Reviews roundup – Harem Scarem vs. Helker vs. Last Giant vs. White Demons vs. Honeyjack
Sadly the fourteenth album from Harem Scarem isn’t called fourteen unlike it’s thirteenth predecessor ‘Thirteen’. That aside though, it’s a welcome release from a band who lost their way post grunge in the Rubber years but who are back to doing what they do best in the 21st century.
And that’s basically melodic hard rock with a few AOR twists and turns. It should be easy but there are a lot of terrible albums out there in the genre which get fawned over for no discernible reason. This isn’t one of them.
There are a handful of tracks here which are as good as anything they’ve released over the last thirty years. My preference is for the tracks where they rock out a wee bit so I’m well taken with “Heaven And Earth” and “No Regrets”. But they haven’t forgotten about the AOR fans who keep them in tea and biscuits and they will be sweetened by the likes of “Things I Know” and “Here Today Gone Tomorrow”.
A record chock full of melody, harmonies and top quality music this is one that can stand proud with anything they’ve done before.
We’re heading off Argentina way now for some power metal courtesy of Helker, who deem themselves “Argentina’s finest metal band”. So that’s all the rest of them told.
This is album number five since they started back in 1998 and their second for fenre big boys AFM. The first three were all Argentina only, Spanish language releases should you be so inclined with ‘Somewhere in the Circle’ their first AFM album coming out in 2013.
Now I don’t know enough about Argentinian metal to know whether their claim stand up but I do know that they are bloody good at what they do. Because this is top notch power metal. It hits every requirement of the genre covering the more modern side as well as some transplanted Judas Priest riffs.
The riffs are a definite high point going to places where some of the market leaders filch their sounds. Add in some immense vocals on the likes of “All The Eternity” and “Fight” and you’re left with an album which really deserves a wide reaching studded audience.
Memory Of The World
Little One Ate The Big One
To the American rebel territories now for some seventies hard rock with some progressive overtones. And it comes from Last Giant.
Now don’t get too excited because Last Giant feature former members of and indie band called System and Station and they haven’t quite managed to shake off all their bad habits yet. But they’re getting there. This is a follow up to their debut ‘Heavy Habitat’ and it certainly shows some promise.
When they stick to the more traditional sounds as they do on the likes of “Living In Photographs” then it’s very enjoyable But elsewhere as on “Diamond Decade” and “Saint Paul” things go a wee bit skew-whiff. But there is talent lurking in these here grooves and they may be worth a sideways glance in days to come.
Bleed It Out
That’s asking for trouble that is in the oh so easily offended modern world inhabited by snowflakes and safe spaces. But over in Arizona it seems that punk meets AC/DC is deserving of a name like White Demons.
This band of demons have sort of been on the go since 2004 releasing an album in 2006 before vanishing for a decade. But original members Nick Kokoros (lead vocals & lead guitar), Patrick McKay (bass & vocals), Mike Christie (guitar & vocals) and new boyJack Obregon (drums ) have obviously decided that the world is now ready for them.
And by ready I mean what I said in the first paragraph as they clatter through some rough and ready garage blues riffs on the likes of “Clot When I Bleed”, “Shake It Loose” and “So Bad”. IT’s like nothing has happened since 1977. Which means I quite enjoyed it although I think it would sound even better in a basement bar with half a dozen Guinness bombs inside me.
If the thought of throwing up in someone elses DMs while your brain implodes on a bass bin then this may be the record you need.
Well this was a very pleasant surprise. A duo, Honeyjack (not Honeycrack the naff Wildhearts / The Grip / Tattooed Love Boys spinoff which was the first thing that sprang to mind) are Mark Summerlin (vocals/guitars) and T.J. Scarlett (guitars).
And what they do is eighties styed southern rock pop. Not something I would have expected from the guitarist and musical director for Seal (Mr Summerlin since you ask). Musically it’s a mix between AOR and southern rock. The kind of thing Jim Peterik was doing with Henry Paul and 38 Special back in the day.
That makes this something that’s been designed especially for me so when songs like “Hated Being Right About You” and “Know How To Pick ‘Em” come blasting out of the speakers I get more than a little moist. One of my favourite records of the year so far. Get this now.