April 26, 2022

First Signal was a project put together in 2010 by Harry Hess, the vocalist with Canadian rock band Harem Scarem whilst the band was on hold, and the bassist and producer Dennis Ward (Pink Cream 69, Khymera, Place Vendome). The self titled debut featured Hess and Ward alongside former Harem Scarem member Darren Smith on backing vocals, Chris Schmidt on drums, Michael Klein on guitar and Eric Ragno on keyboards. It was a wonderful hard edged melodic rock album that was very well received with Hess being his usual imperious self and some stunning guitar work from Michael Klein that really caught the eye. It was some six years later in 2016 that we saw the second instalment with several significant changes within the band with just Hess remaining and Michael Palace (Palace) coming in on guitar and bass with the dynamic Daniel Flores (Murder Of My Sweet) on drums and keyboards. One Step Over The Line was another exceptional melodic rock album with Palace and Flores adding their prodigious skills to that of Hess on an album which took what had gone before and raised it to another level. Line Of Fire in 2019 continued the good work with Palace and Flores remaining with the band and Johan Niemann coming in on bass and the band was now really in its stride with the third instalment being another class filled melodic rock delight.

Photo: Rich McPherson

We now come to album number four in Closer To The Edge which sees another revamping of the team with Hess and Flores remaining and Andi Kravljaca coming in on guitar and Jonny Trobro on bass. The names may have changed slightly but the format does not with the new album being another honey dripping AOR delight but with a cutting edge to the songs so that it is a real hard but melodic rock album. The songs are a pleasing mixture of classic AOR tracks contributed from a number of musicians from with the Frontiers family to which Hess adds his own magic to make them truly his. He is another quality musician who turns back the hands of time with his quality performance and his soaring vocals really do command your attention.

Closer To The Edge is another fine stadium rock album with plenty of songs that rock on and a few ballads on which Hess shows the sweetness and clarity of his voice but when he opens up with his power then the hairs on the back of your neck stand up. First Signal may have initially been a vehicle for Harry Hess but it is now a true, vibrant and living band creating some of the best melodic rock you will hear.

If you are a fan of Harem Scarem then you know exactly what to expect as this fine singer again delivers a perfect slab of AOR that is simply peerless.

Closer To The Edge

  1. Don’t Let It End (4:19)
  2. I Don’t Wanna Feel The Night Is Over (4:27)
  3. Show Me The Way (3:40)
  4. Don’t Look Away (4:30)
  5. Irreplaceable (3:49)
  6. One More Time (5:12)
  7. Closer To The Edge (3:57)
  8. Angel With A Rose (3:41)
  9. Mystery (4:12)
  10. The Hurting One (3:25)
  11. Got To Believe (4:48