Blood, Guts And Games

(Frontiers Records)

     Let's face it; when the once-prominent denizens of the scandalously fabled 'Sunset Strip' join forces, much of the yielded material, regardless of even the most sincere of intentions, often fail in truly spectacular fashion. Although typically immune to the stereotypical trials and tribulations that plague the proverbial average Super Group, their lackluster auditory output generally leaves little room for long-term success. Fortunately, this is most definitely not the case with Eisley/Goldy. Originally joining forces in Guiffria (formed from the ashes of Casablanca Records Glam upstarts Angel), Eisley would remain as the group's de facto leader until they were forcibly re-christened as House Of Lords in 1988--by Simmons Records founder Gene Simmons--while Goldy would soon depart to join post-Vivian Campbell/Sacred Heart (1985) Dio. At last reuniting after a decades long disconnect, they have at last unleashed their blistering, highly-anticipated debut Blood, Guts And Games (2017).

     On the stellar Blood, Guts And Games (2017), an expertly assembled ten song collection of Hard Rock and Heavy Metal, each track, beginning with the maddeningly infectious first single/video “The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter” and the Blues-tinged power chord exercise “I Don't Belong Here Anymore”, immediately commands the rapt and undivided attention of all parties involved, myself most definitely included. Driving home each key focal point with the already well-documented intensities of Giuffria (1984), Silk + Steel (1986) and, to a lesser extent, the aborted sessions for Guiffria III that would become House Of Lords (1988), the group effortlessly distances themselves from their few remaining contemporaries. Proving that some artists do actually improve with age, the ensuing onslaughts are thoroughly infected with a swaggering and tangible veteran presence that distances them from the crème de la crème of the genre's prime without appropriating an air of self significance.

     Continuing with the exhaustive, emotionally-overwrought paragon “No More Prayers In The Night” and the curiously 9/11-inspired “Wings Of A Hurricane”, the airtight combination of vocalist David Glen Eisley (Dirty White Boy, Guiffria, Sorcery), guitarist Craig Goldy (Dio, Guiffria, Rough Cutt), bassist Chuck Wright (House Of Lords, Impellitteri, Quiet Riot) and drummer Ron Wikso (David Lee Roth, Foreigner, The Storm) steamroll ahead at what can only be described as a carefully-calculated ease. Fueled by Eisley's gritty, multi-octave range and Goldy's woefully underrated ability to effortlessly deliver razor-sharp riffs and solos, the resulting auditory excursions surge with a palpable energy that leave a distinct sonic stamp. Drawing heavily from their collective Gold and multi-Platinum pasts, the group offers a refreshingly slick keyboard and histrionic-laden soundscape that does very little to disguise it's 'delightfully blatant' tributes to it's mascara and hairspray-encrusted lineages.

     Co-Produced by Eisley and Goldy at Abbey Normal Studios in San Diego and Boothill Studios in Topanga, California and Mastered by Alessandro Del Vecchio (Edge Of Forever, Hardline, Silent Force), other standouts, including the stereotypical--albeit highly-effective--tirade “Soul Of Madness” and the equally impressive closer “Believe In One Another”, are entirely rife with the long-forgotten ease of the genre's proverbial heydaze. While Goldy's pre and post-Dio repertoire--or outright lack thereof--has done precious little to further solidify his once ironclad reputation as a significant contributor to the 'soundtrack' of the previously-discussed Sunset Strip, his performances throughout serve as a much-welcomed reminder of his compositional prowess. An undeniably triumphant return-to-form, the mighty Blood, Guts And Games, and thus the less-than-obvious group itself, is an absolute must-have for any Melodic Hard Rock fan waiting on an authentic Guiffria or House Of Lords reunion.

     But is it really that good? That will ultimately depend on your particular viewpoint. With the majority--if not all--of the oft-memorable wares contained herein seemingly guaranteed to satisfy both die-hard completists and clueless newcomers alike, the end result(s) of the group's more-than-considerable efforts are nothing short of extraordinary and deserve to be treated accordingly. Even if you somehow fail to find yourself enthralled with the group's obvious quasi-assembled origins (AOR mavens Frontiers Records have a long and well-documented penchant for spawning 'project groups' such Rated X, Revolution Saints and Sunstorm), one must, at the very least, sincerely admire their ability to persevere the most unfriendly of circumstances. As a result, if you've once again found yourself in search of a delightfully forthright reprieve from their re-constituted brethren yore, then this, my friends, might just be the high-octane salve for what ails you. Trust me, you won't be disappointed.



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