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DARE / CALM BEFORE THE STORM
MTM MUSIC 199649
OVERALL: 94%
  1. Walk On The Water
  2. Some Day
  3. Calm Before The Storm
  4. Rescue Me
  5. Silence Of Your Head
  6. Rising Sun
  7. Ashes
  8. Crown Of Thorns
  9. Deliverence
  10. Still In Love With You
It has been a long time coming for the comeback of British AOR Gods Dare.
Darren Wharton was a man so frustrated with the whole scene it lead him to say the whole AOR scene was dead. Thankfully things are on the up and Darren has returned to his melodic rock roots to record one of the most vital pure AOR records in years.
The band now feature Darren with Andrew Moore on guitar, Julien Gardner on Drums and Martin Wilding on Bass. The album was recorded over the past couple of years with additional help from Richard Dews on acoustic guitar and backing vocals, Sue Quinn on vocals and Kevin Whitehead on drums.
Dare's debut has long since been classed an all time classic, as it should be. The album was full of moody multi-layered power ballads with angst ridden lyrics.
The band's second album Blood From Stone used the basis of the moody Dare sound, but was more in the guitar driven hard rock approach, like Hardline, and contained only two ballads.
After that the band went their own ways, and guitarist Vinny Burns has since formed the other UK AOR supergroup Ten.
Well the long awaited third release is here, and the best way to describe the record is superb!
Fans of the debut are going to love this record. Some of the songs have been around in demo form for a while, so there may be a few of you out there that have heard these songs already. Walk On The Water was also featured on the last MTM sampler. But the final product has been improved even more, with added layers of guitars and vocals recently added.
Reverting to their original sound, the new Dare is absolutely chock full of moody ballads, soaring choruses, multi-layered harmonies and music and those heart-torn lyrics are back in force. And it is long! only a couple of tracks under 5 minutes and half over 6.
Walk On The Water is originally a Blood From Stone recording, that has been re-recorded and greatly improved. Most should have heard it via the MTM sampler. Since then there has been added a great acoustic outro, that leads the song's harmonies on for another minute or two. Sounds great!
Some Day kicks off with a combination acoustic and electric guitar combination. A mid paced song with a chorus that the band have become famous for.
The title track slows things down a little for an eight minute plus journey into monster ballad territory. Acoustic guitars and keyboards and Darren's dark vocals running through a song that changes pace a few times and a huge chorus. The song builds to a climax that equals any great moment of the debut.
Rescue Me is as moody and melodic as the rest of the tracks, but in a more uptempo fashion. The chorus is a real anthem, and gives Darren a huge workout.
Silence Of Your Head is possibly the biggest anthem ballad on the record. It starts with a great piano sound and backing layers of keyboards and haunting vocals. The chorus is an anthem of huge proportions. Another six minute plus track. I love the ending - once again it is a song that leads to a climax and then lets you down slowly. A great blend of slow guitar solo's and piano.
Rising Sun is another heartfelt ballad, but more a mid paced ballad.
Ashes starts slowly with those lush acoustic guitars mixed again with keyboards and an electric solo. It builds towards the chorus where the drums and electric guitars crash in and the vocals soar again.
Crown Of Thorns is another uptempo rocker. Still moody and angst ridden, but more focus on the guitars and drums. A great chorus (again!). I love Darren's vocals here. Very stripped back.
Deliverance is one of the surprise tunes on the album. It is instantly different, with a really full guitar sound on top of maybe a dozen layers of extra instruments. The vocals don't appear till well into the second minute. It even has a ring of Pink Floyd to it. Then the vocals just catch you off guard. A slow pace has you entranced until this monstrous new age like multi-layered harmonized chorus hits you. And after a couple of chorus the songs just sort of trails off. Quite different and quite brilliant.
To end the album is a cover of the old Thin Lizzy tune Still In Love With You. While noticeably different to the other original material on the record, the band still manage to make it their own. A good version of an old classic.
So you don't really need to be told, but if you are a regular visitor to this page then this album requires buying. Do it now! (Or at least on the 25th, when it is released).
PRODUCTION: 95% SONGS: 92% VIBE: 94% ATTITUDE: 94%



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