The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world

The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world

 

Hess

Living In Yesterday

FRONTIERS RECORDS

2012

 

TWO REVIEWS FOR THE PRICE OF ONE!

 

 

CHECK OUT TODD AND MARK's TAKES ON HESS' NEW ONE

 

 

 

What is it about AOR that drags me in EVERY time?  I guess it is just the listener friendly music, lyrics that mean something, and all around pleasant sound.  Harry Hess’ latest has all of these and more.  Hess throws another disc of radio friendly rock goodness at us in the form of Living In Yesterday.”  It doesn’t hurt that he has worked with my friends in My Darkest Days either!

 

 


The playing on this disc is incredibly strong, but is nothing compared to the vocals and lyrics.  Hess has outdone himself with this disc.  The emotion he brings to the table overrides any cheesy lyrics that may be hidden behind the guitar and keyboard driven rock.  Even the drums and bass are given their due here, as the sound mix is even and doesn’t drown out anything.

 

 


The vocals soar and take you to another place from song to song.  Opener and title track “Living In Yesterday” kicks the disc off on the right foot and there is no letting up from there.  “Reach For You” keeps the energy up and the foot tapping.  Even the ballads aren’t sappy and keep you listening.  Another rocker, “Nothing Lasts Forever,” comes around and gets you moving again.  Standouts?  Hell, there isn’t a song on this disc that isn’t solid.  If AOR is your thing, pick this one up.  This is one of the better discs released from this genre this year.

 

 

 

by Todd Jolicoeur

 

 

 

 

 

I have been eagerly anticipating this one since... well to be honest since Harry's last release: the awesome First Signal Project. Here we see him solo, and I for one am expecting a temple of melodic perfection...

 

 


For those not familiar with Harry Hess, he was the singer for cult melodic rock band Harem Scarem for many years and in the opinion of many, including me, is probably one of the most talented writer-performers the Melodic Rock scene has seen in the last twenty years. Now if you think that is a big wrap or going a bit too far, just pretty much pick up anything he’s done recently.  The difference I think about Hess though is that there are no peaks and troughs and what he is doing today is probably even more consistent than his earlier work.

 

 


The title track: ‘Living in Yesterday’ should please fans of Melodic Rock everywhere and it’s as impressive an opening as you would expect from Harry.  If anything the richness and lush sound of ‘Reach for You’ is even better; whilst pick of the opening salvo for me is ‘It’s Over’ - a song to make the hairs stand up on the back of your neck.    

 

 


It’s on ‘Don’t Leave Me’ that we get to hear a song that in all honesty could give any of the current radio-rock generation a kick in the ass. It’s a song that recalls in-vogue bands like Hider, Saving Abel but surpasses their output. And while ‘What If’ shows things down a little again it’s looking like a cross-over winner, this time with a more mature rock sound that recalls everyone from Foreigner to REO Speedwagon.

 

 


‘Nothing Lasts Forever’ boasts one of Hess’ seemingly endless supply of great choruses; it’s a faster-paced number that is shot through with summer light, and a great sing-along chorus. How this guy is not everywhere is one of the great mysteries of rock. While some artists out there are rooted in the past musically and others seem to grasp too hard to emulate the current sound, you get the feeling that Hess just tries to write the best song he can, and whilst his output might evoke feelings of or comparisons with contemporaries (For example I think that ‘First Signal’ CD was probably the best Journey album that Journey never made) he is definitely his own man.

 

 


Two of my favourite songs here Are the understated ‘Falling Down’ which is simply a beautiful song and ‘I Live For You’ that has the slight feel of a Def Leppard ballad from one of their better albums. If you want an indication of melodic ‘weight’ this is almost Nelson-like in its heaviness and in my opinion the best lighter melodic release since Terry Brock’s wonderful ‘Diamond Blue’ a couple of years ago.
A more introspective album than some might have expected, but wonderfully executed and definitely up in the running for best Melodic release of 2012.


 

 

by Mark Diggins