Harem Scarem - Overload
Frontiers Records
Modern Rock
11 songs (40'36)
Release year: 2005
Harem Scarem, Frontiers Records
Reviewed by Ben

For the first time in many years a new Harem Scarem album has left me cold and indifferent. When they came back together for Weight of the World and the followup Higher, they released two albums full of great modern rock songs with overt throwbacks to their AOR roots. On Overload, their third full length album of all new material since 2002, the band opts to abandon almost all traces of their catchy care free attitude and what we have instead is a forty minute platter of moody angst ridden full fledged modern rock. I’ve listened to this cd many times and each time I seem unable to find any truly great melodies except for Afterglow and Don’t Come Easy. My biggest complaint with how the songs are structured is that the choruses have now become places for Harry Hess to belt the title as loud as he can. I don’t want to sound like a fan that is upset and having a fit simply because this record isn’t remotely like two of my favorites, the debut and Mood Swings, but the more I listen to Overload the more I realize that yes, this is just a sub par album.

There are two songs on this album that still manage to maintain a few remnants of the classic Scarem sound. Afterglow, despite its very soft (and dare I say it, emoish?) verse delivery has a chorus that is fantastic. Happy, uplifting, and out of place on this album, Afterglow is a fine rock song that deserves to be mentioned. Don’t Come Easy has a similar situation. A great and terrific chorus surrounded by a pedestrian moody rock track. This song also contains some blatant nu metal riffing and drum loops, but as soon as they hit you with a one two punch Pete Lesperance plays a short but commanding solo. Even though these songs have shining moments, they aren’t class A material through and through. If you would want a good idea of what the majority of Overload sounds like I would point you towards Rise and Fall. Moody, mid tempo, minimal guitar work during the verses, and a shouted chorus that lacks melody describes this song and the formula of most of the album. As stated previously, I have listened to this album many many times in hopes of finding more than a total of five minutes worth of great melodic rock. I don’t know what future outputs of Harem Scarem will be but I can only guess that they will be in this vein. Not everyone strikes a hit with each release and this to me is the band’s first slip in three years. I can forgive them for that but for now, when I want to hear some killer melodic rock I’ll turn to my old standbys of Weight of the World, the debut, or Mood Swings and Higher.

Killing Songs :
Afterglow and Don't Come Easy
Ben quoted 55 / 100
Other albums by Harem Scarem that we have reviewed:
Harem Scarem - Change The World reviewed by Ben and quoted 89 / 100
Harem Scarem - United reviewed by Ben and quoted 88 / 100
Harem Scarem - Human Nature reviewed by Ben and quoted 89 / 100
Harem Scarem - Mood Swings reviewed by Ben and quoted 89 / 100
Harem Scarem - The Early Years reviewed by Ben and quoted 76 / 100
To see all 10 reviews click here
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