“House of Lords” Saint of the Lost Souls – CD REVIEW by Adam McCann
Record: Frontiers Records 2017
There was a brief time when melodic hard rock ruled the airwaves, bands with big stage shows and even bigger hair, flashy guitar solos with lashings of keyboards born out of the love for bands like Kiss, Journey, Foreigner and Van Halen. The year is 1988 and House of Lords are on the up, but the focus of the media would soon shift away from melodic hard rock with the bands that were at the forefront of the movement forced below the radar. However, after a 15 year absence from mainstream view, House of Lords and indeed melodic hard rock began to resurface aided by growing record labels such as Frontiers Records.
Since that point, another decade has passed and melodic hard rock has solidified its foothold, alongside this, House of Lords have released their latest in a steady stream of albums; Saint of the Lost Souls. As you would expect, Saint of the Lost Souls is full of the honey glazed melodies that you would expect from House of Lords and James Christian’s voice sounds as good now as it did in 1988, even if he has started to resemble a Joe Lynn Turner waxwork model.
Saint of the Lost Souls does however contain a decent amount of the melodic hard rock fodder that you would expect from House of Lords with many of the songs falling into catchy songs with big chorus’, but ultimately unmemorable. The album begins with the lead-off single Harlequin, which is a bit of an odd choice, the track itself is rather flat and one dimensional and a perfect example of the melodic hard rock fodder mentioned above. However, there is an endearment to Harlequin, you want to like it, maybe not at first, but once the Magnumisms take over, the record becomes quite enjoyable, in that throwaway melodic hard rock kind of way.
The main issue with House of Lords has always been in the song writing and once more this rears its head. Even if some of the tracks are growers, most of the songs are catchy foot tapping songs that pull you in, but not everything can be perfect as these are saddled with melodic hard rock by numbers lyrics and can be seen during New Day Breakin’ or The Other Option and of course, what melodic hard rock album wouldn’t be complete without a sickly sweet ballad? The Sun Will Never Set Again isn’t actually a bad ballad, so get your lighters at the ready with your best Desmond Child style whoa whoa whoa singing voice and ignore the fact that when The Sun Will Never Set Again gets going, the acoustic guitar sounds exactly like Alone by Heart. But, if you are looking for a song that harks back to the glory days of House of Lords, then you will find it in the title track, a sweet slice of nostalgia that lets you remember that somewhere it is always 1988.
There are a lot of songs on Saint of the Lost Souls that have an overtone of ‘something else’, both Hit the Wall and possibly the best song on the record; Grains of Sand have an element of Def Leppard and they wouldn’t be out of place on 2008’s Songs from the Sparkle Lounge. Whereas Reign of Fire oddly has an ending that is as near as you can get without actually being Basket Case from Green Day, with The Art of Letting Go having all the writing hallmarks of a Bon Jovi song.
The truth of the matter is that Saint of the Lost Souls is another House of Lords album, it will not set the world on fire and the bands glory days are well behind them. However, there are those out there that are huge fans of melodic hard rock that will adore this album and at the end of the day, House of Lords know their market, their loyal fan base will rabidly eat up Saint of the Lost Souls and they will enjoy it. 6/10
Adam McCann / MHF Magazine