House of Lords (Simmons) 1988
1. "Pleasure Palace"
Hair metal to the maximum! House of Lords main claim to fame is Angel keyboardist Greg Guiffria. Gregg is one of the most underrated keyboardists in rock and for some reason, despite the fact that he has worked so hard for it, success has just not found him. The music on this debut is not without talent, but it doesn't contain a whole lot of hooks that are needed to get radio play. Actually this is probably one of the reasons I like them. I didn't really get into these guys until after hearing some of guitarist Lanny Cordola's solo albums. This album was also the first album, I believe, to be released on Gene Simmons' (Kiss) new record label, and the only band to gain some popularity. I guess all the House of Lords albums are now out of print.
Guitarist Lanny Cordola, bassist Chuck Wright, and drummer Ken Mary reunited in 1993 to form Magdalen)
House of Lords - Sahara (Simmons) 1990
1. "Shoot" (5:03)
More of the same commercial, melodic hard rock. I usually hate this sort of stuff, so I'm not sure why I like this band so much. Their music has a definite draw and they are without a doubt very talented musicians. I think that shines through in the music. James Christian has a great gritty voice that fits well with the keyboard drenched hard rock. "Sahara" has a very cool opening with primitive sounding drum rhythms and some smoking guitar work. Once the opening is over, however, it's back to the straight forward melodic metal. The cover of Blind Faith's "Can't Find My Way Home" and Blind is very interesting. "Sahara" has a more biting guitar sound than the debut, but if I absolutley had to chose, I'd say the debut was slightly better than this follow-up. A for a bit more useless information, Mike Tramp (White Lion) sang back up vocals on "Sahara" and Gene Simmons (Kiss) was executive producer.
House of Lords - Demons Down (Victory) 1992
1. "O Father"
Strike three and House of Lords still can't break down any commercial success doors. Still, the music is good, and the musicianship is even better. New drummer Tommy Aldridge (ex Pat Travers, Ozzy, Whitesnake, etc., etc.) is on board, but the music hasn't changed much, except for getting a tad bit blusier.
House of Lords - The Power And The Myth (Frontiers Records) 2004
"The Power and the Myth" reunited original House of Lords members James Christian, Vocals; Chuck Wright, Bass; Lanny Cordola, Guitar and Ken Mary, Drums. Missing from the equation is seminal keyboardist Gregg Guiffria. In his place several keyboard players were brought in, including Derek Sherinan, Alan Okuye, Sven Martin and Ricky Phillips. As with any band with a history behind them it is hard to separate their past releases and listen to a "reunion" CD without comparing it. As such, this CD is taking a beating from most fans. I suppose most fans are wanting a S/T or Sahara rehash. Apparently, however, the band wasn't content to rehash the past and instead chose to try something a bit different. "The Power And The Myth" is still melodic, but much more modern and mellow than what one might expect from this band. Despite the somewhat more modern approach there was still a myriad of blues and rock influences from the past as well. The keys are toned way down, the guitar shredding is missing but the songs really aren't bad at all. Actually I found myself enjoying this CD. Perhaps after reading so many bad reviews on-line my expectations weren't as high.
House of Lords - World Upside Down (Frontiers Records) 2006
1. "Mask Of Eternity"
James Christian pretty much secures and entire new line-up for House of Lords yet essentially releases an album that would have been the perfect follow-up to "Demons Down". I know many fans were disappointed with the band's reunion album "Power and the Myth", but personally I thought that was an excellent rock album. That's not to say that I don't also like this too. That record had a slightly more modern vibe to it, while "World Upside Down" returns the band to the melodic hard rock and balladry they were known for. There are some excellent riffs here, along with some choice vocal melodies from Christian and hooks gallore. This is a guitar rock record with the keyboards adding to the overall sound. The album opens with a fantastic, albeit short, instrumental titled "Mask Of Eternity"that sets the standard for the album. This song serves as the introdction for "These Are the Times" which is one of the band's finest hard rockers. "Ghost Of Time" is probably my favorite cut on the album. This song is simply fantastic from the beautiful keyboard/vocal intro down to the monsterous chorus and smoking guitar leads. "Rock Bottom" and "S.O.S." are other standout rockers. I also quite liked the semi-ballad "All The Pieces Falling". Gregg Giuffria is back in the fold for this CD, although he is not touring with the band, and isn't listed as a member of the band. Rather he is listed as "keyboard productions of Gregg Giuffria". Together with vocalist James Christian and newbies Jeff Kent: bass, Jimi Bell, guitars and drummer B.J. Zampa, these gys have created one spectacular melodic rock album.
House of Lords - Anthology (Deadline) 2008
1. Wanna Be Loved (3:33)
2. Can't Find My Way Home (4:55)
3. Dangerous Woman (4:03)
4. Hold Back The Night (4:23)
5. Chains Of Love (3:42)
6. The Legend Lives On (4:19)
7. Sahara (5:27)
8. Hero's Song (4:57)
9. Kiss Of Fire (2:44)
10. Bad Bones (4:25)
11. Beyond The Pale (3:53)
12. Looking For Strange [Live 1989] (4:51)
13. Edge Of Your Life [Live 1989] (5:02)
14. Lanny's Solo (2:32)
15. Under Blue Skies [Live 1989] (4:30)
16. American Babylon [Live - Experimental] (3:56)
"Anthology" is a compilation of the early years of House of Lords when the band still featured Gregg Giuffria on keys. Most would assume, as I did, that this is just a "best of" compilation of those first three albums. However, this CD is packed full of unreleased demos from 1988-1990, 4 live cuts from 1988 and 2 new re-makes of '"Wanna Be Loved" and "Can't Find My Way Home". Also a big surprise is how well produced those demos and live cuts are. This isn't a low-budget package. Everything sounds great. Unreleased tracks such as "The Legend Lives On" and "Hero's Song" are solid, melodic and rocking AOR tracks. "Dangerous Woman" and "Chains of Love" are guitar driven hard rockers. As might be expected James Christian's soulful voice is outstanding throughout. The live tracks are a nice addition as well, especially hearing Lanny Cordola let loose a bit.