a record for today with its wonderful production and clean, crisp and fresh sound. In a world that is ever changing it is nice to see that such a legendary band is as relevant now as it was in the 1980s and that is testimony to the musicians and songwriters responsible for producing such a perfect melodic rock delight.

It would be unfair to select individual tracks for praise as every single song is wonderful but if you are a fan of House Of Lords in ballad mode then sit back and revel in the delightful Avalanche which is so emotive and shows that the band is in a class that very few can match.

House Of Lords – Saints And Sinners is out now on Frontiers Records

Saints And Sinners

  1. Saints And Sinners (3:59)
  2. House Of The Lord (5:38)
  3. Take It All (4:31)
  4. Road Warrior (5:17)
  5. Mistress Of The Dark (7:13)
  6. Avalanche (4:16)
  7. Roll Like Thunder (3:48)
  8. Razzle Dazzle (4:24)
  9. Dreamin’ It All (4:24)
  10. Takin’ My Heart Back (3:50)
  11. Angels Fallen (4:08)