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First Signal - Line of Fire Award winner

First Signal
Line of Fire
by Dave "That Metal Guy" Campbell at 02 July 2019, 6:31 AM

FIRST SIGNAL is the musical union between HAREM SCAREM band vocalist Harry Hess and Swedish drummer/producer Daniel Flores. Of their third collaboration together, Hess says, "once again it was a pure pleasure to be working on these songs. Daniel made it easy on me…just concentrating on being the singer is a luxury that I enjoyed immensely." Flores adds, "as a huge fan of HAREM SCAREM, I'm still asking people to pinch me to see if I'm still awake. Harry and his band made some of the most classic AOR and rock records ever, so I feel a responsibility to give the fans as close as possible to the quality that Harry continuously delivers with either his own solo work, or HAREM SCAREM. Something the audience has certainly come to expect by now. I think the fans will love this one.

“Born to be a Rebel” leads off the attack, with a mid-tempo number thick with crunchy guitars and keys. Hess’s vocals are smooth and controlled, but he can negotiate the upper ranges as well. The full backing vocals in the chorus are rich…reminding me of DEF LEPPARD. “A Million Miles” is a slightly faster song, still with those rich melodies in the chorus. The song creates a longing when he talks about being a million miles away from love, and wondering how they got there. “Last of my Broken Heart” is a power-ballad of sorts, featuring the emotional vocals of Harry Hess. It’s a poignant and charged song that really delivers fully in the chorus. If this doesn’t give you goosebumps, check your pulse, because you might be dead.

“Tonight we are the only” has a groovy little rhythm with pop sensibilities, like BON JOVI. I could hear this song spinning on the radio. The chorus is so easy to sing along with, you want to grab a mike and wail. “Walk through the Fire” opens with a fun and swinging cadence, with a little bluesy sound thrown in. Hess really digs down deep here, delivering a memorable vocal performance that energizes you. “Never Look Back” is a mid-tempo rocker talking about “putting your heart on the line” and “taking a shot at the love that could set you free.” Again, the chorus is full of wonderful backing vocals, kicked off with a key change. Palace shoots off a nice guitar solo and the keys in the third chorus round out the song with character.

“Line of Fire” opens with a faster energy but still with that longing that is present in every song. It makes the impact of the chorus a bit larger…with more life. “Here with You” is a tender song that opens with sweet vocals and acoustic guitar. This song hooks you with its infectious and emotional melodies. “Need you now” is a mid-tempo rocker that opens with lead guitar melodies and sweet, emotional parts that leave you wanting more. It’s a simple but oh-so effective songwriting. “Falling” moves with purpose. Like a good JOURNEY song, it has that perfect balance of edginess with melody. Hess really reaches inside himself and challenges his vocal performance, which comes out as close to perfect as you would want.

Overall, this album delivered hard in all areas that you would expect from an AOR album. Outstanding songwriting, with the ability to write those hooks that just draw you in, and the perfect amount of melody, taking you back to a time when the genre was flourishing in the 1980’s. They didn’t try to re-create the wheel, nor copy what other bands have done in the past. Indeed, this is an original and fresh piece of AOR that you will remember for some time.

Songwriting: 9
Originality: 9
Memorability: 10
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

1. Born to be a Rebel
2. A Million Miles
3. Last of my Broken Heart
4. Tonight we are the only
5. Walk though the Fire
6. Never Look Back
7. Line of Fire
8. Here with you
9. Need you now
10. Falling
11. End of the World
Harry Hess – Lead Vocals
Daniel Flores – Drums and Keyboards
Michael Palace – Guitars
Johan Niemann – Bass Guitar
Darren Smith – Background Vocals
Record Label: Frontiers Music


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