As a fervent, Attention Deficit Disorder-addled practitioner of the Hard Rock and Heavy Metal genres, my musical tastes (and thus the artists and groups I've found myself partaking in the most) have changed dramatically as I have aged, matured and inevitably grown older. Gone, for the most part, are the simple melodies of my woefully misspent youth, having been entirely--and in some cases unceremoniously--replaced by a mind-boggling series of increasingly-complex arrangements and abrasively introspective subject matter. Despite this, or perhaps in part because of it, I continue to find myself utterly fascinated with certain subsections of artists and groups I've become 'acquainted' with during my oft-adventure-filled experiences as an entertainment journalist. A prime example of this overly enthusiastic enamoring is my unwavering fondness of improbably long-running Melodic Hard Rock masters House Of Lords and their latest offerings Precious Metal.
On the stellar Precious Metal (2014), an expertly assembled twelve song collection of Melodic Hard Rock and Heavy Metal, each track, beginning with the maddeningly infectious “I'm Breakin' Free” and the smoldering Power Ballad “Live Every Day (Like It's The Last)”, immediately commands the rapt and undivided attention of all parties involved. Wisely attempting to capitalize on the tidal wave of momentum initiated with the release of the woefully-underrated Cartesian Dreams (2009) and Come To My Kingdom (2008), the group wastes little--if any--time driving home each key focal point via a seamless, mostly mid-tempo barrage of soaring vocals, blistering fretwork and imaginatively punishing rhythms. Boldly reinforcing their occasionally-maligned lineage (there have, after all. been several line-up changes and a veritable bevy of label turmoil) with an efficient enthusiasm that redefines their trademark tonalities, the group's initial excursions are quite palpable.
Continuing with the relentlessly pummeling “Swimmin' With The Sharks” and the uncharacteristically over-the-top“Action”, the steadfast--to say the very least--combination of vocalist James Christian, guitarist Jimi Bell (Mike Vescera, Thunderhead, the tragically brief David Wayne-led Wayne), bassist Chris McCarvill (Dokken, Eddie Ojeda, Jeff Scott Soto), keyboardist Jeff Kent and drummer BJ Zampa (Blues Saraceno, Obsession, Yngwie Malmsteen) steamrolls ahead like the well-oiled machine they have so obviously become. Firing on all cylinders early and often, the group dives headlong into what can only be described as a truly extraordinary collection of delightfully user-friendly material. Avoiding, for the most part, at least, the payola and chart position-driven tactics so often utilized by the would-be elite, the group proudly showcases their quasi-virtuosic tendencies without engulfing the proverbial average listener amid a veritable avalanche of fatuous complexities.
A self-Produced affair throughout, other standouts, including the shimmering, emotionally-charged lament “Turn Back The Tide” and the equally impressive closer “You Might Just Save My Life”, offer a wealth of further evidence in support of the group's rapidly-expanding legacy without, believe it or not, sounding either forced or dated. Forever--or so it would seem--silencing those once doubtful of their abilities to persevere within such a notoriously unfriendly musical climate, the group punctuates their more than considerable efforts with a staggering array of quasi-unrequited passion. While rather far removed from the dizzying heights of their mascara, hairspray and MTV-fueled heyday (i.e. the soaring Hot 100 hit “I Wanna Be Loved” and the overlooked Stan Bush-penned gem “Love Don't Lie”), what eventually separates the group from their few surviving contemporaries is a renewed focus on airtight musicianship and a thought-provoking lyrical approach.
But what are the downsides? Fortunately for all parties involved, they are few and far between. Although one might effectively argue that the group's particular distillation of the embattled 'Hair Metal' sub-genre may ultimately lack the omnipotent name recognition of yore (most notably ex-Angel/Giuffria keyboardist Greg Giuffria, former Impellitteri/Quiet Riot bassist Chuck Wright and ex-Accept/Alice Cooper/Fifth Angel drummer Ken Mary), the majority--if not all--of the decidedly tuneful wares contained herein only further solidify the group's already undeniably well-deserved reputation as a bona fide creative force not to be ignored. Needless to say, if you've once again found yourself in search of a refreshingly memorable trip down memory lane that doesn't involve wholeheartedly embracing a morbidly-obese expanse of spandex-clad Velveeta, then this, my friends, might just be the high-octane cures for whatever it is that ails you. Trust me, you won't be disappointed.
Precious Metal (2014)
Big Money (2011)
Cartesian Dreams (2009)
Come To My Kingdom (2008)
Live In The UK (2007)
World Upside Down (2006)
The Power And The Myth (2004)
Demons Down (1992)
House Of Lords (1988)
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