James Christian – Lead Vocals
Jimi Bell - Guitars
Chris McCarvill – Bass
BJ Zampa - Drums
1.) "Battle" - The electric guitar licks that opens this intro are licks like what you would hear a guitarist play during a live lead guitar solo. For the first few measures of the main intro section BJ plays several snare and tom-tom fills. The main body of the intro has a very intense sound to it. This was mainly due to BJ's double-bass drum pattern. This intense intro was highly unusual coming from the band and something III really was not expecting. There was a snare drum fill and cymbal crash connecting the musical intro with the musical verse. There was an arrangement change for the musical verse. The verse was just as intense as the intro was. Two of the things that gave the musical verse its intensity was the double-bass drum pattern and bass line. The musical chorus consisted of a huge intense bass line. After the second chorus there are six chocked cymbal crashes that lead to the lead guitar solo. The lead guitar solo Jimi Bell wrote was jaw dropping amazing!!! 2.) "I'm Breaking Free" - For the opening drum line of this intro BJ used his cowbell instead of his hi-hat. After the first couple of measures BJ switches from the cowbell to his hi-hat. (I think Christopher Walken said it best, "Guess what? I've got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell!) There was a small rhythm guitar change for the musical verse. The chorus had a huge House of Lords hook attached to it. The bass line of this song was amazing! There was a rhythm guitar change underneath the lead guitar solo. After the lead guitar solo there was a breakdown section. Underneath the last chorus BJ switched from his hi-hat drum line to playing a drum pattern using his double bass drum and tom-toms.
3.) "Epic" - This track has a very short intro that consisted of a keyboard arrangement over the top of a hi-hat pattern. When the song kicks-in for the musical verse there is a drastic up tempo musical change. The way James arranged the lyric lines was very reminiscent to Joe Lynn Turner. This also gave James's vocals a very Joe Lynn Turner sound. Especially the heavier stuff JLT recorded with Rainbow. There was a rhythm guitar change for the musical pre-chorus. I loved the build-up hook of the chorus. For the second chorus the lead lyric lines overlapped each other. After the second chorus there was a lead guitar solo. The lead guitar solo for this track was amazing. For the third chorus there was one backing harmony lyric line that sounded like something the band Sweet would have done. The coda consisted of a keyboard arrangement.
4.) "Live Every Day (Like It's The Last)" - The ballads that House of Lords have written has always amazed me and this one is no exception!
5.) "Permission To Die" - Before going into the main inteo this track opened with a heavily influenced Steve Vai rhythm guitar riff over the top of a hi-hat rhythm and bass drum kick. The rhythm guitar of the main intro had a very solid groove to it. There was a very short musical rest connecting the intro with the musical verse. The musical verse had a late eighties early nineties hard rock feel to it. There were two backing vocal accents connecting the musical verse with the musical pre-chorus. There was a rhythm guitar change for the musical pre-chorus. The rhythm guitar of the pre-chorus had a solid groove too it. The rhythm guitar of the chorus consisted of a mean riff. Underneath the rhythm guitar of the chorus you can hear what a mean bass line this track has. After the second chorus there was a lead guitar solo. After the solo there was a breakdown section that consisted of a Steve Via sounding guitar riff. There was a studio effect connecting the breakdown section with the third chorus.
6.) "Precious Metal" - This track blew me away!!!!
7.) "Swimmin' With The Sharks" - This intro opens with a tom-tom fill. Instead of a hi-hat rhythm the drum line of the first measure consisted of several snare drum and tom-tom fills. After the first measure BJ switches from playing fills to a standard hi-hat rhythm. Jimi carried out the last note of the rhythm guitar connecting the musical intro with the musical verse. There was a rhythm guitar change for the musical verse. There was a spoken vocal lines connecting the lyrical verse with the chorus. The opening lyric line of the musical chorus consisted of a vocal accent with a backing harmony. The vocal lines of the chorus had a huge House Of Lords hook attached to them. The first half of the lead guitar solo consisted of several blistering notes that was very reminiscent of late seventies Edward Van Halen. After the lead guitar solo there was a breakdown section. Two of James's lyric lines that are over the top of the breakdown were done with a studio effect.
8.) "Raw" - There was a minor lead guitar solo over the top of the intro of this track. There was a rhythm guitar change for te musical verse. The bass was turned up for this song causing the arrangement to have a certain heaviness to it. For the musical chorus it sounded like Jimi double-tracked a second rhythm guitar arrangement. Some of the lyrics of the chorus were double-tracked. After the second chorus there was a lead guitar solo. It sounded as if this lead guitar solo was done with an effects pedal. Because the rhythm guitar arrangement had so many rests within it. It aloud the bass line to bleed through showing Chris's musicianship. There was a minor lead guitar solo over the top of the coda.
9.) "Enemy Mine" - With the exception of the bass being turned up just a little to loud for this type of song. This was another amazing ballad. The song was done as a duet with James's with Robin Beck. 10.) "Action" - The rhythm guitar riff that opened this intro had an early George Lynch feel to it. Not only is there a rhythm guitar change for the musical pre-verse however, it was at this time the full band kick-in. Underneath the lyric lines there are several musical rests within the guitar arrangement. This allows the listener to focus on James's vocals. Speaking of which James's vocals are amazing! Underneath the last half of the fourth lyric line there is a backing harmony. The sixth lyric line of the lyrical verse consisted of a backing harmony. The choruses had a huge House Of Lords hook attached to it. There was a tom-tom fill connecting the first chorus with the second verse. For the second chorus James really shows the listener not only how great of a vocalist he is but also the fact that he has lost not vocal strength over the years. There is a lead guitar solo after the second chorus. After the lead guitar solo there was a short breakdown section. This song was very reminiscent to the songs James has been writting the last couple of years.
11.) "Turn Back The Tide" - The intro to this track consisted of an electric guitar picking arrangement over the top of several cymbal crashes. The band used the same guitar arrangement for the musical verse. The band also added a second rhythm guitar for the musical verse. It sounded like the lead vocals of this song were sang by someone other than James Christian. There was a rhythm guitar change for the musical chorus. There is no doubt that James is singing the musical chorus. The vocal lines of the musical chorus had a huge hook attached to them. There was a lead guitar solo connecting the second and third choruses. There were several lead guitar notes underneath the third chorus. The end of the coda consisted of a lead vocal line.
12.) "You Just Might Save My Life" - This track is classic House Of Lords 101!!!!
Though House Of Lords as went through several line-up changes. The current line-up as a whole may be the best one. After three long awaited years House Of Lords finally returns with their follow-up to 'Big Money' titled, 'Precious Metal'. For the songs on 'Precious Metal' James did not change the classic House Of Lords blueprint so much as he tweaked the songs making them heavier. Which coming from a fan of the bands since 1987, I had absolutely no problem with this. Not to mention these heavier songs will mix nicely live with their earlier melodic material.
In James Christian’s words:
“When we started to write this record, we knew after the 1st song that we were on to something special. The energy level was off the charts for all of us. Jimi Bell came out swinging and BJ and Chris were just crushing it. Recording this album was very easy as the songs already had arrangements that were complete. Precious Metal is a testament to years of being a band that loves what they do and has so much more to offer in the years to come.”
I don't think James could truer words! There will be a lot of older fans that will not be able to get into 'Precious Metal' due to the songs heavier sound. However years from now when critics look back and listen to the entire House Of Lords catalog 'Precious Metal' will rank up there as one of their best. If you are a fan of House Of Lords or a general fan of hard rock then you should check this release out.