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House Of Lords - World Upside Down (CD)

House Of Lords
World Upside Down
by Grigoris Chronis at 19 June 2006, 4:20 AM

For the ones that have followed the band's sound over all these years, it is widely known that House Of Lords deliver nothing but quality music. I was a little bit curious what this album would be like, but - eventually - I was hit by something different than what I expected. May we now proceed to a CD that - by no logical means - has the House Of Lords logo on the front cover but has 'tiny' little to do with the HOL team? And someone has to tell Frontiers to be careful what they're writing in their Press releases at times. “…quite possibly the best CD House Of Lords has ever released…, my foot…
When keyboardist Gregg Giuffria formed Angel in the early 70s, one of the most influential Hard/Pomp Rock bands was shaped (even if with not relatively glorious sales). Jumping off to his own Giuffria project in the mid-80s, the term “cinema Rock was created to describe Gregg's keys-against-riffs songwriting recipe.
It was time for a 'super' band to take from after Giuffria's 'engravement'. And what an album 1988's same titled debut (on RCA) this was! A team like Giuffria, supreme vocalist James Christian (L.A. Rocks, Arcangel), also Giuffria axeman Lanny Cordola, Quiet Riot bassist Chuck Wright and charismatic skinsman Ken Mary (Fifth Angel, Alice Cooper, Chastain) would win at first sight (or note, we should comment). 'Epic' Hard Rock was this, or not? Driving off to another masterpiece, 1990's “Sahara pushed the band to cult status. 1992's “Demons Down carried the myth but men like these (blame countless sessions, projects etc) were ideal for various lineup changes until the band finally called quits.
Not until 2004 were we uninformed 'bout whatever happened. Then Frontiers released the “Power & The Myth comeback album, with the original lineup omitting Giuffria; Derek Sherinan (Dream Theater, Alice Cooper, Planet X) had stepped in for the recording.  A rather 'weak' approach of the dominant House Of Lords sound - even if of the usual qualitative music - and this album did not achieve that much but 'sent' the band on the road again; had the chance to see them live last year and - even without Gregg - it was some kind of magic in the air. Good news was expected to follow, moving on to this year we're now running.
A highly anticipated album, “World Upside Down now sees a poor editor scratching his head with puzzlement. Only James Christian is left from the 'classic' lineup, so why to use the HOL name? Gregg Giuffria providing keyboard production services in this CD is not enough for a reason. On the other side, James Christian was quite active in 2004 - his “Meet The Man album had enough balls - so as to continue his own career using this stuff, if he crafted the songs himself.
For whoever not interested in the previous paragraph's notes, music does the talking from now on: This album is very good. A dozen of songs feature Christian in a perfect shape; for those who consider him the key factor for the HOL sound, clap your hands with relief . Christian's providing excellent singing, backed up by a fine 'instruments' team. As for the songs themselves, various reviews I read prior to mine focus on something I also proudly agree. This is the normal sequel to the HOL discography after the “Demons Down album. You can (dis)agree later.
The harsh of “These Are The Times and “I'm Free fits in harmony with typically supreme HOL ballads like “Your Eyes (mainly) and “Field Of Shattered Dreams, while mid-tempo killers like “S.O.S. will turn to be a real favorite 'night drive' tune. Not to forget, Bell's solos are adequate for such an album/sound while - even if I'm not 100% sure that Giuffria was part of it - the keys 'backing' is simply immense. Thumps up to whoever deserved the credit.
This album has the potential, it has the legacy, it has the quality, it has the balls. Would not care less for the lineup, since the music is very good. Like to grizzle a little bit 'bout where's the rest of the crew, but - anyway - “World Upside Down means HOL quality for one more time. Let's see what comes next in line.

3 Star Rating

Tracklist:
Mask Of Eternity
These Are The Times
All The Way To Heaven
Field Of Shattered Dreams
I'm Free
All The Pieces Falling
Rock Bottom
Million Miles
Your Eyes
Ghost Of Time
My Generation
S.O.S In America
World Upside Down
Lineup:
James Christian - Lead Vocals, Acoustic Guitar
Jeff Kent - Bass, Keyboards, Backing Vocals
Jimi Bell - Guitar
B.J. Jampa - Drums
Record Label: Frontiers
     


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