Harem Scarem – United

I may have only gotten into the Melodic Hard Rock band HAREM SCAREM in late 2014 with Thirteen, but that doesn’t mean I love them any less than longtime listeners. Because as soon as I started hitting the back catalog it was obvious what I’d been missing all these years. Well crafted rock songs with big-ass hooks for days permeate each and every release by the band, and I am happy to say that brand new album United (out now, Frontiers Music) offers up more of the same. But it’s not like these guys rehash or retread. They always keep it fresh and interesting, something not so easy in a career that spans over 20 years together.

Singer Harry Hess sounds as good as ever, and lead guitarist Pete Lesperance provides the riffs that are designed for concert arenas, backyard parties, and drinks with the boys/girls. Need proof? Check out “Sinking Ship” easily my favorite on the disc and one of this year’s best anthems. That sidewinder riff is crazy and man alive, that chorus is fucking awesome! “Here Today Gone Tomorrow” is another one with such a cool guitar lick and a hint of the AOR sound that I love so much. Opener “United” takes a couple of twists and turns before it decides which path to choose, which is fine because it’s fun when bands keep us guessing, right?

One thing these guys excel at is heartfelt ballads, and “One of Life’s Mysteries” is another feather in that cap for sure. Shifting gears, “No Regrets” is a fast-paced runner guaranteed to get fists pumpin’ and hearts thumpin’ while “Bite the Bullet” is slightly tamer, though it still rocks in all the right places. “Things I Know” builds up to an anthemic chorus, and both “The Sky Is Falling” and “Gravity” benefit from being slightly offbeat which shakes the album up a bit. Another one I quickly gravitated to was “Heaven and Earth” because again, the hooks, baby!

Closing the disc is “Indestructible,” a tune that has some southern-fried acoustic slide guitar at the start, and you think you’re ending things on a mellow note. Nope, not a chance. The band kicks the door down one last time and dares you not to sing along with this one. All told United is another great record from HAREM SCAREM, one that as I said earlier, will fit just about any occasion. So pick it up, put it on, and jam it loud, whether alone or with your friends. Either way, get set for some killer hard rockin’ tunes! And I can only imagine thousands of people singing along when the band decides to play these songs live.

STANDOUT TRACKS: “Sinking Ship”, “Here Today Gone Tomorrow”, “Heaven and Earth”, “No Regrets”, “Indestructible”

RATING: 9/10

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