If you were able to whip out a copy of the “Music Dictionary” and looked up the phrase “AOR,” plain and simple, there would just be a picture of the four-man band from Canada who call themselves HAREM SCAREM. Since their self-titled release in 1991, the band has received critical acclaim worldwide and have consistently released good to absolute classic AOR/ Melodic Rock CD’s including 1993’s “Mood Swings,” 2002’s “Weight of the World, “ and 2003’s “Higher.” Now I’m not saying there weren’t some “bumps” along the way…
In the early 2000’s, the band tried to reinvent themselves with a more modern sound even abandoning the name HAREM SCAREM entirely and taking on the name RUBBER. While somewhat moderately successful, the band found themselves losing grasp of their roots and fans as well. Finally in the spring of 2002, the band once again took on the name HAREM SCAREM once and for all and began pumping out more of the great AOR music they were famous for and their latest release, “Human Nature,” is no different and one of the best albums they’ve ever released.
Still fronted by remarkable vocalist Harry Hess and the magnificent guitar work of Pete Lesperance, the mainstay of the band has remained in tact even after all these years. But bassist Barry Donaghy (having been with the band since 1995) and drummer Creighton Doane (joining the band in 2000) are really no strangers to the band or musical style at this point either and combined, these guys have produced yet another AOR masterpiece.
This is good stuff! From the opening track “Human Nature” till the final chords of “Tomorrow May Be Gone,” “Human Nature” is just jammed with powerful melodies, scintillating harmonies and solid performances which made HAREM SCAREM an almost household name throughout Canada and many parts of the world… that is, of course, except here in the United States. Don’t worry… I’m not going to go off again on the shitty state of American music, but I will say this to all you AOR / melodic rock fans still out there… HAREM SCAREM is definitely the best band you’re NOT listening to.
Songs like “Next Time Around,” “Reality,” “Starlight” and “Don’t Throw It Away” are superb, upbeat melodic rockers. Solid chorus’, tight melodies and substantial lyrics are the trademark of this foursome and there’s not a track on the release that disappoints.
“Human Nature” has all the elements of what you’ve come to expect from HAREM SCAREM. “Caught Up In Your World” and “Give Love/ Get Love” are your edgier power-ballads but “Hangin’ On” is absolutely the epitome of what a melodic, love-themed ballad should be and could easily be put in the class of JOURNEY’s “Open Arms” or FIREHOUSE’s “Love of a Lifetime.” Then other tracks like “21,” “Going Under” and “Human Nature” will continue to rock your socks off while “Tomorrow May Be Gone” wraps up the CD in almost epic-like proportion!
Bottom line… “Human Nature” is just another incredible release from Canada’s best. I was really, really tempted to give this a 5 out of 5 but I just couldn’t when there’re just so many other incredible HAREM SCAREM releases to choose from but believe me, “Human Nature” is (at the very least) worthy of being one of their top three! If you’ve never heard HAREM SCAREM and you’re a fan of that melodic rock / AOR sound, there’re just very few bands of this caliber still out there so… it’s about time you did!
- Harry Hess – Lead Vocals, Keyboards
- Pete Lesperance – Guitar, Backing Vocals
- Barry Donaghy – Bass, Backing Vocals
- Creighton Doane – Drums, Backing Vocals
- Human Nature
- Next Time Around
- Caught Up In Your World
- Hangin’ On
- Don’t throw It Away
- Give Love/ Get Love
- Going Under
- Tomorrow May Be Gone