March 22, 2020

Formed in 1987 and still going strong, the melodic rock band Harem Scarem is one of Canada’s greatest exports with their superior and ever pleasing brand of AOR. They have a couple of blips behind them especially when they changed their name to Rubber for a couple of albums around the millennium but this was only in Canada and, confusingly, they remained Harem Scarem in the rest of the world. Then they really worried their fan base when they disbanded in 2008 but only to return in triumph in 2013 with a re-worked and re-recorded version of their second album cunningly called Mood Swings II but it was the three new tracks that truly whetted the appetite. However, it was really with the album Thirteen in 2014 that they were truly back and they then followed this up with United in 2017, a sublimely delicious hard rocking it was too.

Change The World is album number fifteen in what is becoming a prolific career and, to me at least, they have not produced a weak album. It’s actually great that many of the old masters are still with us and as relevant today as they ever were. Harem Scarem has its own individual style and sound yet the boys are more than happy to throw in the odd curve ball and a band that is willing to change and adapt is one that will always survive. Quality is a given in any new Harem Scarem album which is hardly surprising given their line-up with the sublime Harry Hess on lead vocals and keyboards and I doubt he has ever sounded better than he does on this new release. His soaring voice is just so right for melodic rock and these are the archetypal stadium rock with hooks aplenty, amazing vocals and a level of musicianship that is off the scale. Pete Lesperance, as ever, is amazing on guitar and his lead work is just stunning and he supplies the bass for the album as well with Creighton Doane being a human dynamo on drums. It seems that Mike Vassos is now the new bassist but it doesn’t appear to have had any input into the album. Darren Smith (I’m assuming the former drummer) supplies backing vocals and Tony Harnell, Nick Workman, Pete Newdeck, Justin Kudding and Alessandro Del Vecchio are all credited as additional musicians in the liner notes but no further information on what they played or sand on.

The album starts with the title track and this is an immediate statement of intent and they never let the intensity drop throughout the entire album, this is a thrilling hard and heavy rock album from true giants of the genre and certain to continue their success.