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House Of Lords – Big Money

House Of Lords
Big Money
by Tomer "Tommy-Foxx" Darmon at 09 January 2012, 8:19 PM

What we got here is a piece of history in the AOR genre that is the 8th studio album of a band that went under plenty of transformations in its line up to the point of changing their name from GIUFFRIA to HOUSE OF LORDS. It all began in 1987 when the band got a record deal from Gene Simmons and James Christian joined the band as the lead singer. He brought the band more hard rocking style that shadowed the keyboard’s high influence on the music.

Since then HOUSE OF LORDS provided several hits. The special ones, "Love Don't Lie", and "I Wanna Be Loved", were the shining light of their self-titled release. After that album, HOUSE OF LORDS continued on releasing albums but didn't receive the spot light that they had upon their self-titled. Nowadays, it is rare to see a band that keeps up a pure AOR style. That is exactly what HOUSE OF LORDS has been doing to date. Along with an 80's production, you wouldn’t believe that their recent releases were only a few years old. As of now, James Christian is the one and only member left from the original lineup. Also, it says a lot, especially when judging from the style of the band’s new album, “Big Money”, released via Frontiers Records. It is a Hard Rocking AOR with bombastic anthem choruses equally similar to Christian’s solo career albums.

The opener, "Big Money", reminded me a little bit of the old days of Y&T, as it starts with a massive and heavy opening guitar riff that merges into a melodic pre chorus. The completion of the right formula is the hailing of the strong chorus. Next track, "One Man Down", has some magic in it, commencing with an acoustic guitar riff and then evolves into an oriental verse with a sing along chorus that is an intro to an amazing guitar solo. Christian’s maintaining of his voice is outstanding, he sounds exactly like on the debut. "First To Cry" will stick in your head right from the first swing. It may sound commercial because of its rocking drive that reminds of BON JOVI and NELSON of the good old days."Searchin" is more of the Blues kind. As in past equal songs, it is a slow tempo, heavy and very powerful song with a melodic touch of the guitar during the entire choruses.

You may probably wonder how there wasn’t a single a ballad up until now? Do you really think that HOUSE OF LORDS will carry out and album without a ballad? Well there it is in the image of "The Next Time I Hold You". It may not be the sweet power ballad, and I know that they could have came up with a better one,  but don't get me wrong, this song is not bad. However, it lacks the magical stroke that HOUSE OF LORDS are specialized in. "Run For Your Life" is probably one of the best tracks here in the album, Hard Rock / AOR with a winning chorus that sounds like an anthem, spiced with the correct keyboards harmonies that fulfill the maximum potential of the song.

Up until now the album’s course was rather soft, yet as it came near its end, the music seemed heavier, especially when the main riffs were concerned. Furthermore, I found that the best solo guitar of the entire release is definitely on the song "Hologram". It surely elevated the track to a different level with its shredding style. In addition, this song has a bombastic feeling, everything seems to be vibrant and in the right place thanks to the little emphasis of the keyboards with the guitar lick and the rough vocals.

"Seven" is what a perfectly arranged Hard Rock song is all about. It has the energetic verses that got addictive heavy guitar riffs, the chorus is less powerful than the verse, but it didn’t bother me. "Once Twice" is the good measure of a great vocal performance with Christian’s singing some memorable catchy melodies. The drum work is fabulous here, each beat is thunderous, and the guitar shred is flowing and amazing. It is a very heavy song, not typically the AOR style but sure HOUSE OF LORDS did a great job on that one.

In the end, this is a great album with a style that is easy to put your head to it. The songs are catchy, there is a nice build of the songs from a melodic AOR that gets harder till the realms of Hard Rock. This album took me back to the time when CHINA and BRIGHTON ROCK were the hottest stuff of the scene. “Big Money” brought some good old memories with its remarkableness.

4 Star Rating

1. Big Money
2. One Man Down
3. First To Cry
4. Someday When
5. Searchin'
6. Living In a Dream World
7. The Next Time I Hold You
8. Run For Your Life
9. Hologram
10. Seven
11. Once Twice
12. Blood
James Christian- Vocals
Jimi Bell  - Guitar
Chris McCarvill – Bass
B.J.Zampa – Drums
Jeff Kent – Keyboards
Record Label: Frontiers Records


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