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Full Throttle Rock

Album Review: Harem Scarem - United

Posted on June 14, 2017 at 1:15 AM

Harem Scarem – United
Written by Julian Mallon

Since 1991, Canada’s Harem Scarem have been rendering valuable services to the cause of melodic rock in a very consistent way, so true that even their weaker albums are interesting. Still, the duo of vocalist Harry Hess and guitarist Pete Lesperance works perfectly and even the changes of bassists and drummers have not affected in any way the sonority of the band. And proof of this is "United", the band’s 14th album and one that serves as testimony of their abundant musical quality. And when you think there's no way the band can surprise you anymore, they prove exactly the opposite.

Absolutely jam-packed with good, old-fashioned melodic classic rock, the album brings chilling rockers like the breathtaking "United", the daunting "Here Today, Gone Tomorrow" (featuring Jeff Scott Soto's stylish backing vocals) and the engaging " Gravitiy ", where the band's versatility and, above all, the ability to maintain its identity in variations of the same style is clear. The kind of thing only those who are totally aware of what they’re doing can achieve. All three songs deserve multiple and tireless auditions totally devoid of any kind of moderation.

The frantic "Sinking Ship" and "No Regrets" continue the parade of awesome melodic rock, followed by the excellent "Bite The Bullet" and the surrounding "Things I Know", and these songs serve to ratify, in an unmistakable way, all the adjectives pointed out in the previous paragraph. And so the same recommendations mentioned above to hear them apply here.

The swinging "The Sky Is Falling" sparkles with its lively arrangement, while "Heaven And Earth" and "Indestructible" (which tricks with a drastic change in the arrangement and tempo) maintains the band's classic footprint. And the poignant “One Of Life's Mysteries” is one of those power ballads that makes the eyebrows of the coldest of creatures shiver, as well as the beautiful acoustic version for "Here Today, Gone Tomorrow", a bonus track from this Japanese edition that also features a DVD - just over 28 minutes - containing two promotional videos and the making of the album.

In summary, there is no way to ignore the excellence of Harem Scarem, a band that deserves much more recognition than it has. Canadian’s are able to reinvent themselves in a subtle way, but always maintaining the musical cohesion that is expected of them and that is the reason why I cannot point out highlights on the tracklist, since we have an endless series of sweeping songs here. "United” arrives not only as one of the best albums of the year and also of the band's career, but also as an explicit example of the sonority that made them one of the great names in the melodic rock scene. Personally, I put "United" quietly among the three most relevant albums on the Harem Scarem discography and I hope that a live tour record soon to be released (with Darren Smith on drums) is duly made. Meanwhile, let's celebrate the triumphant return of one of the great names in the universe of good sounds. This album is absolutely mandatory in your collection.

The fantastic “United” is out now...

Categories: Album Reviews

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