On Friday, March 24th House of Lords will release their tenth studio album entitled Saint of the Lost Souls. This is the third consecutive release of theirs I have reviewed for the site, and House of Lords continue to be one of the most consistent bands on the scene today. While singer James Christian, guitarist Jimi Bell, and drummer BJ Zampa have been together since 2005 the band does usher in new bassist Chris Tristram to replace Chris McCarvill who moved on to Dokken.
House of Lords is known for their melodic rock sound that rides the fence between hard rock and pop rock. Their last two releases have been heading more towards the pop rock direction and Saint of the Lost Souls is no different. There is no doubt that from its inception House of Lords was meant to be a keyboard driven band, I mean Gregg Guiffria was a founding member. Make no mistake I am not saying this is a bad thing but does somewhat take away from what I consider to be one of the most underrated guitarists playing today, Jimi Bell. With the more keyboard heavy sound of this release, there are not as many spaces for him to shine except with his guitar solos and shine he does with those. Every solo on this album shows his ability to be tasteful, melodic and still be able to shred. To my ears, this album does not have as many heavy guitars as I am used to on a House of Lords release, and if I am being honest, it took several listens to be able to get into this album. However, once I did I can say that this is some of the band’s best work.
Saint of the Lost Souls opens with the track “Harlequin”, and this song features guest keyboardist Michele Luppi. On the last two albums, the band decided to open with the rockers “Battle” and “Go To Hell” respectively, that is not the case with this album. “Harlequin” is an extremely melodic, catchy song that has the trademark House of Lords soaring background vocals, tasteful keyboards, and shredding guitar solo. An excellent song and it really sets the tone for the rest of the album. Track two “Oceans Divide” is another great melodic, pop rock song, but “Hit the Wall” is House of Lords at its pop rock finest. This song just epitomizes how great of songwriters these guys are. The title track is next and it showcases the hard rock side of House of Lords. With its up-tempo beat and driving chorus, this is definitely the hardest rocking song on the album. “The Sun Will Never Set” is another ballad, which is well done. “New Day Breakin” is another really catchy pop rock song that will stick in your head all day. “Concussion” on the other hand, has a bluesy swagger to it which is very refreshing. “Reign of Fire” rocks with a very cool keyboard riff in the chorus, and“Art of Letting Go” is a good mid-tempo song that showcases what James can do as a singer. “Grains of Sand” is the other hard rocker on the album. With a thumping bass line this song rocks throughout. “The Other Option” opens with a cool guitar riff, and is a quality up-tempo rocker and finishes that album on a high note.
I think Saint of the Lost Souls definitely takes House of Lords in a more pop rock direction, but I have to say that these are some of the most listenable songs they have ever done. To me, the band really took extra time crafting these songs and it shows. After a couple of listens, you will have a hard time getting the songs out of your head. I strongly recommend Saint of the Lost Souls to anyone who likes melodic rock. I give it an 8.5 out of 11.