The Canadian boys of Harem Scarem are back with a brand new album that will take them to higher grounds. Last years "Overload" was an Ok album and like my friend and partner Kaj said in his review - all songs were going in the same style and tempo and it was hard to remember one and each song, and I can only agree.
On Human Nature they have taken care of that problem and written some of the strongest Harem Scarem-songs ever because almost every song has something to offer with fantastic melodic riffs from Pete to catchy hooklines and strong choruses and a couple of surprises that I will tell about later in this review.
I don´t know what the guys have done because this time around they sound more hungry than ever before and you can almost hear that they have had a great time in the studio. On background vocals they got help from Tony Harnell (TNT) and Darren Smith that has brought out some impressive harmony and background vocals to the album. Amazing stuff. I compare Human Nature soundwise like a mixture of "Mood Swings" and "Higher". Yes, this time they have really gotten closer to the sound of Mood Swings, and yes, you can take my word for it. I will take it song by song.
First up is "Human Nature" and right away you can hear the Mood Swings recemblances. This is a song that start out as a laid back tune but turns out to a fantastic rocker in the pre-chorus and fires away throughout the chorus with brilliant hooklines and powerful background vocals, classic H.S song. "Next Time Around" is the "No Justice" song of the album. This reminds me of that song so much with an outstanding intro with strong background vocals and it bursts out to melodic riffs and wonderful melodies with a chorus that won´t leave your head for a long time. "Caught Up In Your World" takes down the tempo a bit and makes me think of Def Leppard on their X album in the first half but the chorus changes into a typical H.S rocker with wonderful harmonies and fans of the early era will jump of joy. Pete brings out classic melodic riffs on "Reality" which is an up-tempo rocker with yet another strong chorus.
he first and only ballad "Hanging On" is next in line. This is a strong ballad that should be played on the radio because it has potential to become huge. Harry Hess sings with such a feeling and emotion. "Don´t Throw It Away" is the first time on the album you get the chance to regain your breath because this is the first song that don´t sound that impressive. Don´t get me wrong here, this is not a bad song but it doesnt reach the same level as rest of the album. The chorus is Ok but without that extra touch.
Next up is the surprise I was talking about earlier on in this review - "Give Love/Get Love" is absolutely brilliant with an outstanding chorus. This is pure magic that Harry Hess have created. If you imagine Harem Scarem doing a Styx song then you just need to listen to "Give Love /Get Love". It starts out acoustic and slow but turns out to a huge Styx sounding chorus with stunning background vocals as huge as Mount Everest.
This is AOR with Pomp done in a classic way, I don´t know what words to use. I can only say that this is H.S when they are at their peak. Amazing stuff.
"21" is another winner filled with a touch of Mood Swings in the melodies and guitars. The pre-chorus is just brilliant and runs out to a big chorus with great melodies and hooks.
"Starlight" could have been taken from the "Higher" album with strong melodies and nice riffs that shines out to a powerful chorus.
"Going Under" is a nice rocker with a strong pre-chorus but the chorus is a bit weak, not a bad song but it cant be counted to the major league.
The album ends with "Tomorrow May Be Gone" which is a freakin´ brilliant rocker that gives this album a fair ending. Pete delivers some outstanding riffs with huge melodies and the chorus is just right with strong hooklines - listen to the pompish part after the 2nd chorus that is nothing but world class.
Harry Hess and Co has recorded one helluva new album which isn´t far away from the "Mood Swings" quality. Yes, it´s that good and I´ve been playing this album over and over again. Those who have lost the faith in that H.S would give the fans a new Mood Swings sounding album don´t need to pray anymore because this is the closest you´ll get to that album soundwise.
This would have been a perfect follow up to that classic album, not a carbon copy just a step forward. "Human Nature" will give the fans something to look forward to when it´s released in Japan/Asia on Nov.21st and in Europe Dec.6th.
Oh, I almost forgot to mention that the albumcover is also just fantastic...
Better late than never...Human Nature (and specifically "Next Time Around") was the first song/album I ever heard from the group, but was immediately converted. After collecting their entire catalog (Rubber not included), this album continues to stand as one of the best of their career. An absolute classic!
It's a great album, takes you back. Caught Up In Your World is my fav, followed by 21. I don't know what reviewer Bengt Rist is talking about, the mix is fine and the songs are solid. It's more like Mood Swings than any other album, the guitar work is brilliant and unique, amazingly they still have some 80's shredding in em!
Another dissapointment I am afraid. What could have been their best album ever, they have managed to mess up with poor mixes, poor arrangements and half- finished songs. Most of the songs start out promising enough, but just when you are ready for a great chorus to top it off, it sounds as if they have run out of ideas, and just thrown something on to get the songs done. As I have mentioned before, with some help from a professional producer and a mix engineer, I believe that HS could be lifted to a higher level. If they dont get outside help, I am afraid they are just going to make the same mistakes over and over again, which is sad, knowing the potencial they?v got.