Read JukeboxMetal review (UK) - HOG album Rise and Shine
Somewhat unbelievably it has been 13 years between House of Games albums. And this is only their second. The Estonian band formed in 1994, releasing their self-titled debut the same year. Now only singer Erik Meremaa remains from that initial line-up. It was 2005 before the band really surfaced again, supporting The Rasmus on their European tour. They spent the Spring of 2006 recording songs in New York with legendary producer Kevin Shirley, then recorded the rest of the album in the Summer in Finland, and it is finally released in most of Europe this year, around the same time as their second support slot with W.A.S.P..
What’s most pleasing about this album is that although they’ve taken a melodic rock approach to the songs and the lyrics, they’ve not compromised on heaviness, which is often the first thing to suffer in melodic rock; usually in the name of keyboards, of which there plenty, but the understated kind that enhance not override.
The main lead melody to opener My Child bears no small resemblance to the chorus section of Alice Cooper’s Black Widow, and there are places when Meremaa’s voice sounds a little like Ed Kowalczyk (Live) but that’s about as close to a similarity to other artists as it’s really possible to draw from Rise And Shine.
House of Games have forged their own polished hard rock sound which incorporates hard riffs, catchy melodies, measured solos, keyboards and small breaks of complex time signatures which hint at a deeper level of musicianship. Above all their songwriting talents shine through (music by the whole band, lyrics by Meremaa) and any of these could be a hard rock radio single. In actual fact they’ve released Evil Is Needle, one of the tracks produced by Shirley, as a single backed by the ridiculously catchy Hunter.
Most bases are covered throughout the course of the album, from very heavy riffs (Ave Maria), to blues (Rise And Shine) to ballad (Friend, Dreamin’), but most of the time we’re firmly in catchy, though often slightly dark and serious hard rock territory. Evil Is Needle and Hunter are a little brighter, but no less sincere. This album has everything going for it and is as perfect as a rock record gets in 2007.
“ polished hard rock ”