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DARE
BELIEF

Legend Records
Produced by: Darren Wharton

Released: August 27 / Website
GENRE: AOR
OVERALL: 90%

  1. Silent Thunder
  2. Dreams On Fire
  3. White Horses (Lion Heart)
  4. Belief
  5. Run Wild Run Free
  6. We Were Friends
  7. Falling
  8. Where Will You Run To
  9. Take Me Away
  10. Promised Land
  11. Phoenix

A new Dare album is always quite an event and this one is no exception. Here it is - self produced by Darren Wharton after rebuilding his own home studio and recording the album over the period of 2 years.
This has been a tough CD to review. The main reason is that this is a different sound for Dare, also including somewhat different feel and approach and my job is to convey that accurately to the potential fans out there, so you get the right idea of what this album sounds like.
In Darren's own words this is a brave record. I agree. It takes some guts and conviction to do something a little different and hope that it effects the listener in the same way it did the writer.
What Dare have done is try to move the sound of the band to reach a new audience, while leaving enough of the band's classic sound to keep old fans happy.
I think he has mostly succeeded in that quest, as his voice and textures of this album aren't far from what we love about the band's classic AOR sound.
But I still expect the verdict on this release to be somewhat mixed.
Personally, I still find a lot to love about this record and will lap up anything Darren releases with pleasure. But those looking for a harder edge or a whole record of examples of the typical Dare sound may not be as impressed.
As I said, this is a somewhat different Dare record than previous albums.
This, says lead vocalist Darren Wharton, is the album he has wanted to make for years. This album is more stripped back and has an increased Celtic influence to the songs - they are more haunting, softer and more reflective.
It's also considerably more atmospheric, placing it in the same sort of league as Pink Floyd and their experimentation with rich textures and layers of synthesizers and keyboards. The line up for this album comprises of Darren Wharton (vocals and keyboards), Richard Dews (Acoustic and lead guitar), Andrew Moore (Electric Guitar) and Julian Gardner (Drums).
Adding to the diversity in sound is Steve Ricard on Lead guitar and bass, Sue Quin on vocals, Tricia Hutton on violin and Tommy Martin on Whistle and Pipe.
On Belief, there is a noticeable absence of any over the top guitar work. This album's melodies come from the vocals, keyboards and the additional musical influences.
This album isn't about those issues of guitars, big choruses and rousing anthems as much, but can't help but miss them on just a couple of occasions.
I would like to add that in it's favour, this album features the best and most emotionally passionate Darren Wharton vocals to date. Something about the stripped back production allows the raw emotion of his voice to be better portrayed and I like that aspect a lot.
The album opens on a familiar note - just as we like it - with a building intro that bursts into the moody multi-layered anthem Silent Thunder.
This is the rockiest song of the album and the song with the most familiar sound to the last and first Dare album. The layered harmonies and bridge to chorus structure will please long time fans no end.
Dreams On Fire is another gem of a track, in a much simpler, stripped back track in a soft Celtic pop ballad style. Celtic influences, such as the whistle and pipe mix throughout the track that has a soft foundation, with the strong lead vocal providing most of the melodic hooks of the song.
White Horses (Lion Heart) is another soft atmospheric ballad.
Again including regional influences, the likeable song is simple and flows easily from start to finish. Against the tradition of previous Dare releases, the song doesn't have any huge hooks and is generally fairly laid back.
The title track Belief starts as an almost acoustic track and builds, with some female backing vocals and a structure that doesn't offer a defined chorus. A powerful song, but personally I prefer some other tracks on the album to this one.
The soft, haunting intro to Run Wild Run Free suggests that something special will follow. It does....the passion in Darren's vocals is special. The guitar features more prominently here and although the chorus comes and goes fairly quickly, the harmonies and strength of the melodies make it and instant Dare classic.
This track features a great raw vocal.
We Were Friends heads straight back into a soft Celtic mode, with a long traditional introduction that would easily sound at home on a Mark Knofler record. The song itself is again very laid back, very softly spoken.
The song runs through a few stages and after a soft start, builds to a big finish - featuring female backing vocals.
Falling is another highlight. In fact, the multi-layered vocal harmonies make this track one of the album's standout tracks. It's a little more upbeat and certainly more layered. The track features a much stronger and more melodic vocal, plus several hooks and harmony layers for AOR fans to get excited about. Darren's vocal harmonies and melodies are out standing. He is one of only a few vocalists that can have such a strong impact on a song. That's probably why songs that don't feature such vocal acrobatics sound like they are missing something.
Where Will You Run To sounds similar to anything that could have been lifted from the Calm Before The Storm album. The song features more guitars and even a few solo's. A good more uptempo moody rock track that will be a favourite amongst old fans. It comes at a time where a couple of more uptempo tracks were needed in the album.
Take Me Away features a soft acoustic and electric guitar intro, closely followed by a soft Darren Wharton vocal. This is another track that flows quietly from start to finish in a quiet reflective manor, without any major hooks or a defined chorus. Another track that I find very likable, if not instantly.
The track finishes rather quickly on a very quiet note, which is exactly how Promised Land begins. There isn't a lot of difference between the songs - they are very familiar in style. Promised Land is a pace up in tempo and has a chorus that is a little more elaborate. Phoenix is a cool, reflective and slightly haunting track with soft acoustic guitars and a really smooth vocal track. It suits this album, although it has strains of classic Dare. A cool way to finish off an album.
BOTTOM LINE: Despite being a more diverse style than it's predecessors, this album is welcome in my CD collection.
As emotionally stirring as some of the tracks are on Belief, some listeners still may not get it. I hope they do.
The style of the album is so definite that I believe Darren's goal at the outset of this record - to make a softer, more reflective record - has been realized. The thing I am not sure of is whether the fans will be united behind the cause.
This record is definitely a mood music album. There are many moods for this album, but play it during a time of quiet reflection and relaxation and will definitely hit the spot.
PRODUCTION: 90% SONGS: 87% VIBE: 87%ATTITUDE: 95%
ESSENTIAL FOR: Al loyal and long time Dare and Darren Wharton fans, fans of Celtic pop rock.
DISCOGRAPHY:Out Of The Silence . Blood From Stone . Calm Before The Storm . Belief


21/01/07: Paul - paul@pagrebo.com
Rating: 96
This review is being written with 20/20 hindsight. I picked up the last three Dare cds at the same time, listening to them each at various times over the last two years. BELIEF, CALM BEFORE THE STORM, & BENEATH THE SHINING WATER have, for some, been received as very similiar albums... a major change in direction from the first two Dare cds. There are similarities between the three, but, IMO, BELIEF stands out as the best of the three. The strongest songs of the three cds are all contained on BELIEF: SILENT THUNDER, DREAMS ON FIRE, WHITE HORSES, RUN WILD RUN FREE, FALLING & PHOENIX are the highlights of this cd, and if they were on either of the other two... they would be the highlights of those cds as well. That's not to take away from the quality of those other two cds, it's just that if you were to stack rank all the songs on these three Dare cds, the top six would all come from BELIEF. This is a very mellow cd, with tremendous Celtic influences(love the intro to DREAMS ON FIRE), so don't expect BLOOD FROM STONE, cuz this ain't that. What this is is the very best Dare effort to date. Can't wait for their 07 release.

06/11/05: del stevens - lbikerdj@aol.com
Rating: 90
Dare and darren wahrton are the most underated band ever gerat songs great lyrics

18/05/05: hercules - irakliskaranikolis@yahoo.com
Rating: 100
A MASTERPIECE

25/04/05: Anja - anjajs@yahoo.de
Rating: 98
Simply fantastic!
They played it in the background and i thought "Damn that´s great". I just love it!

10/03/05: farid - ambfar1@yahoo.com
Rating: 99
a superior melodic rock band but still i am suffering in deep shit cause i couldnot get the lyrics of dare albums.Darren wharton with a sweet voice and back on the road again
pakistan karachi

07/06/04: kelly - katfish112003@yahoo.co.uk
Rating: 100
Fantastic, from begining to end such a fantastic cd and even better in person. Well done Darren and all with you, cant wait for the new album.

03/08/03: DARREN pREECE - dpreece1@btopenworld.com
Rating: 100
EMOTIONAL, PASSIONATE, BREATHTAKING, CLASSY, DEEP, THOUGHTFUL, INSPIRING, RELAXING, ENCHANTING, BEAUTIFUL,

NEED I SAY MORE ?

09/05/03: Steve Wildman - steve.wildman@franklinandrews.com
Rating: 85
85% is a pretty good score to give this album. Of the Tracks, Silent Thunder, Dreams on Fire, Wild Horses, Run Wild Run Free, Falling and Who will you run to are my favourites. But just think. I've named 6 great tracks and the others aren't bad.

The only criticism is i'd like to see (or hear) a little more rock, maybe like "chains" or "Into the Fire" or "Born to fight another day".

All in all, i would definitely recommend this album. Put it with the previous Dare Stuff and you are getting together a good collection of albums and a good collection of music.

05/08/02: david - DAVID.GARCIAZ@GRUPOBBVA.COM
Rating: 100
HACÍA MUCHO TIEMPO QUE NO ESCUCHABA UN DISCO TAN BUENO. ACOJONANTE.

23/01/02: STEVEN SIMCOCK - steven.simcock1@btinternet.com
Rating: 95
EVERY SONG THAT DARE SING ARE GREAT AND THIS RECORD IS JUST SHOWS HOW GOOD THAY ARE. THERE IS NO ONE I CAN THINK OF THAT CAN SING BETTER THAN DARREN. LONG LIVE DARE

03/12/01: Andrew - royalhunter@earthlink.net
Rating: 100
I have never heard such an emotional albun in my life. This is a true masterpiece and something for Darren (and all his followers) to be proud of. I hope that the next release carries on this format. I have loved Celtic music since I was a child (some Thirty odd years ago), and this was so stirring it almost brought tears. A must have.

25/11/01: Antal Horvath - ahorvath@ozemail.com.au
Rating: 100
What can I say? This is a brilliant and emotional masterpiece. From the very first apparence of the haunting vocals, to the last dying sounds of the album. This is a journey over life, landscape, emotions and it is the album I have been waiting for perhaps a lifetime.

18/10/01: koogles - progrocknerd@aol.com
Rating: 94
Darren Wharton has reached down deep inside and pulled out something quite beautiful, and something that transcends not only the AOR tedium, but the sum of the world's problems. On "Belief" (the title track), I hear echoes of Roger Waters "Shine On You Crazy Diamond" in Darren's vocals. Then I hear Mark Knofler's "Brothers in Arms" guitar lead towards the end. As free as the wind, as wide as the ocean... this album is a sprawling masterpiece.

09/10/01: Nico Berg - nicoberg@swipnet.se
Rating: 92
Well he´s certainly made it again. A wonderful piece of atmospheric music which will help me in the through the dark, cold winter. I love the vocals allt he way, and the rest is just a journey to the spirits in my mind.

You can feel the landscapes and see the beautiful nature by the music. And that´s the best complement i can give a musician. I have followed Darrens work since the Lizzy days, and Phil Lynott must be very proud and smile at you Darren. This is your best piece of work, so far...... Nico

05/10/01: Rob - kootstrarob@hetnet.nl
Rating: 95
A great album. Emotional and passionate vocals. It was waiting a long time for this CD, but it was worth waiting for.For me it is the best CD from the last months.

03/10/01: David - kaeda@katamail.com
Rating: 90
A perfect CD to listen while driving or just relaxing at night drinking a glass of wine; I like most the rockiest tracks like Silent thunder or Where will you run to, but all in all it's great when you need to take some time for yourself; this album has got one thing wrong: now good ol' Darren has got an alibi for letting us wait for another brand new opus at least until 2004!

21/09/01: Marco van der Ven - marco@mvdv.demon.nl
Rating: 92
Finally... Ofcourse, this one's great. I nust confess, it's more something for a late evening. Very atmospheric. First thoughts? Pink Floyd and yeah, I had to think of Mark Knopfler too...

14/09/01: jonnyrod - jon_innes@hotmail.com
Rating: 95
Firstly, I've been awaiting this CD since 1999 and tore the packaging to pieces when I finally had it in my hands. Well, I must say that 'Belief' certainly is a different album for Dare, but (in my opinion) a natural progression from 'Calm'. The fantastic layered vocal harmonies (a Dare trademark) are all intact, although the 'gang vocals' a la Def Leppard that were all over 'Blood From Stone' are not. Now, I loved 'Blood', but you can't keep making the same album over and over again can you? There are no real rockers on the album and actual guitar solos are few and far between, but there is plenty of guitar in a more atmospheric way, more to suit the mood, like Pink Floyd or Mark Knopfler's work. Darren's vocals still shine thru on standout tracks 'Run Wild Run Free' and 'Falling' while 'We Were Friends' is possibly the best ballad they've ever done. Think of a cross between the slower songs on 'Silence' (like 'Raindance' and 'King Of Spades') and 'Calm Before The Storm' but with more of a celtic influence and more acoustic guitars and you'll have some idea of where this album is at. Personally, this is what I was hoping for. This is a fantastic album that grows on me more with each listen. If you don't already own it (but I'm sure you all do), please get it now!!! I manage a CD Store down here in New Zealand and have played the album in-store twice and have had no less than 5 people interested in it thru hearing it over the shop stereo. Definitely a step forward and another reason they are one of the best bands (in ANY genre) of the past 15 years. Thanks for yet another fabulous album.

Jonny

13/09/01: Marcus - widde76@yahoo.se
Rating: 100
My thoughts go out to the victims and their relatives in the United States. This record could be seen as a tribute to this tragic event, it's very emotional and speaks to the soul. A place given for thought and reflection.
/ Marcus from Lund, Sweden.

13/09/01: alberto - albertoavia@terra.es
Rating: 99
Darren spins the wheel around one more time and gets over "Calm..." when i almost thought it was impossible.The best way to get back to job in September,so relaxed...

09/09/01: wiljan vriens - w_vriens@hotmail.com
Rating: 96
he dare mates!!!

So after a real big fault the cd store made i have it after 1 week of waiting and then getting the album BELIEF with the calm before the storm cd inside.
But now i got it and it's burned inside my cd player and doesn't want to come out.
Really this is one of the best cd's in my collection of 600 aor/melodic rock cd's.
Some magazines say that they are too soft but in my opinion i think that it doenst have to be hard too be good and that's a fact.
Silent thunder i've heard and that really's what the album is about 'SILENT' with a little bit of 'THUNDER'
BELIEVE is a topping album for me and for other aor fans so what rest for me to say is ENJOY.

w.vriens

06/09/01: Lars - stigmata_cs@hotmail.com
Rating: 95
The wait is over and belief is here.
And i didnt wait for nothing.
Its surely diffrent no doubt about it but i just love it.
The songs have this special dare feeling and the musical performance is just top notch.
If i should mention one song it must be falling with its hearttwisting chours.
It just cant get much better than this.
And I just wanna tell everyone who reads this to buy this album because its one of the best albums of -01, and thats a fact.

06/09/01: Kris - kriskel@cyberportal.net
Rating: 98
Okay, I get it, I see what Darren is doing here. This is a progression that's been coming for a long time in his music, and I think he's finally realized exactly what he wants to say with his songwriting. It's very moody, ethereal, reflective stuff. And it's nothing short of brilliant. This album doesn't rock, it oozes emotion, while keeping intact the classic dare sound and feel. Kudos to Darren for having the guts to make an album exactly the way he wants.

03/09/01: John Einar Kjevik - john.einar.kjevik@entercard.no
Rating: 10
I`ve been waiting for this new Dare release for so long, and finally it`s in my CD-player. And after a couple of listenings I can say....WOOW, WHAT A SUPERB RECORD. It has all the ingredients what I love so much about Dare. It`s very hard to pick highlights from this record, cause all the songs are so great. Compared to the other Dare releases, this is the softest album to date, and fan`s of Blood From Stone may be a little disapponted. But in my opinion Blood From Stone is the weakest of the four albums from Dare. But buy Belief, it is a beautiful album!!

03/09/01: håkan markstedt - hakan.markstedt@marktema.se
Rating: 95
At last, a new Dare album!. This one is again different from the pevious one. The album is very laidback but it´s a damn good one! The vocals of mr. Wharton is his best work up to date and fits the song wonderfully. The songs are very melodic and has a
cool sound with many nice keltic sounds here and there. A perfect record for relaxing and reflections...good one!!!
/ Håkan from Stockholm


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