"United" (Frontiers; 2017)

Reviewed by R.Scott Bolton

There's something wrong with the fact that here we are, in 2017, and RoughEdge.com doesn't have a single Harem Scarem album review. The band has been around since 1987 (not counting a break of about five years beginning in 2008) and their latest album, "United," their fourteenth, was just released. Well, it may have been thirty years since the band first performed, and since RoughEdge first came into existence, but dammit, now we have a Harem Scarem review.

The first thing that strikes you when you listen to "United" is the crystal clear production. The guitars sound right there, up front and crisp and clear. Then the vocals kick in, and the drums and the bass, and it all sounds like you're there in the studio rather than listening to a recording done months ago. Now, that isn't to say that "United" is one of those sugary sweet, overly-produced albums. The clarity is there, but so is the heaviness. The songs are melodic, without a doubt, but the balance of melody and heavy is pretty much perfect.

"United" isn't heavy metal in the Iron Maiden or Judas Priest style but instead more along the lines of Triumph or Def Leppard. It's craft songwriting at its best, delivering not only crispy, catchy riffs but irresistible choruses that dare you not to sing along.

My favorite tracks on the album are the ones with the meatiest sound. The title (and first) track starts things out nicely with a dynamic riff. Track 4, "Sinking Ship," has another great riff melded with a terrific, sing-along chorus. "No Regrets" takes a few seconds to get going but, once it does, it rocks hard. And "Indestructible," the album's final track, would find itself at home in an action movie, probably from the 80s and starring Sylvester Stallone, but it would fit to a T.

The album's one truly ballad-y track, "One of Life's Mysteries," is that token radio-style hit, like KISS's "Beth" or perhaps closer to their "Forever." It's not a bad song but, to me at least, it seems to slow the album down right smack in the middle.

It's exciting that veteran hard rock/heavy metal bands like Harem Scarem and others are still doing so well on the charts, and odds are they'll do well again; for more information, check out https://www.sportsbettingdime.com/news/entertainment-props/music-odds-predicting-2017s-heavy-metal-chart-toppers/. It not only gives the personnel of these bands the opportunity to put a little more coin in their pocket, it gives their long-time fans new music to look forward to. I can't imagine any fan of Harem Scarem's previous work could possibly be disappointed with "United."

For more information, check out http://www.haremscarem.net/.  

Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.


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Copyright 2017 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 05 Jun 2022 15:54:51 -0400 .