Melodic hard rockers First Signal are back with their fifth studio album, Face Your Fears, a compelling record from start to finish. Consisting of Canadian powerhouse vocalist Harry Hess (Harem Scarem), Marco Pastorino on guitar, Michele Guaitoli on bass and Marco Andreetto on drums, this quartet of musicians never fail to bring us an album that will leave you wanting more. From hard rocking hits to powerful ballads ripe with melodic guitars, this album has something for everyone to love.
First Signal – Face Your Fears (Frontiers)
Release Date: 17 February 2023
Words: Taylor Cameron
Leading off with a strong and heavy guitar riff paired with a thumping drum beat, Unbreakable kicks off the album strong. An early ’90s hard rock sound with a fresh modern twist keeps things interesting right from the start. Hess’ prominent melodic vocals put the well-known First Signal stamp on the song, his unique voice carrying anything he sings on.
Staying on course, Situation Critical is up next on the tracklist. With stagnant phrasing in the vocal melody and mixing a softer tone with crunchy guitars, Situation Critical has a unique quality to its sound. An interesting guitar intro catches your attention within the sections.
Always Be There introduces the power ballad to the album, something Hess has nailed every time since Harem Scarem’s hit single Honestly from their 1991 debut album. From a melodic guitar solo to the perfect lyrical content within the song, Always Be There is a track you’ll be wanting to add to your ’80s-style power ballad playlist.
Reaching the middle of the album, we have the title track, Face Your Fears. A heavier tone sinks its teeth in you right off the bat, pairing it with meaningful lyrics for a quintessential hard rock tune. A shreddy guitar solo is the cherry on top. Never Gonna Let You Go, the first single released from the album follows up next. A Def Leppard-esq track with an anthemic chorus and big vocals, it has remnants of the classic ’80s sound written all over it.
Not This Time steers the album in a different direction. With synthesizers prominent in the verses, this is heavily pop-influenced, driven by heavy rock guitars. A Tears For Fears meets Harem Scarem sound, delivering something uniquely exciting and modern while staying classically ’80s in the best ways.
Closing out the album on a strong note, Never Be Silenced stays on the pop influences within the vocal melodies, something Hess does brilliantly. Nostalgia hits you deep in your soul with the powerful ’80s hard rock-sounding guitar solo, fitting perfectly within the track to drive it home.
Anything Hess puts his mark on turns to gold, and Face Your Fears is no exception. His powerful vocals never faulting, while the strong musicianship of Pastorino, Guaitoli and Andreetto carry the tracks perfectly. An incredibly strong album from start to finish, Face Your Fears is a record you don’t want to miss.