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House of Lords: Saints and Sinners

Saints and Sinners is the new studio album by American hard rockers House of Lords and is my point of entry to the band’s extensive catalog… which can be seen as an advantage, right? Here we have James Christian on vocals and guitars, Mark Mangold on keyboards, Johan Koleberg on drums, Jimi Bell on guitars, and according to Wikipedia, Chris Tristram on bass.

The title track “Saints and Sinners” is a very strong opener, catchy stuff with great tempo, cool riffs, keys, and vocals creating the first immediate hook. “House of The Lord” has a combination of extremely sticky melodies and sugary lyrics with some heaviness on the guitar riffs and the drums, but maybe a little too sweet for my taste, not bad, simply don’t love it. Now, “Take It All” has the bubblegum I do like to chew, heavy pounding rhythmic section, the riffing, the memorable bridge and choruses, the backing vocals crafting the correct atmosphere for a radio hit song…one I came back for to listen multiple times. I almost forgot… it has the right Journey sounding guitar solo, so accurate.

“Road Warrior” is also very good! The galloping rhythmic section following the immense keyboard soloing that opens the song… perhaps the more 80’s sounding tune of the record, like a pop version of a NWOBHM single, like if J. Lord would have been playing keyboards for Saxon or Maiden? My crazy ears, I guess! “Mistress of the Dark” is one of those songs that doesn’t do much, same old hard rock, more on the AOR territory than Glam sounding, melodic as hell but the lyrical content is somehow childish, at least for me. Not one of my favorites, even the guitar solo seats amongst the weakest (if any) of the album. The groovy bass would be a rescuable aspect for sure. “Avalanche” is a song I’ve developed a love-hate relationship with… a very cheese and melodic piano driven ballad, with even cheesier lyrics, and is so familiar to so many stuffs I’ve heard before… however it is also ear candy music, a slow builder with cool vocal harmonies, an instrumentation that helps to showcase how good James’s voice still sounds today!

“Roll Like Thunder” is another up-tempo catchy tune, but it suffers of those over produced choruses… imagine Hysteria era of Def Leppard… at this point it looks evident they are aiming at that type of production; however, the guitar work is outstanding! “Razzle Dazzle” … mid 70’s Led Zeppelin meets early Queen meets 80’s Deep Purple, with the very welcomed HOL topping… are you interested yet?

And finally, they let the drummer play! “Dreaming it All” kicks off at the sound of fast and heavy drumming accompanied by the heavy high pitch riffing leading towards one of the best songs here. What I really like about this song, besides the spectacular keys and guitars, is the fact that they follow the same vocal performance but in a less perfect sounding production used in previous songs, it sounds more natural, raw, better! “Taking My Heart Back” is one of the best songs here, the opening riff is so hooky. I also like a lot the keyboards on this song, they add little notes here and there that really enhance the music. Again, very melodic stuff with cranking guitar soloing. The last song “Angels Fallen” is an anthemic hard rocker, with great guitar work and heavy drumming, memorable choruses and great vocals. An album that ends as strong as it starts, unfortunately there’s some not so strong material in the middle, but a very good record overall.

Track Listing:
  1. Saints and Sinners (3:58)
  2. House of The Lord (5:38)
  3. Take it All (4:31)
  4. Road Warrior (5:17)
  5. Mistress of The Dark (7:12)
  6. Avalanche (4:16)
  7. Roll Like Thunder (3:48)
  8. Razzle Dazzle (4:23)
  9. Dreamin’ It All (4:23)
  10. Takin’ My Heart Back (3:50)
  11. Angels Fallen (4:08)

Added: October 17th 2022
Reviewer: Jose Antonio Marmol
Related Link: Band Facebook Page
Hits: 698
Language: english

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