House of Heroes are the greatest rock band you’ve never heard of.
Hailing from Columbus, Ohio the four piece have been getting on with making loud, guitar driven rock music for over a decade.
Their fifth album Cold Hard Want arrived on UK shores this summer. Fans and critics on both sides of the Atlantic have reacted with near unanimous delight.
The culmination of ten years of “blood and sweat” - to quote second track Out My Way - Cold Hard Want pulls together the best aspects of the band’s previous releases.
The album has the same raw, hard rock and guitar driven passion that the band developed back in 2006 with Say No More. The maturity in songwriting best demonstrated on 2008’s The End Is Not The End is also back while the band’s experimentation with pop and a more radio friendly vibe for 2010’s Suburba has also returned.
Stand out track Remember The Empire is a ferocious beast full of menacing guitar tones and defiant lyrics in the verses. But the pulsating chorus is so uplifting, you’ll find yourself singing along with a smile on your face.
Comfort Trap is about telling God’s will to wait, while Tim sings about having his cake, and eating it too. “I'm gonna get nice things and get my way. Even if it means there's hell to pay,” he shouts. The controversial and blunt lyrics convict the listener to think about their own attitude and lifestyle.
The Cop is a beautiful acoustic tune with a narrative structure with a central lyric of: “The rain falls on the blessed ones…and the damned”.
It's not the first time the band have quoted (or half-quoted) from the Bible. But while those wanting to analyse the band’s lyrics may find the odd gem, references to the bands faith are rare.
Frontman Tim Skipper once said of the band: "We didn't feel drawn to necessarily be in the church and be a praise and worship band, and we didn't feel drawn to just be outside of it. We kind of felt like we should straddle the line, and the big deal was to keep the integrity of the music intact and not to sacrifice any of the artistry."
For up and coming bands with a similar vision, House of Heroes aren’t just an inspiration, they are the perfect role models.
Somehow the band have managed to make some of the most furious and melodic songs (with House of Heroes, that's not an oxymoron) you could ever hope to hear while remaining unnoticed by many fans of the genre.
With the release of Cold Hard Want, the band don’t appear the least bit concerned about their relative anonymity. Their music remains true to who they are. They're getting on with the job.
Any reviewer would be hard pressed to fault this album. The closest you could come to criticizing House of Heroes’ 2012 release would be to compare it to the bands previous albums. But long time fans of the band can debate the four piece’s best song or best album until the sun comes down.
All that remains to be said is House of Heroes have again proved their new releases do not disappoint. I cannot think of a better rock record that's been released this year.
Rating: 10 out of 10
September 10th, 2012 - Posted & Written by Sam Hailes