Overload | review
If there is one band that has made a successful transition from a classic AOR band to a modern melodic rock group, it is definitely Harem Scarem. Their self-titled debut album was a prime example of vintage AOR; the follow-up "Mood Swings" still appears very often in lists of all-time best melodic rock albums. The 3rd one, "Voice Of Reason", sounded more modern, with more contemporary guitar sounds and a darker mood. The band then evolved into a more power pop band; from their 1999 album onwards they decided on a name change and took on the silly name Rubber (although in Japan, that album was still released under the Harem Scarem banner). Their 2002 album "Weight Of The World" saw them returning to their original name, except for Canada, that is, where it still is Rubber. Confused? Well, you've got every right to be. In addition, there are lots of live albums and compilations that were released exclusively for the Japanese market. A full discography of the band requires some digging.
Anyway, it's the music that counts and whatever style Harem Scarem (or Rubber) played, it has always been quality. This new album, "Overload", is again a very nice piece of music. Perhaps most comparable to their third album, "Voice Of Reason", this is a collection of nice, melodic rock songs with a grungy twist in the guitar sound. As always, Harem Scarem sounds excellent in the ballads. "Can't Live With You" and the glorious "Wishing" are great examples of that. But also rockers like "Dagger" and "Forgive & Forget" are great. Singer Harry Hess sounds perhaps better than ever.
Maybe not the best album they've ever done, but it's certainly a worthy addition to their already impressive discography.
Originally posted at prog-nose.org