Higher | review

Last year their "comeback" album "Weight Of The World" had been an absolute hammer, which had made it high up in my list of albums of the year. Comparable with their classic "Mood Swings" the album convinced with best Melodic Rock with great melodies, strong vocals and all the surroundings. Now, one year later, the Canadians of HAREM SCAREM are back with "Higher" and after the strong predecessor my hopes had been quite high.
What strikes right from the start is that the playing time is rather on the short side with not even 38 minutes, but on the other hand "Weight Of The World" already hardly had been any longer and as long as the musical content is right, that is not weighing that heavily, does it?

Well, that one is again beyond any doubts, just like before. And with "Higher" it has turned very, very hard to pick out one certain song, because it has turned out to be a very compact album that the gentlemen Hess, Lesperance, Donaghy and Doane have erected here. Musically it is not wrong to say that "Higher" is a mix of the self-titled debut, "Mood Swings" and "Weight Of The World", compared to the previous album the guitar crunch has been reduced a bit.

Who now thinks that HAREM SCAREM have "wimped out", should delete that thought from his/her mental hard disk again right away, because compared to most other Melodic Rock acts the Canadians still feature prominent guitars, which always had been and still is one of the trademarks of the Ontario based band, because guitarist Pete Lesperance does not need any big soloing to prove his grand skills, he puts his abilities always into the service of the song and those abilities are more than remarkable, trust me!

As we are just talking about trademarks of HAREM SCAREM, another can be found in each and every song on "Higher", yes, also the damn good and inspired vocals of fronter Harry Hess, but those are not what I am aiming for, but the truly irresistible choruses, which mark every single song here, often multivocal, with super catchy melodies, which never get shallow, though. The four guys master this truly, well, masterfully.

The ability to combine extreme catchiness and still gripping and deep melodies is one of the biggest assets of HAREM SCAREM and is shown in hits like opening "Reach", the fat rocker "Torn Right Out", the verveful, driving "Give It To You", the very emotional "Higher" or the measured "Gone" with great acoustic guitars, all of them among the crème de la crème of Melodic Rock.

As the production of Harry Hess and Pete Lesperance also has turned out be excellent, the only "down point" of "Higher" is the fact that it lacks a truly outstanding song, which, of course, also can be viewed positively, but I don't want to nitpick here. HAREM SCAREM's current epos is an album that I can heavily recommend to all connoisseurs of high quality Melodic Rock, these guys just know how to do it :)

Review by Alex
Originally posted at The Metal Observer