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Harem Scarem Over:Load Frontiers Records
FRCD241
· Produced By: Harry Hess & Pete Lesperance

· Running Time: 40.41

· Release Date: May 23

· Released: EU JP

· Musical Style: Melodic Rock

· Links: Harem Scarem Frontiers
99%
Songs: 98%
Sound: 100%
Harem Scarem re-established their name as a melodic rock super-power with their 'comeback' Weight Of The World album. Their already outstanding catalogue of music has only grown in stature since, with the also amazing Higher album and now the new release Overload.
Harem Scarem have never recorded the same album twice – each and every release has its own identity and Overload is yet another example. One observation can be made of the band's recent output. While they have definitely updated and moved on from their past, each of the last 3 records have mirrored the vibe of their very first three records – albeit not in the same order.
Weight Of The World mirrored the acclaimed classic Mood Swings; Higher matched the mellower AOR vibe of the self-titled debut and now Overload mirrors the darker, moodier and more modern vibe of the criminally underrated Voice Of Reason album.
The very nature of this record means some fans of other albums will not take to this as warmly as they might have Weight Of The World, Mood Swings or Higher.
Overload has the same recording sound as the last two albums - that snappy drum sound, crunchy guitars and Harry Hess' slightly grittier vocals – but this is a much darker and moodier album, not to mention a more aggressive album too. The delivery of Harry's lead vocals have seldom been done with such venom.
The band has allowed a far more contemporary song style to influence the album, which makes this the band's most modern album since Voice Of Reason and some tracks from Big Bang Theory and Ultra Feel.
Basically, this album is Voice Of Reason meets Higher, with a little Weight Of The World and Big Bang Theory thrown in.
As stated, that may affect some fans rating of the album – but not mine. I love this band to bits and rate them as one of the very best ever to be featured on this site.
I really have enjoyed this album and think the move back to a darker, heavier sound is a nice change. The last album was brilliant, but very pop and this is the perfect companion to that album.
The beauty of Harem Scarem is that they have a different album for just about every mood the listener may be in. This album is one for those days where things may not quite be going right and a little sonic therapy is needed.
As usual, Harry's lyrics are aggressive, forlorn, emotional and as intense as ever. But what makes this album truly special is the extra emphasis placed upon making each song more complex that one would normally expect.
No band takes simple pop songs and turns them into angst wridden melodic hard rockers like these guys.
The extra time to write and record this album shows, and while the chorus hooks may not be as instant as the last two albums, they are certainly there – featured alongside some astounding musical twists and added production layers and effects.
Harry and Pete just don't write bad songs – it's not possible. Each track here contains a verse, bridge and chorus, with extra melodies revealing themselves as time goes on.
Track By Track:
The album opens with the hard rocking swagger of Dagger – a track which rocks to start with, before dropping back a notch for a more restrained verse. The bridge picks up a notch and the chorus turns sonically monstrous, with heavy, layered guitars and a strong, aggressive lead vocal.
Afterglow is in every way a trademark Harem Scarem song. A poppy intro/verse, a burst of guitars in the Mood Swings style and then a chorus from heaven – big, over the top and hooks and riffs going everywhere. Classic Harem Scarem and without doubt, the best track on the album – but not the only classic included.
Rise And Fall sums up the style of this album – darker and moodier, with an aggressive undertow. Some very fine lyrics and an emotional delivery are a highlight, but the bridge to chorus passage is also a joy. The chorus itself is much heavier than the rest of the song and showcases the amazing ability of this band to move forward with their sound with every album. Some classic style Pete Lesperance riffs and a tasty solo puncture what is a pretty modern track. Seriously heavy vocals make this another amazing song.
Don't Come Easy is another instant classic and album highlight. A drawn-out, moody intro dissolves into an emotional angst filled vocal, backed with some crunchy, heavy guitars. What is a modern rock song turns classic Harem with a big fat old-school anthem chorus, which trails into a progressive guitar riff and back into the moody verse. Songwriting at its very best folks…
Can't Live With You is nothing short of a massive rock ballad. It has an aggressive heart, but kicks in with an acoustic guitar and builds from there. Definitely part Weight Of The World and part Voice Of Reason, this features a chorus that has such massive backing vocals, Def Leppard would be proud.
Forgive & Forget has a distinct modern rock guitar riff and an overall feel that would see it on rock radio – if there was any justice. A fast and free flowing verse flies through a bridge into a dark, aggressive chorus, with Harry's voice textured with effects. It's a very aggressive track overall and is really in your face track. Straight from the pages of Big Bang Theory/Ultra Feel with extra points for some intricate guitar parts and big backing vocals!
The second rock ballad for the album is All You're Getting, which starts with a piano intro, but quickly fires up into full band mode. A Queen-esque arrangement and Freddy Mercury inspired lead vocal, plus several layers of instrumentation make this an extremely high quality ballad and another great track. A personal favourite with some backing vocals reminiscent of Mood Swings.
Leading Me On sounds like it might be another ballad, but come chorus time, bursts to life with a big guitar driven chorus that isn't instantly memorable, but gets better after each listen. Some super intense guitar riffing in-between parts of the song deepens the impact and appeal of the song.
Understand You is another mid-tempo rock ballad, this one featuring some classy acoustic guitars and some added orchestration. A simple chorus gets more intense and in-depth as the song goers on, with some very fine harmony vocals building through the song and bringing it to a great climax.
Same Mistakes is another example of great songwriting, with a verse that sounds simple, but on further listens, reveals extra details. The dark and moody chorus is wrapped in a big guitar sound which is straight from the Voice Of Reason album.
Wishing was previously featured as the bonus track for Japan on the band's last album. My guess is that it is here merely to make up the running time of the album, as even with this extra track, the album only clocks in at 40 minutes. The song itself is a slow, moody and emotional ballad and fits the new material perfectly.
The Bottom Line
The last two Harem albums have scored perfect 100 ratings. I am not giving this album a perfect 100 score, but rather a rating the smallest distance from it. The melodies are a little harder to find this time around, which doesn't worry me one bit – as they are still all there – but I don't think everyone will be unanimously welcoming of the direction taken by this album as I am. The debate (no doubt) will rage for some time…
On the other hand, I feel the fans that have been with Harem since the debut and love every album will eat this one alive and rate it up there with some of the band's best ever work. It's every bit as consistent as the last two albums and the recording quality is nothing short of amazing.
The second half of the album doesn't quite have the punch of the first half, but overall, the intensity of the songs is utterly engaging and the extra complexities within the music show musical maturity and intelligence few artists could ever match.
Discography / Previously Reviewed
· Harem Scarem
· Mood Swings
· Voice Of Reason
· Believe / Karma Cleansing
· Big Bang Theory
· Rubber - Rubber
· Rubber - Ultra Feel
· Weight Of The World
· Higher
· Overload

Line Up
· Harry Hess: Vocals, Keyboards, Guitars
· Pete Lesperance: Guitars, Keyboards, Vocals
· Creighton Doane: Drums
· Barry Donaghy: Bass
· Darren Smith: Background Vocals

Essential for fans of:
· Harem Scarem - Voice Of Reason
· Rubber - Ultra Feel
· Harem Scarem - Weight Of The World
Track Listing
· Dagger
· Afterglow*
· Rise And Fall*
· Don't Come Easy*
· Can't Live With You*
· Forgive & Forget
· All You're Getting*
· Leading Me On
· Understand You
· Same Mistakes
· Wishing
--*Best Tracks


28/04/07: Ray Gayo - raygayo@hotmail.com
Rating: 100
Even though the sound of this CD is completely different from their AOR sound. They did an amazing job bringing us an up to date version of HAREM SCAREM.. Simply a Classic!!
www.myspace.com/rayguitarshred

18/12/05: Luc - musicminded3@gmail.com
Rating: 85
It took me some time to buy this record, as I didn't play their last two albums as much as I would have expected. I love this band but somehow I had an 'overload'of all the HS material. Now that I have listened to Overload I must say I am impressed. They have put out an albums of songs which grow with each listen and has so many great melodies and twist and turns that it reveals something new with every spin. I also love the strong background harmonies on this album, which indeed have a Queen ring to them. I think All You Are Getting, Afterglow, Wishing and Don't Come Easy do their legacy proud and are songs that the band can be proud of. I understand that a lot of fans would want another Mood Swings (me included) but I praise the band highly on developping their sound and style forward and try to keep things fresh. Weight Of The World and Higher were no slouch either, but I think this album has more working for it. And why Can't Live With You was not a massive hit is beyond me. At the end of the day Harem Scarem is still one of the best bands in this genre we call melodic rock and that's because they try hard to be themselves and not a carbon copy of someone's expectations of how this game should be played.

14/12/05: Richard - Richardatease@hotmail.com
Rating: 4
What the hell happened to harem scarem. I bought this album a few weeks ago coz it was on sale for 3 bucks and because i have everything of them.
The last 2 records were pretty good but after reading the reviews on other site's about the cd i diddn't buy it.
Now i have it and after 10 listenings i still cannot get in this.
There is no favorite song for me on this cd!!!

I hope the guys will come to grips on the next effort!!!!

Greetings

01/11/05: Steve Cresswell - cresswell2@blueyonder.co.uk
Rating: 90
Can't wait for November 26th and Firefest II. Saw the greatest and most consistent rock band of all time (that'll be Harem Scarem then in my humble opinion!!) at the Gods 2002 and they were simply awesome, and that was with them playing a number of songs I didn't know at the time too! Harry Hess and Pete Lesperance are musical geniuses and their solo albums are both fantastic too (esp. Lesperance's little heard classic!).
Great to always buy Harem Scarem albums knowing that there will be oodles of passion, melody, quality lyrics, production and muscianship and just downright consistenly great, great songs.
Since reforming as Harem Scarem and doing these last 3 albums with Frontiers the consistency and quality of those 3 albums and regularity of releases has been simply stunning! Thank you God for Frontiers and for providing the platform for this awesome band!!

07/10/05: Mike Wolfer - MusicmanIB@netscape.net
Rating: 90
Harry Hess and company can't go wrong!! Harem Scarem are one of my all time favorite bands. Man do these guys know how to write great melodic/catchy/aor tunes!! Modern sounding or not, their main ingredient is always present - MELODY!! A truly underated band!! They should be huge!!! Love 'em and all their prior releases!! S/T, Moodswings, Higher, Weight, Pete's solo release = CLASSIC!!!

13/09/05: Craig Bishop - bisho72@optusnet.com.au
Rating: 96
No you are not in the minority on this one Andrew! The best release of the year so far for me! I must admit I was a little confused the first time I heard it, but fuck is this one a grower! Not the instant hooks of Higher but I find something new with every listen. Has the darker mood of Voice Of Reason but thats where the comparisons end. This is definitely a product of the new breed millenium (pun intended) compared to that album, yet they do it better than anyone else. Nobody comes close to this band! I don't care what direction they take with each album cos I know I will love it anyway. Harry does sing with venom here and the songs sound so much better for it. I always have a chuckle though when I get to the last song on the Japanese version. Rather amusing is their rendition of AC/DC's - You Shook Me All Night Long. Acca Dacca just ain't of their calibre.

12/09/05: Harem Scarem\'s biggest fan - unknown
Rating: 100
This is the biggest piece of shit ever! Why? because it doesn't sound like all the other records I've been listening to for the last twenty years over and over again. How dare this band stray from the formula that every other band ( that has no hope of competing in the mainstream ) follows.
Not since " The never ending story " have I seen such a blatant display of miss-advertising.
I don't want to move on, I want this band to be the band I loved 15 years ago and maybe I have the same haircut as I did back then and I love to wear my ripped " Autograph " t-shirt in the basement of my moms house while I complain about everything that's wrong with music today. That's my right isn't it!!!!! Yes it is.

These guys might actually have a grasp on reality and make music that could be mistaken for something that wasn't written and recorded twenty years ago but that's not fair to the rest of us that don't really have a shot in todays music industry because we're too old and have lost touch with what's going on in the real world.

I choose not to grow as a person and hide in my comfort zone. Yes, a time when I was young, vibrant and the only kind of music I understood was relavent and chicks liked my painted on acid washed jeans ( yes, my ass did look good ) I saw you looking!!!!!!!

Well anyway, I'm gonna go to " Firefest " and see " Harem Scarem " and I'm sure these assholes will actually have the nerve to play some of the songs off their new record but I'm telling you right now! I'm not goona like it, but I'm going, but I'm not gonna like it, but I'm going!!! I think you get the point.
Don't even get me started on " Rubber ".
If anyone from Harem Scarem is reading this " stop it "
Your greatest fan

08/09/05: Sherbert - Sherbert@hotmail.com
Rating: 99
Yet another truly fantastic album from the best melodic rock band working today. Not quite sure some of the people below are listening to but this is hands down the album of the year.

25/08/05: Mark Kennedy - Clareandmark@freenetname.co.uk
Rating: 66
"Weight..." was brilliant,"Higher" was very good but this is just not really anything to shout about.I expected a similar style and follow on from the above mentioned.I've MADE myself listen to this about three times and nothing catches the listeners ear.The rating of this album is the wrong way up-it should be 66% not 99%!!!!.
Gotthard wipes the floor with this.

16/08/05: Dr. Milk - milkdr@hotmail.com
Rating: 70
Not as good as "Weight of the World". It doesn't live up to the usually great H.S. albums.

27/07/05: Shagger - info@twoinspire.com
Rating: 85
HS are a very good band, I have all their music from the self titled onwards- including Rubber & they pride themselves I'm sure, on varied & different directions & vibes on each release, but never stray too far from their roots of a melodic catchy chourus.
Yes Moods was their classic & we can compare every record to it & think well it not as good, but time doesn't stand still does it, & either does a good band, its not the nineties anymore & HS have given us WOTW & Higher to let us know they really are a melodic/rock band under all that 'rubber' & now its 2005 & this is where they are - Overload - listen to it & think its so much better then Britney Spears or American Idol crap & remember these guys did actually do MOOD SWINGS & they COULD do it again but why ? - its been done & we can listen to it whenever we want, this is the result of their latest jam & writing sessions - could be longer & could have some more catchier hooks BUT its Harem Scarem & they are one of the elite racehorses within this genre & still racing. PS (HS fans who were dissapointed with Overload go listen to Dont Come Easy really load in a room with polished floorboards & you will be honest & admitt they still have it!

23/07/05: mark - mark_jevons@hotmail.com
Rating: 20
first 2 albums were sheer class and since then downhill bigtime. What I don't understand is why Gotthards new album lipservice got a lower score than this rubbish????

20/07/05: Jonny B - froloth@hotmail.com
Rating: 89
I can't really add what has already been said, as far as positive reviews are concerned. The only quam I have with HS's 'Overload,' is the three straight ballads to end it. I'm a big ballad fan, but ending an album with three of them is a big no no in my book. It killed all the crushing power & momentum the album could had up to that point, but this is just a personal preference. Replace two of the three with rockers, and I would've ranked this one equal with 'Weight of the World.' It will be a Top 5 contender for my Best of 2005.

19/07/05: Jonas - jonas151@hotmail.com
Rating: 99
One off the best releases off the year, this far. I just love these guys.

04/07/05: John Elway - megjimp@cableone.net
Rating: 81
OK, there are a lot of "classic" melodic rock bands that I have low expectations for with each release. For instance, when once excellent bands like Def Lepard or Bon Jovi release new discs, I know not to expect much for various reasons (Absolute cluelessness by Leppard and no hunger or desire by Bon Jovi). However, when Harem releases a disc, I know greatness is a possibiblity. Unlike many washed up bands in their genre, I have confidence that these guys can put out something truely great (For goodness sake, "Weight of the World" was released only a few, short years ago.).
Unfortunately, like a lot of their releases, these guys have not lived up to their vast potential with this disc. This is a solid release, no doubt; but these guys just aren't reaching the greatness they could achieve. Like many of their discs (Pretty much all discs outside of "Mood Swings" and "Weight...") this a decent release missing a special song or two. There just aren't those special songs that headline the album and make it classic. As it stands, this disc is full of solid songs that lack that special quality I know they're capable of.
Yes, this is much better than most of the melodic rock out there. However, I just feel these guys aren't reaching their potential. I just expect more from this band than most. I know they still have the magic to make a classic, but this isn't close. Maybe instead of firing out a disc out every year and a half, they should spend a little more time making the special album they're capable of.


02/07/05: Stuart - talisman954@comcast.net
Rating: 60
Where are the songs ?
Harem Scarem were at one time my fave band.
Now they are just going through the motions.
Listen to the bonus tracks on some earlier cds and the bonus tracks on the live cds and they are way better than every song on this one.
And we are talking about songs that couldnt get on the first 2 cds.
Very Sad to see them release utter Tosh like this.

27/06/05: Paul Haworth - metropolis1956@yahoo.co.uk
Rating: 75
Taken a while for me to buy this as I was put off by some of the negative reviews. PLayed it 6 times over the last few days and it is ok. Pleased that I bought it but it is not one of their best efforts.

19/06/05: Kate - kowalewicz_rocker@hotmail.com
Rating: 100
This is an amazing record! The guys have out done themselves once again! It may not be anything like their earlier stuff, like Mood Swings, but each album they put out is different from the last.

15/06/05: scott dixon - scooterd00@sbcglobal.net
Rating: 90
I left a review earlier but did not put down a grade so it came out as a zero so hopefully they will replace my old one with this one but any way this band could not put out a bad cd if they tried,theese guys are the masters of the great chorus. i wish they would be well known in the usa where the musoic industry sucks.I don't like this album as much as the first 2 cd's but this cd still has the classic harem scarrem melodies.

11/06/05: LD Phillips - dorrien69@aol.com
Rating: 85
After loving the first 3 albums, then slowly moving away from what these guys were doing (RUBBER.....WTHF!!!), i thougth that i might get back into them with weight of the world, what with the two cracking tracks of the album. Then came Higher and all of the solo expreiments.Harry hess' album what ok, nothing more nothing less, Pete's album was better, but guys where are you.Higher was utter and complete tripe, so i stayed away from this album until a few comments likened it to Voice of reason. No sorry guys nothing like it, but nevertheless this labum had me hooked, and i like it, 'All your Getting is sooo good it could live on a queen album circa 70's with all of the harmonies etc. so all in all a good album, but not i'm afraid as good as the first two, which seems to be the story of this band...

30/05/05: scott - [classified]
Rating: 89
I agree with the postive reviewers here. I think 99% is a bit much, but this is a great album. Is it as good as "Weight of the world" or "Higher"? No, but this album stands on its own. A worthy addition to the Harem Scarem legacy. I don't know how anyone can call it "boring". This album is heavy and full of energy!

To Freddy De Keyzer: If you don't like this band in the first place, what qualifys you to post a review? You're not a professional critic. You're not being paid to review music. There are lots of bands in this world I don't care for, thus it's not my place to review them. All I care about are reviews from real fans of Harem Scarem. If you're not a fan, get out!

29/05/05: Neil Higson - neil.higson@btinternet.com
Rating: 80
After being an big fan of HS and this website for quite some time I have to say I totally ignored Andrew's review and looked elsewhere for a review first – not something I can say I do very often (unless some of the melodicrock.com’s reviews are a little slow in appearing!). Harry Hess could fart into the mic and be accompanied by Pete Lesperance on a kazoo and it would get a great review here which is really no use to me. Sorry Andrew but your reviews of HS (and Jeff Scott Soto for that matter) are not very objective these days. That's not a criticism just an observation – we all tend to be much more positive, even downright biased, to our favourite bands than others might be. That’s life, but if you’re offering up opinions for the masses, rather than inane personal ramblings like mine, a little less subjectivity and more objectivity with some reviews/bands wouldn’t go amiss. As far as this CD is concerned, it’s a good album with some very high quality moments (Afterglow, Don’t Come Easy [superb], All You’re Getting) but in entirety doesn’t match up the high standard I have come to expect of HS - tough I know but if you're commenting on one of the best then you've got to raise the bar a little, that's what makes the great ones great. Its fine that the guys try to keep fresh by never exactly mirroring what they’ve done before but there’s just not enough quality throughout the album to give it more than 80/100. Still, if variation means that the guys are still keen to put out albums every 18 months to 2 years then that’s fine by me as I enjoy most of their stuff ('Overload' included) but this one just isn’t good enough to go off the deep end about. All in all another solid album with some very high spots and it slots in my collection very nicely thank you very much but nothing earth-shattering. Good effort but no cigar.

29/05/05: Anders Högberg - andershogberg8@hotmail.com
Rating: 95
First of all I'd like to thank Andrew for a wonderful site. There are so much fantastic new music I've discovered through melodicrock.com. Harem Scarem though, is a longtime favourite band for me but now more than ever. Every album is brilliant in its own way but surely Mood Swings and Weight of the world are on top of the rankings. Overload is not far away from those two with the fantastic, powerful production making the songs even a little better. " Don't come easy", "Afterglow", "Forgive and forget" and " Understand you" are the best tracks but you can't find a single bad track here or on any album. Amazing! HS has no competition in the world today and I feel sorry for people who don't listen to them instead of MTV and stuff like that. Now I want a new album and Harry and Pete, please don't take to long!

28/05/05: Pete Savin - savin11@sbcglobal.net
Rating: 93
The combination of Andrew's 99, followed by some really critical reviews by the site's visitors made me very anxious to finally hear Overload for myself. A big fan of everything HS/Rubber has put out - even Big Bang Theory :) - I went in with high expectations. Consider them met. I won't go into every song, because everyone has their own tastes, but I am going to place this CD up with their best for the following reason - variation and complexity of songs. Just like with VOR, I can tell that I will be discovering new melodies and rhythms with the songs for weeks to come. As much as I like Higher, its melodies were so obvious, that after a couple of weeks of listening to it, I felt I had heard everything there is to hear. I've listened to Overload about 5 or 6 times now, and songs that seemed straight forward HS classics - AFterglow, All You're Getting, Don't Come Easy, Can't Live With You - are still surprising me with cords and structures I hadn't noticed before. Songs that at first listen didn't get my attention - Leading Me On, Same Mistakes - are now slowly becoming favorites off the album. Dagger is simply a kick A** way to lead off the album.
Another critique I've read is Harry's 'screaming' on many of the songs. No problems, here. Frankly, if not for Harry's vocals on Forgive and Forget, that song would lose much of is raw power. Those who own all of HS's records know that this is not new territory for Harry. 'Never Have It All', off of BBT, has Harry 'screaming' rather effectively IMO, throughout the song - a personal favorite of mine off BBT.
In summary, I felt the same way when I first listened to VOR, yet years later, VOR is one of my most frequently listened to HS records. I look forward to many more listens to Overload, and am glad I didn't cast my review upon first listen.

28/05/05: Doug Meister - longlivehs@yahoo.com
Rating: 99
OKAY!OKAY!Everybody calm down.I decided to wait before posting my review here. I felt that a little time was justified to digest the new cd, before making any any hasty statements. I only wish that half the people posting their reviews here would have done the same.I think this effort by Harry and co is a solid rock cd. Fans of melodic rock (who have open minds) should be able to appreciate this. I have to agree with Andrew's review that this album given the chance will become a fan favorite. Even today I find myself occassionally listening to V.O.R and enjoying it immensly. I can remmember back when that cd got released and all the negativity surrounding it however today it still holds up well to the test of time. Listen to this cd with a open mind and appreciate it for what it is - good music - nothing more. Come on people get with it - enough of the poor reviews.If you can't appreciate it then keep your reviews to yourself and continue to listen to your rap, dance, country or what ever the hell it is that you coinsider music. I downloaded this cd from the net however I just recieved my copy from NEH Records via the mail. I believe in supporting talent like this so they can continue supplying people with the high quality of music they have done consistently for years.

28/05/05: Marshall Faulk - djmj99@yahoo.com
Rating: 97
Freddy DeKyzer...some things will never change...youre still a tool of the highest order...PURE CRAP IMO. Only a self absorbed PR!CK would come to MELODIC ROCK.COM to give one of the best MELODIC ROCK releases of the year a rating of ZERO!! Get over yourself and focus on boy bands...you clearly have NO CLUE when it comes to THIS genre of music...why do you come here?

Harem Scarem is nothing short of a TREASURE for those who cut thier musical teeth on bands like Aerosmith,Scorpions,Def Lep...etc. While these bands are still around they drag thier feet and usually take YEARS to put out records that are mostly less than fans are hoping for. Scarem(for the most part) put out gem after gem...year after year. In between Higher and this we even got the amazing Pete Lesperance-Down In It!! If you dont appreciate this record perhaps you shouldnt be looking for music on MELODICROCK.COM!!

28/05/05: Miker - miker2112@hotmail.com
Rating: 95
Danny Parker has got it spot on. All the people who just want to hear Honestly over and over again should put on the first album and press repeat.

HS are great becasue they move on, develop and always deliver. Whatever your mood there is an HS or Rubber album to fit it.

This is the best album since VOR/BBT - even possibly MS.

Fabulous stuff!

25/05/05: mark j - markyjevs@msn.com
Rating: 0
what the hell is this rubbish? These guys used to be a fantastic band and write fantastic songs.

25/05/05: Parker - dannyparker2000@hotmail.com
Rating: 100
Wow, i can't understand all the negativity towards this album.Still, to each their own - innit.

Anyway as much as i love WOW & HIGHER, i'm very pleased that they have toned back the pop-rock sensibilities of those two albums and taken a much darker, complex approach for OverLoad. I haven't quite heard a HS album as dark or as haunting as this since Voice Of Reason back in 1995.

Favourite tracks include album opener 'Dagger', 'Don't Come Easy', 'Rise & Fall', 'All You're Getting' (bloody Hell does that middle bit sound like Queen) and the amazing 'Can't Live With You', which is arguably one of the finest ballads ever written.I just can't get that haunting bass line out of my head.

Anyway, if i had to find fault it would be in the running time.Take Higher's 'Wishing' off and it's just over 35 minutes in length. Perhaps it could have done with another new track or two!? Still, quality over quantity, as the saying goes.

OverLoad, like almost every other HS album has fantastic production. Quite how they do it without the backing of a huge corporate record company is simply amazing.Hess' voice just seems to get better & better with every album and Lesperance really shines with some great riffing on OL.

In summary - for me this is HS's finest record in 10 years.It's right up their with Voice Of Reason & Mood Swings and when they call it a day (many years from now i hope), this is one of the albums they will be remembered for.

25/05/05: Troy - troyrizzi@cox.net
Rating: 98

Maybe by saying it's a mix of WOTW, VOR & MS, Harem Scarem made people's expectations too high, and we know what close minded people there are in the melodic rock world. Half the negative reviews I read say "it's nothing like VOR", "it's not as good as mood swings". or "I prefer the 1st album".

People don't take it as it comes. Match it up to other bands of today and Harem Scarem are on the top of the mountain. Compare a new album to your very favorite album and...of course, you're setting yourself up for a disappointment.

If I thought Overload was going to be the best harem scarem album ever, then I would be disappointed too, but I expected an awesome rocking Scarem album, and that's what I got!!!!!!

24/05/05: Dave - Davf234@juno.com
Rating: 50
This one is such a dissapointment. No matter how much I play this, and how much I want to like it, this is just not very good. It's almost like you want to shake these guys and say "smarten up"! These songs are all pretty much equal to one another, all pretty average. Most of them would be filler on a decent album, but none stand on their own!
If you ask me, I think these guys have stretched themselves way too thin over the last few years. Come on, who really cares about a Harry Hess solo album? Who really cares about a Pete Lesperance solo album? Who really cares about a Crieghton Freaking Doane solo album? Who really cares about a Darren Smith solo album? Who really cares about "Fairyground"? Hey, word is Harry's milkman is coming out with a solo effort next month! ENOUGH ALREADY!
It is fairly obvious that these guys are much more about quantity than quality. All these lame solo albums must stop. I think these guys should lock themselves away in a studio for a year and see if they can still write killer material anymore. Forget the solo garbage. Concentrate on HAREM SCAREM. Put those old albums on and try to remember what the HAREM SCAREM name was built on. This album is just plain....wellllll......plain!
It seems to me that they need to clean up and refine their sound a bit, move away from the radio ready background music, and get back to a rawer but more complex style that made them the darlings of AOR.

24/05/05: Dave O - hgwy407@cox.net
Rating: 70
I have to admit to say that I'm a huge fan of Harem Scarem would be an understatement. I have everything they have ever released, and a bunch of other stuff they have not. I couldn't wait for the release of this album. I have to admit though, that after listening to this disc at least 30 times that it falls very short of the mark. Perhaps we have all grown to expect so much from Harry Hess and company that we never could have imagined an "average" album from the guys. And that is exactly what this is, an average album. harry's vocals seem strained and forced. The arangements are weak and the songs are just "so so". A few of the songs stand out, namely Dagger, Afterglow, Understand You and All Your Getting. As good as those songs are, the rest of the album just sits on the shelf and goes nowhere. Some of the solos are sounding a little too familiar in places and the spark seems to be missing overall with this album. When compared to the rest of the bands work, this album sits clearly at the bottom of the list. Let's hope for a better effort next time out. Signed, still a fan.

23/05/05: Mick - Mickdoo22@aol.com
Rating: 60
Since Mood Swings, I have been a HUGE fan of these guys. Voice of Reason, Mood Swings, Believe, WOTW, and Higher, are all superb examples of what this band is capable of. This latest effort is unfortunately an example of the OTHER side of what they are capable of. This is just not very good.
These guys do have a knack for crafting cute little 3 1/2 minute pop songs with nice hooks. That is somewhat evident once again on Overload. But if you dig a little deeper, there is nothing here! Harry promised a more technical record, and a heavier record. Ok.........WHEN? This is just neither of the two! If you liked Voice of Reason.......keep waiting.....it's not here. If you are a fan of outstanding creativitiy, stellar musicianship, and clever songwriting.......it's not here. If you are still waiting for the album that we all know these guys are capable of.......it's NOT HERE! This is a 36 minute collection of basic 4/4 pop/rock tunes...(ok....so one is in 6/8), with simple chord progressions, little musical creativity, and even moments of sheer annoyances. 1 minute into EVERY song, you pretty much have heard where they are going with the tune. NO SURPRISES! The drummer kills virtually EVERY chorus with his obsession with riding the cymbals, which washes everything out. Although there are brief moments in a few tunes that show a little spark, it never goes anywhere.
These guys are just in a giant rut. They have fallen into churning out plodding, predictable, safe, and somewhat boring rock tunes that belnd in the background. It's a shame, because they are capabale of SO MUCH more. If this were any other band, it would probably be a "nice" little record, but for these guys, it's a generous 60!

23/05/05: Andrew - ajm@melodicrock.com
Rating: 99
Wow, no - my review isn't blinded by anything other than the fact I love this record.

Holy smokes people - I gotta say I'm truly surprised at the feedback posted here. Never would have picked it.
I though this album was yet another winner, but thus far, it seems I am in the minority.

Perhaps Harem are a little too cleaver for the AOR scene or perhaps the majority just want them to deliver Mood Swings 2?

I'll have a chat to Harry and see what he thinks.

23/05/05: TIM (2) - Tim.t.robertson@ericsson.com
Rating: 80
Falling somewhere between "Voice of Reason" and "Weight of the World", "Overload" is a dark and brooding album which still manages to retain the catchy elements of the last 2 albums. Just like both "VOR" & "WOTW" this takes a few listens before the tunes really start to lodge themselves into your brain. On first listen it's "Afterglow, "Cant Live With you" and "Understand You" that stand out, and then gradually the other hooks begin to sink in.

It's not my favourite Scarem album, nor is it close, but that says everything about this band that one of the weaker albums in their catalogue is still one of the best 2 or 3 albums of the year. The running order being one problem, as the first 6 tracks are very similar in style and structure, with the second half being more varied. It's also disappointing to hear "Wishing" on the end (to those of us already familiar with it) to make up the numbers. A better choice to close this wouldve been "Why" off the Jap-only "Best of Ballads", which is an incredible tune, or better still another new ballad.

A strong, and brilliantly written (as usual) CD, but by their exceptionally high standards it is not the masterpiece it could've been.

22/05/05: Melodic Rocker - ksgandjrg@msn.com
Rating: 80
I think someone's review may be a little blinded or something. This album is no where near 99% territory. He is right in that most of the song chorus hooks are hard to find. I realize Harem Scarem can and will write and release what they want - fine. Then a review must reflect that. I just found myself having a very difficult time connecting with the material of 'Overload'. I will say I don't like the implication from melodicrocks review that some fans might be narrow minded and not be open with what this album has to offer etc. There are many bands that have evolved and I embraced 'some or most of there evolution' - Queensryche comes to mind. But quite simply this album just seems messy. I might add that when I read from Hess that this was going to be progressive or musically complex (or something to that effect) I was very excited. I really didn't hear anything to much different from past offerings, perhaps a little interesting bits, but all I really got from the bands effort is a meandering album that sorely misses its 'obvious' chorus hooks. I, like most, realize that there is almost two Harem Scarems. One: Self/Titled, Moods Swings, Weight of the World, and Higher. Two: most all the other releases. A person can be a fan of one side or the other or maybe even both. I must admit I am mostly a fan of the first side. There are certainly moments from the other side that are enjoyable, but not consistently enough to thoroughly maintain my interest. 'Overload', much like 'Voice of Reason', are hard to like. BTW, the stuff from the 2nd side of Harem is certainly not bad stuff and I own them all. Just for the record the debut is simply a masterpiece. That album is pure bliss.

22/05/05: GreatHeart - GreatMan@Hotmail.com
Rating: 95
As someone that followed the AOR scene since 1985 and owning every album of HAREM SCAREM ever released, im basing my view not on how hard or soft this album is, but how much do i like to listen to it and if it'll remain that way for long....it will.

This album is the best album since BIG BANG THEORY, anything after that including WOTW, HIGHER are all mediocre, with 2 songs good and rest bad.

What do i think about OVERLOAD? it's EXCELLENT and every song is great, every single song, something rare seeing that HAREM SCAREM previous crappy albums, best album ever is the DEBUT, MOODSWING i didn't like, VOR is ok, BELIEVE is AWESOME, BIG BANG is GREAT, crap + crap , then Excellent OVERLOAD.

favorit tracks:

FORGIVE & FORGET (best song ever)

UNDERSTAND YOU

DAGGER

and all the rest.

Note: HARRY HESS should start change a bit his singing ways, he always seem to sustain words for too long.....example:

RIIIIIIIIISE and the FAAAAAAAAAAALL .....

or

IS THERE ALWAYS SOMETHIIIIIIIIIIIIIING,

or

FEELS LIKE EXPLODIIIIIIIIIIIIIIING....

that's the biggest shortcoming of the album right now for me.

21/05/05: Brian McGowan - bmcgowan@tiscali.co.uk
Rating: 5
Harem Scarem have lost their way. 'Overload' is definitely a case of the Emperor's New Clothes. If this was their debut album they'd never be heard of again. I count myself as a huge fan of the band, but looks like they're a spent force.

20/05/05: Frank - van.assen@planet.nl
Rating: 35
Another boring album. Can't imagine anyone thinking this is the top of melodic rock today.

20/05/05: Travis - travisgrob@hotmail.com
Rating: 90
Huh, I must live in a different music world then a lot of you. IMO thank GOD he screams his lungs out. I think this album starts to touch what they are capable of. I personnally have thought every other album except VOR and WOTW were way to soft and ballady and just boring to me. Of course, I don't like 90% of what is called AOR and Melodic rock on this board.

Give me more like this, get even harder, more hurt in the lyrics and I will continue to buy their offerings.

20/05/05: Don Hosler - donhosle@ptd.net
Rating: 85
If there's one thing that is undeniable about Harem Scarem it is the undisputed fact that they've never recorded the same CD twice. They have many different directions, and not all of them are for everybody. I personally prefer the big-chorus AOR side of the band, which is why HIGHER, along with the debut and of course, MOOD SWINGS, are my favorites...WOTW was way up there as well.
Now I don't understand why everyone is comparing this to VOR ! VOR was definitely darker and more experimental than their previous releases, but it had a very Beatle-esque quality about its choruses that worked on some songs and didn't work so well on others. This CD is simply more aggressive, much heavier, and more intense - which unfortunately means sacrificing the trademark watertight HS sing-a-long choruses on much of the record. It's just a different side of the band...and it won't be for everyone. It's not my favorite as I said, but I can certainly respect what they are doing and why .. not repeating themselves.
Personally, I'd be really impressed to see them intersect the flawless chorus hooks from HIGHER and the debut with the raw power of this album and MOOD SWINGS and come out with something somewhere in the middle of all of it. That would be awesome. Until then, we can count on something unique from these guys with every release, and that is definitely one of the things that makes them brilliant.

20/05/05: Kenneth - Kennethm@sympatico.ca
Rating: 90
I really like this release as it has more power and drive than on the "Higher" disc. This is also much better than the "Voice Of Reason" album that everyone wants to compare it to (quite possibly their worst album along with "Big Bang Theory" though not bad albums in their own right). My only complaint is that on a couple of the songs (Rise and Fall & Leading Me On) Harry strains himself too much (these songs could have been great if not for this fact). I truly love this band, Pete Lesperance is a phenominal guitarist and Harry is one of the best vocalists in the world today (I've been following his career since he was an underaged 16 year old member of "Blind Vengence" playing at the sadly long gone "Larry's Hideaway" in Toronto Canada) in spite of my earlier comments on the above noted tunes. This band deserves to be HUGE!!! The Best tracks on the "Overload" cd are: Dagger, Don't Come Easy, Forgive And Forget, Afterglow and Can't Live With You. It's not "Mood Swings", "Kharma Cleansing" ("Believe" in Japan & Europe) or "Weight Of The World" but overall it's pretty damn good.

19/05/05: Robert - rstupay@hotmail.com
Rating: 60
Canada-natives Harem Scarem have been kicking around for more than 15 years in one form or another. From the hair metal AOR of their debut to the pop-punk of their alter ego, Rubber, there have been quite a few changes over the years. Overload, the aptly titled new disc from Harem Scarem, comes on the heels of no less than five HS-related releases in the last two years. The last official Scarem disc, Higher, lacked much of the punch and lyrical wit included on previous albums. That being said, Overload packs much more punch this time around, but not quite enough.

Lyrically, Harry Hess has become a more straight-forward rock songwriter. The songs are well-crafted, darker and moodier than anything since Big Bang Theory. However, the generic lyrical content leaves most of the tunes lacking any real passion. That is a real shame considering the rest of the disc is full of heart and great energy.

There is also plenty of excellent guitar work courtesy of axe-man, Pete Lesperance. He shreds on the heavy opener, Dagger, a song that starts off with a bang, but fails to rise to the occasion as it progresses. It’s a strong, modern opener, though, that sets the tone for everything that follows. The song structures remain the same throughout most of the disc, which may tend to wear on the listener. However the pop rock of Afterglow seems to fit the band much better. Melodic and fun while retaining a modern feel. One of the few tracks on the album to use harmony vocals in the chorus, Afterglow lifts and sticks in your brain like the poppiest of pop songs.

Elsewhere, the disc drags a bit. The comparisons to Voice of Reason are only accurate when discussing the mood of Overload. Sonically, Hess and Lesperance are combining elements of Weight of the World with more modern influences from faceless FM radio like Nickelback and Hoobastank.

All You’re Getting is a nice Cheap Trick-meets-Queen number. Forgive & Forget recalls WOTW’s You Ruined Everything, minus the huge hook. Understand You is a beautiful ballad that kicks in at the finale and really resonates. The album closes with Same Mistakes, a dark and heavy, yet mediocre rocker with Hess singing in a strained register at the top of his range (as he does on most of the disc). In the end, it is a relatively tired and cold affair.

Overload is an average modern rock record delivered by above-average musicians. The energy is there, but most of the songwriting is bland and forgettable. Harem Scarem have always prided themselves on moving forward with each album, but this one feels more like a side-step.

19/05/05: Matt - matthewsteeves@hotmail.com
Rating: 0
What are these guys doing?! First of all, their track record plainly shows they have no idea where they want their music to go! There is absolutely no sign of consistancy. Obviously they are back to the dark side now. I loved their first 2 CD VERY much, and although I get my hopes up with each new CD they bring out, I am constantly dissapointed. I can honestly say that there is not 1 song on this CD that I like. I think I am finally about to give up on this band! I have no idea how this band still gets good reviews!

19/05/05: scott - scooterd00@sbcglobal.net
Rating: 0
any one who does not like this band just does not like bands that write great catchy songs. even though i prefer there fisrt 2 cd's all there cd's are great.they can write all different types of song but one thing they all have in common is that they have great hooks and a great chorus. this cd is no different.and the person who said they are the worst ever must be mistaken them for the dave mathews band.

19/05/05: Freddy De Keyzer - freddydekeyzer@hotmail.com
Rating: 0
Worst band ever with once again a BORING modern and raw record !
This is pure CRAP IMO, I know Andrew thinks they are the best, for me, they are the worst !
Truth may lay between both opinions.

19/05/05: IAN - ian_752@msn.com
Rating: 95
Another change in direction , more modern and darker sounding but for all that a little belter . Some out there in rock land will hate this but for fans of HS mixed with Rubber then this will be a love affair for them . It is for me .

19/05/05: fretz - n/a
Rating: 75
I had read several references to "Overload" being a 'darker' album like 'Voice Of Reason,' but I think a more accurate term would've been 'moodier.' It lacks the raw bite & aggression of VOR, which I actually really like, since Pete Lesperance really rips on the guitar throughout the disc, which features many heavy, melodic songs that lie in the realm of King's X & Beatles influence, with some great Queens-esque harmonies to boot. While "Mood Swings" & "Weight Of the World" are easily & without competition my personal favorites, I also really enjoy "Voice Of Reason" & "Believe." I feel very strongly that "Higher" & "Over-Load" both fall short of the mark of any of those releases, being very 'middle of the road' from a band with amazing potential. They just lack a bit of soul & seem very lackluster to me. I was really hoping for more.

19/05/05: pacopuma - pacowaite@hotmail.com
Rating: 50
I'm disagree with Melodic Rock's Reviews. 99 is very subjet rate. The sound and production es great but the songs are very poor. It's the worst CD of Harem Scarem, my favorite band.

19/05/05: oliver - oliver.gichert@t-online.de
Rating: 55
I agree with Adolfo. Very disappointing. pure hard rock with only a few good + catchy melodies. Vocals much too agressive.

19/05/05: alaskaman - andrew@fortuine.net
Rating: 87
Good, not quite great. Some of the stand-out tracks are "Can't Live With You," "Forgive and Forget" and "Don't Come Easy." Overall, a strong album with songwriting not quite up to the band's best.

19/05/05: panagiotis - panline9@yahoo.gr
Rating: 0
I prefer their first album!

19/05/05: Almir Fuschini - almirfus@terra.com.br
Rating: 50
I am one of the biggest fans of this band. Their best albuns are "Mood Swings", "Weight of the World" and "Higher" wich I absolutely adore, despite the fact of beeing too short.

Overload has nothing to do with any of those albuns.
I was expecting their new album like crazy and I must say that I am very, very disappointed.
Why Harry Hess had to scream his brains out the way he does on this new release is something beyond my comprehension.

There's a couple of exceptions. "Dagger" and "Don't Come Easy". That's it!

Of course you can hear their "signature" on every track but this is not, in this case, a warranty certificate of good taste.
No great hooks, no great choruses, no great guitar solos.
But if you want to hear Harry screaming like crazy this is for you.

18/05/05: Whynot_Canada - whynot_canada@yahoo.ca
Rating: 80
I have every thing these guys have ever done (or even been remotely involved in). I love the first two albums. I love the majority of the songs on all other releases - I really enjoyed both WOTW and Higher. Unfortunately, I find this release a bit disappointing. Maybe I need to give it some more time but with the two prior cd's, I popped them into my 6-pack and didn't take them out for months...I'm already playing other stuff and I've only had this cd for 2 weeks.

Having said all of that, it still gets an 80% because it is at least better than 99% of all the other stuff out there right now. Unfortunately, the grade drops only due to the impossibly high standards this wonderful band has set in the past and the nearly unreachable expectations we fans have for anything HS. It is a great cd, but only a good HS cd.

18/05/05: Aitor - hellaitor@hotmail.com
Rating: 93
a different album, darker and groovier, there are not the classical Scarem hooks (Dont' come easy could one of the exceptions), but there is still their classic touch there. Great album from a great band. It would be grear to see them on Tour in Europe, posibbly in Bilbao or in The Basque Country XD. ¿Metalway Festival in August?Let's prey

18/05/05: Adolfo - nakedcity@hotmail.com
Rating: 50
Not their best album.
Over load= Voice of reason= boring


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