House of Lords – World Upside Down (2007, Locomotive Records)
Original Release: 2006, Frontiers Records
1. “Mask Of Eternity (Overture No. 1)” … 1:45
2. “These Are The Times” … 4:20
3. “All The Way To Heaven” … 4:31
4. “Field Of Shattered Dreams” … 5:51
5. “I’m Free” … 4:05
6. “All The Pieces Falling” … 5:29
7. “Rock Bottom” … 3:52
8. “Million Miles” … 5:06
9. “Your Eyes” … 4:15
10. “Ghost Of Time” … 4:15
11. “My Generation” … 4:34
12. “S.O.S.” … 4:43
13. “World Upside Down” … 4:25
James Christian – Lead Vocals, Acoustic Guitar, Backing Vocals
Jimi Bell – Guitar
Jeff Kent – Bass, Keyboards, Backing Vocals
B.J. Zampa – Drums
Robin Beck – Backing Vocals
Terry Brock – Backing Vocals
Producer: James Christian
After picking up Cartesian Dreams and LOVING IT, I decided it was time to own more House of Lords albums. What I would really like to own is the first three albums but those are a bit pricey right now, so I picked up World Upside Down based on my remembrances of “All The Pieces Falling” and “Rock Bottom” (a popular song title for rock bands), both of which I had heard online a few years back. I guess what I own is the U.S. version because the album was originally released in 2006 on Frontiers Records. Tracklisting is identical.
This is a really good album full of everything that makes House of Lords such a great band: amazing vocals, great guitars and keyboards, giant hooks and huge choruses but as a point of comparison, it doesn’t come close to matching the glory of Cartesian Dreams. As good as the album is, I can’t help but wonder how much better the album may have been if the group’s founder Gregg Giuffria contributed more than “keyboard productions”, whatever that is. I guess he gave tips and pointers to Jeff Kent.
There are a few songs that totally fall flat with me. “Field of Shattered Dreams” is just another song in a long line of songs dedicated to our military and the war on terror in the Middle East. It’s a nice gesture, but at this point, these types of song seem so cliche and generic.
Then there’s “My Generation”. No it’s not a Who cover but an ode to those that grew up listening to Hendrix and the like. It’s pretty weird to hear a melodic band like House of Lords name check Jimi and talk about such an era. They don’t even try to mix it up by sounding heavier. I thought the lyrics were pretty arrogant and silly too: “my generation/will take your breath away/let the music play/my generation/will always lead the way/just like yesterday”.
Okay, so what do I like? Well, “These Are The Times” is a great opener (“Mask of Eternity” is an instrumental) and is classic House of Lords. “I’m Free” is a great rocker. “All The Pieces Falling” is one of the band’s best ballads, I think. While “Rock Bottom” is easily one of their heaviest and meanest sounding songs that finds the band encroaching on heavy metal. The band also delivers another stellar ballad with “Your Eyes”.
So there’s a few filler moments on World Upside Down, but overall, the album gets a thumbs up from me.
Highlights: “There Are The Times”, “All The Way To Heaven”, “I’m Free”, “All The Pieces Falling”, “Rock Bottom”, “Your Eyes”, “Ghost Of Time”