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Harem Scarem – Live At The Phoenix

Harem Scarem
Live At The Phoenix
by Laura Cosheril at 15 February 2016, 8:14 AM

Canadian Hard Rock quartet HAREM SCAREM have recently released this live album “Live At The Phoenix” . I must sheepishly admit that before this review, I had never heard of HAREM SCAREM, which seems like a sad confession due to how “big” they are. This album is recorded during a show at their hometown of Toronto, and since bands usually go all out for their hometown,  my expectations are high.

The opening track features some generic “we’re doing a live album tonight so go fucking crazy… buy our merch… blah blah blah”. Which I can’t stand; the fans are there to see you, likelihood is they will buy your merch. Shut up and play. Nitpicking aside, throughout this album I often forgot that it was a live album, if it wasn’t for the girly screaming every now and again this could easily pass for a studio album. The band can play well live, finding a band nowadays that sounds just as good live as they do in the studio is a rarity. The production is fantastic and it’s because of this that we forget that it’s a live album.

When it comes to the actual songs, I can’t connect with them. While musically they are fantastic, something just isn’t there and it’s hard to put my finger on what that something is. I soon come to realise that during every song something slacks behind. For example “Saviours Never Cry” the vocals lack any passion and energy and on some of the later tracks the guitar work is sloppy and some of the melodies aren’t quite right. If they all banded together through every song it would make for a fantastic album. But unfortunately they don’t and that leaves the album with a lack of “oomph”.

This album had big shoes to fill for me, unfortunately the majority of the time it failed. Whether one member was slacking or the songwriting lacked synchronism or whatever else, it was hard to click with this album. But if you’re a fan of the band and want to hear them live and hate the live atmosphere then definitely pick up this album. But for me, I don’t think I’ll be coming back to this one any time soon.

Originality: 5
Songwriting: 5
Memorability: 3
Production: 9

2 Star Rating

  1. Garden of Eden
  2. Hard to Love
  3. Saviors Never Cry
  4. Dagger
  5. Distant Memory
  6. The Midnight Hours
  7. Mandy
  8. Killing Me
  9. Slowly Slipping Away
  10. Troubled Times
  11. Sentimental Blvd.
  12. Turn Around
  13. Stranger Than Love
  14. All I Need
  15. Saints and Sinners
  16. So Blind
  17. Human Nature
  18. Voice of Reason
  19. Change Comes Around
  20. No Justice
Harry Hess - lead vocals, keyboards, guitar
Pete Lesperance – lead guitar, vocals
Darren Smith – drums, vocals
Stan Miczek - bass, vocals
Record Label: Frontiers Records


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Edited 08 December 2022

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