DataReleased August 2010
Genre Melodic Rock
N of discs 1
Edition date August 2010
Label Frontiers Records
REVIEWER: RAYMOND "EVERYBODY LOVES RAY" COONEN
First Signal is the new collaboration between two big names of the melodic rock scene being singer Harry Hess, the front man of one of the greatest AOR/Melodic Rock bands in the world Harem Scarem, and bass player Dennis Ward (Pink Cream 69, Place Vendome, Khymera)
Personally I am one of the many second generation Harem Scarem fans. The first tunes I heard from these Canadian quartet was of the "Weight Of The World" album in 2002. I thought that they were a new band... Man what I was wrong! I quickly bought the first four albums. Harem Scarem made a brilliant debut and a second record full of melodic rock classics. After the (filler) acoustic live album (EP…if you want) in 1994 the tornado called grunge destroyed the melodic rock landscape. Harem Scarem rolled with the changes, recorded five weak albums, but remained still very successful in Japan… but who isn’t big in Japan? Thanks to the record label Frontiers they saw their "Weight Of The World" album distributed all over the world. In six years that followed, Harem Scarem produced seven albums including one early year’s compilation and one live record. In 2008 Harem Scarem recorded their last album "Hope". Harry Hess even found time in 2003 to record a solo album called "Just Another Day".
The rising of melodic rock record labels like MTM, Frontiers and AOR Heaven gave green light to many projects. For examle From The Inside (feat. Danny Vaughn) or Vertigo (feat. Joseph Williams). After closing the Harem Scarem book in 2008, Harry Hess is often singing or writing songs for one of these new projects. (Voices of Rock and Shining Line). And now thanks to producer and bassguitar player Dennis Ward he had the opportunity to create a complete album full for this project called First Signal. The label on front of the CD says 'Harry Hess returns to classic melodic hard rock'. Looks a little bit strange to me... he quits Harem Scarem and now continues whit a project that sounds just like the band? But hey, don’t worry. Now you can be sure that "First Signal" is filled with great songs. Personally I think that not all the songs are from the high level as the first two Harem Scarem albums. Maybe that is only me talking. "First Signal" produces some excellent rock songs like the opener and first single "This City", "When You Believe", "Feels Like Love This Time", "Into The Night" and "Naked Desire". Also on the album are two covers from Richard Marx ("Part Of Me" and the poppy "When November Falls") who co-wrote these tracks with Matt Scannell (Vertical Horizon).
I think that the album would even be better if there where some songs on written by Harry Hess himself… it would give me more the feeling that First Signal was a Harry Hess project. Hess prooved that he can write brilliant tracks. However Dennis Ward asked amongst others Eric Martensson and Robert Sall (both W.E.T.) and James Christian (House Of Lords) to do the writing. I won't keep complaining... it is nothing to worry about if you listen to the album because that’s a great effort. It’s worth every penny… eh, euro...
Harry Hess: vocals
Michael Klein: guitars
Dennis Ward: bass and guitars
Chris Schmidt: drums
Eric Ragno: keyboards