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First Signal
First Signal
August 2010
Released: 2010, Frontiers
Rating: 5.0/5
Reviewer: Thorsten Zwingelberg

Get in, shut your mouth and buckle up. We’re getting ready for a ride down memory lane. Harem Scarem’s own Harry Hess has given in to the fans’ demands for yet another timeless AOR recording. A joint force of internationally renowned songwriters (House of Lords, W.E.T. etc.) have gathered to compose this masterpiece of awesome AOR Rock that was produced by Pink Creams’s Denis Ward, who managed to give the melodic songs a rough edge.



Just like Harem Scarem’s twelve albums, “First Signal” is a fine mixture of soft, rather modern tunes (“Part of Me”) and catchy, raw rock songs (“The City”, “First Signal”). Still, the band is at its best, when they successfully try to catch the spirit of the 80s. The power ballad “Feels like love this time” ranges among the best that I have heard in a long time and I promise you that the chorus won’t leave your ears or your heart for a long time. However, there’s more to come and Hess saves the best for last: “Naked Desire” is an emotional and yet ass-kicking AOR hymn that won’t leave any Big Hair Metal fan untouched. This song really sums up what twenty-five years of hairspray and spandex pants have been all about: crunchy guitars, catchy hooks and a truckload of emotions! You can’t ask for more.



Spin the record for a couple of times and you will discover a world long forgotten. A melodic AOR rock masterpiece that is one of a kind in our times!
Track Listing

1. This City
2. When You Believe
3. Part Of Me
4. Crazy
5. Goodbye To The Good Time
6. First Signal
7. Feels Like Love This Time
8. Into The Night
9. When November Falls
10. Yesterdays Rain
11. Naked Desire

Lineup

Bass - Dennis Ward
Vocals - Harry Hess, Darren Smith
Guitar - Dennis Ward, Michael Klein
Keys - Eric Ragno
Drums - Chris Schmidt

Contact

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Other reviews

» First Signal
by Thorsten Zwingelberg

» First Signal
by JP


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Previous review: » FireWolfe - We Rule The Night

First Signal
First Signal
October 2010
Released: 2010, Frontiers Records
Rating: 3.5/5
Reviewer: JP

In the mainstream media there has been a long standing misperception that melodic hard rock has gone the way of the dinosaur. Many of us who are fans of the genre know better. There are dozens and dozens, maybe even hundreds of bands active today that could classified as ‘Hair Metal’, ‘80’s Metal, ‘Cock-rock’ or any other number of derogatory and inaccurate terms. Regardless of what you call it, this style is still as relevant today as it was 20 years ago. Frontiers Records are one of the leading lights in supporting these great bands and they have done us another favour by introducing the world to First Signal. This album could have come out in 1988 and everyone would cite it as a classic today. However, it is not 1988 it is 2010 and instead of being the ground-breaking piece, it might have been, it is simply just a fantastic record for fans of the genre.



First signal is a collaborative effort of two gentlemen Harry Hess and Denis Ward. In some pre-release press, Harry suggested that First signal has given him a chance to sing in the style of his early work with Harem Scarem. I find this to be very accurate because he hasn’t sounded this good in years. His delivery is passionate and forceful when he sings. His vocal work is reminiscent of the first three Harem Scarem albums. Long-time Harem Scarem drummer Darren is on board for some singing and although the band only called it quits a couple of years ago, it’s good to see them working together, possibly paving the way for future Harem Scarem albums.



Denis Ward, who has along history in the industry contributes guitar, bass and even does some background singing. The album starts off with a one-two punch of super smooth, hard rocking tunes, great driving songs. The band shifts gears and slows down for the next time allowing Hess’ voice to shine on slower work. Every chorus is ready-made for people to quickly recognize and sing-along.



Like most of the albums in this genre, the lyrics deal with simple topics, of love and loss and maybe a little bit of party thrown in for good measure. Nothing too deep or complicated. The guitars are crunchy and in the pocket, not too frantic, decent, simple soloing, not too much of the ‘shred’. The whole albums moves along at a firm pace, letting Hess’ vocals drive the song along. The songs are super smooth, and cruise along effortlessly sprinkled with a bit of acoustic guitar on the slower moments. There is not too much variation in the song-writing, just a standard, verse, chorus, verse chorus solo etc. In fact, I think about 10 of the 11 songs clock in at about 4.5 minutes each. It is not a complex or challenging album, but extremely listenable.



Everything about this is totally professional, fun, energetic melodic Hard Rock/ Metal. Confident and mature for a first album (even if it is delivered by seasoned pro’s) FIRST SIGNAL is hopefully a sign or signal of good things to come.
Track Listing

1. This City
2. When You Believe
3. Part Of Me
4. Crazy
5. Goodbye To The Old Times
6. First Signal
7. Feels Like Love
8. Into The Night
9. When November Falls
10. Yesterday's Rain
11. Naked Desire

Lineup

Harry Hess-Vocals
Michael Klein-guitar
Dennis Ward-Bass
Eric Ragno-Keyboards
Chris Schmidt-Drums

Other reviews

» First Signal
by Thorsten Zwingelberg

» First Signal
by JP


Next review: » Fischel´s Beast - Commencement (EP)
Previous review: » FireWolfe - We Rule The Night





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