Harem Scarem - 'United' http://rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/2f/84/b3/harem-scarem-united-85-1499195750.jpg Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     July 04, 2017    
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To claim perfection with anything is a difficult and sometimes fruitless endeavour, but 'United' comes really darn close.

In the ever-increasing list of bands "that should have been huge", Harem Scarem is one who easily earn that dubious honor. With the current trends in Hard Rock still very much alive-and-well during the transition from the decadence of the eighties and into the nineties, HS was the complete package, embodying all the accoutrements that guaranteed success; talent, image and support from a major record label who signed them and released their debut containing superb Melodic Rock/AOR. Like so many others whose debut album was released in the latter half of 1991, they too became collateral damage from a tsunami quickly branded as Grunge. History aside, HS has succeeded when so many others like them have failed, and they have remained a pillar of excellence. In absolute defiance of all current musical trends, they continue unabated in 2017 delivering another impressive album with 'United'.

Harry Hess' voice is sublime and seems to get better with every release, and Pete Lesperance's guitar work is world-class by delivering crafty and inventive riffs combined with technically astute yet tasteful solos. The sturdy rhythm section of Creighton Doane (drums) and Stan Miczek (bass) provide a great foundation on which the songs are built and therefore not to be forgotten. The background vocals of Darren Smith (who has performed on every Harem Scarem album) are once again providing texture and depth to the songs.

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The Indian Raga-inspired riff of the title track kicks off the proceedings, before the band launches into their signature style and sets the pace for the rest of the album. 'Bite The Bullet' presents a bit of a twist with regard to the song's form by delaying the chorus until after the song's second bridge. Not only does Jeff Scott Soto (Soto, W.E.T.) offer variety with his unmistakable tone, but he also provides equally compelling backgrounds and callbacks on 'Here Today, Gone Tomorrow'. 'Sinking Ship' is another bombastic song that once again proves the band is able to tap into an endless supply of brilliant Melodic Hard Rock. Additionally, 'No Regrets' is a high-octane Rocker, and one of those quintessential "driving" songs that will have you mashing the accelerator and breaking all speed limits.

There is really no point finding fault, since 'United' delivers exactly what fans have come to expect. To claim perfection with anything is a difficult and sometimes fruitless endeavour, but 'United' comes really darn close.

Brent Rusche

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