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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%


22/12/09: Thomas - screamdod@yahoo.com
What can I say, after all this years, I got this CD now?

Two weeks ago, I was doing some cleaning, as I had need for a good, rockin' cd. The first cd I had in hands was this one.
I thought, hey, why not.
But after half the cd, I thought, now, I know why not.
Wharton has a great voice, those are good songs, in a way, but, those are not the rights songs for me anymore.
To much to chill, I would say. And, a little bit boring after all this years.

I give this cd, after the longtime-check:

50/100. Not enough for me, so I will give this CD to my mother on x-mas.

21/01/07: Paul - paul@pagrebo.com
Score this an 86/100. The weakest collection of songs in the three Dare cds since their comeback, but this is the one that started that comeback. A harder edge than BELIEF or BENEATH THE SHINING WATER. The highlights of this cd are WALK ON THE WATER, SILENCE OF YOUR HEAD, & ASHES. If you like this cd, definitely pick up the next two. If this is too mellow, avoid the next two at all costs... it just gets more mellow from here on out.

22/03/06: Jesús - jesus1es@hotmail.com
MUSIC FROM HEAVEN.My favourite song is Rising Sun.
Jesús- Granada(Spain)
Ciao¡¡

17/12/05: Melodiker - melodiker@arcor.de
One word: PERFECT !!!

Darren is the man !!!

22/11/05: George - stratigos@mycosmos.gr
This is only for those who dare to listen to true music. Magnificent!

18/10/05: darren perry - dazp777@hotmail.co.uk
a must have

18/05/05: hercules - irakliskaranikolis@yahoo.com
the greatest album of all times . try to find another band sound like this . you won't find any . the most original and unique music .

14/03/05: Robert - robfranse@hotmail.com
every songs on this album sounds great. And Nuno you are right about Strangeways, Boulevard and Signal. Those albums are also perfect. I will look for Heartland and The Storm. Thanks!

15/02/05: Claudio Carpentieri - fairyland2003@libero.it
After i've heard this record i understand why the melodies exist, and why one person can feel fine after listening to good music..........UAOOOOOOOOOOO

07/11/04: Nuno - rockneverdies@clix.pt
Hi There,
Very well singed, good melodies, but sounds the same all the time.
What can i say? if you give a high rate to this such boring record, i want to know what rate you give to this records:

Dare - out of the silence
Boulevard - into the streets
The storm - in the eye of the storm
Strangeways - walk in the fire
signal - loud and clear
heartland - s/t

... and there is much more...

regards

26/10/04: PAU - rover_bau@yahoo.it
I simply love this album and I think it's a great step in the Dare's music.
Just a thing, I was searching for the lyrics. Can someone help me?

22/10/04: Nigel James - nigeljames@blueyonder.co.uk
Nice but lacks the punch or memorable songs that the early albums had. I kept waiting for something to happen but it rarely did. Rating 75

20/07/03: christer - knudsen_christer@hotmail.com
this is whone of the best albums ever a/m whating so long four the new album!!

20/06/03: Ivar - slave2pc@hotmail.com
Best album ever! "Ashes" is my favorite, but there are no bad songs in this album. Highly recommended !!!

12/06/03: Tony - tonypape0001@hotmail.com
This is a good album, but I would give it 80%. The debut album is still the best release from Dare - they got the right mix of ballad and harder material on that.
I reckon most fans would want to hear Dare come back to the sound of the Debut.

20/04/02: Micke r - Micke_r78@hotmail.com
100% This is one of my absolute favourite records of all time. I´ts one of the best I ever heard and one of the best that is recorded.
From the first second to the last it´s so great.
Calm before the storm is a record that must be in your cd selection. Or you have a big hole in it.
A must by....

26/10/01: Dorian - dkasimati@yahoo.com
99%
One of the greatest albums I have ever heard.
Stands on the top ten of best albums ever. GREAT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

06/08/00: Robby - pusrotqgmx.de
Hi out there!
Dare is a very great band, but the new CD doesn't really rock like the two CD's before. I hope the new one will...

Long live Rock 'n'Roll

06/07/99: ALEXANDER SIEDLER - r.siedler@kabsi.at
Hi!
Ya know what? I´m 17 and I´m a hardrock/melodic/aor fan for 6 years now an "calm before the storm is the best album I´ve ever heard. It´s maybe the best album since Rock and Roll stepped into the musicscene!!!!!!!!!!!!!

31/01/99: Andrew Berry - andrew@aberry.demon.co.uk
At first I was disappointed when I heard this, because it's not as immediately attention-catching as Blood From Stone. On further listens, though, I realised that this album's brilliance lies in the atmosphere and mood changes of the songs. Each song is very well arranged, with the music building up and and bringing you down again without you really noticing the changes. In other words this album is subtle, atmospheric and extremely relaxing, while managing not to be too light - it's also very powerful. Yes, I would have loved another rocking album as good as Blood From Stone, but after listening to this album many times I can say that Darren has come up with something just as good - its brilliance simply takes a different form.
My only worry is that because the songs on this album are fairly similar in style Dare might be in danger of releasing exactly the same album later this year. I hope they manage to develop their sound a bit without changing too much, and I'd still love to hear something heavier from them if they feel the need to do something a bit different again.
Overall this is an excellent album - just don't expect a repeat of that which it follows. 10 outf

15/01/99: mike - AmyMik1016@aol.com
Rating 55
When i first heard this album i said "wait something is wrong, lets hear that again" unfortunetley nothing was wrong, the album is just sub par. It is to bad Dare was a very good band. but dont waste your money on this one

29/12/98: John - johnk@playboy.com
This album is very boring. I have no idea how this drivel is supposed to translate live, I hope they pick up the tempo and crank up the guitar a little more than they did on the album. It"s a load of keyboard driven crap. I"m disappointed, Darren.

JK

13/12/98: robin - roblove11@aol.com
dare"s 1st cd was great-comparable to maybe stage dolls, diving for pearls etc. the 2nd cd had the bryan adams rowdy rock atmosphere over it. calm before the storm, however, is incomparable. definitely, an original style of music-mood rock-with different elements inside. the vocals, intros, and melodies on this cd make it one of my favorite aor cd"s, and introduced me to this great band. dare, like harem scarem, has put out 3 releases, each with a different style, but still great.

19/11/98: dorrien phillips - dorrienp@hotmail.com
The new Dare album, well......what have they done to Walk on Water, When I first heard that track, on the B-side of some single from "Blood From Stone", I thought to myself that is the best song I have ever heard. But now for some reason Dare have toned it down and made it boring. Don"t get me wrong, I love it, but the whole new album is a throw back to "Out of the Silence", which is a superb album, but why decide to release this now. "Blood From Stone" for me had it all, and is undoubtedly the best work that Dare have done, and I would give my Right arm just to get hold of a CD of it, on the whole, great album guys, but you should have stuck to the sound of the second, and in my eyes, much superior album.

09/08/98: David Dutreuil - wait@club-internet.fr
"Out of the silence" is certainly one of the best AOR record ever.
"Calm befor the storm" was announced to be as good as this first DARE masterpiece.
Not at all. The production is very poor like 90% of the AOR releases of the 90s.
Darren Wharton's songwritting is also not as catchy as it used to be. And it seems that he has recorded 10 time
the same song. But I insist, it is really the production of this record that failed.
Yet "calm before the storm" is better than the second DARE release, but it is not difficult...
If only the AOR cuts of the 90s could sound like those of the 80s. Great budget, producers then...
"calm before the storm" is nothing but a great deception. Sad.
For information THIN LIZZY is my favorite band.


23/06/98: Mark Kennedy - mark@itsilzha.demon.co.uk
Two words - BUY THIS !!!!!!

If this is the album of old material that I heard about four or five months
ago and was supposed to be quite weak and just a precursor to a 'new' new Dare
album then I dread to think what that one's going to sound like.

A great album and a lot more in the style of "Out of the Silence"

I don't think the Lizzy connection is that dubious and musically at least
it's a lot less apparent than on the last album (apart from "Still in Love
With You")

The boy Wharton done good :-)

Stunning [and a 10/10 :-)]

23/06/98: Richard - hedlind@algonet.se
A superb comeback with a great sound!
One thing I miss though are some of the other previously unreleased songs like "If looks could kill", "The last time" and "Rideaway" among others.
But no complains!! This album is still great.

12/06/98: Marc Fevre - Kursea732@aol.com
After nearly seven years of silence, AOR powerhouse, Dare return to the scene with a new album, "Calm Before The Storm". Though at first listen, the album seems to be a true return to the melodic groundwork Dare first laid out with 1989's "Out Of The Silence", closer listening reveals that the band, (still led by former Thin Lizzy keyboardist, Darren Wharton,), have continued to develop in the ensuing years. Though not as immediately heavy as the band's second album, "Blood From Stone:, "Calm Before The Storm" still packs a pretty powerful punch in places, making it clear that though original guitarist Vinny Burns is no longer a part of this fine outfit, Dare still have what it takes to soldier on in strength.

On the whole the album is a worthy release, combing the best elements of the bands first two albums with a new sense of refinement and maturity. The resulting sound is perhaps as near a perfect marriage of muscle and melody as you are likely to get on any AOR album release these days, and this album certainly speaks well for the band's future prospects as they begin to gather steam once again.

Having said all of this, however, one question remains; namely, was this album worth the wait? The answer to this question isn't easy to come by, for while "Calm Before The Storm" is a fine album indeed, it doesn't necessarily reflect the overall growth in sound that one might expect after a seven year hiatus. Another point worth mentioning, of course, is that Dare, quite unecessarily, continue to rely on the dubious weight of Wharton's Lizzy connection. Nothing much ever really happened in the keyboard department in Lizzy - their trademark sound having had more to do with bassist/vocalist Phil Lynott and the endless line up ofhot shot guitarists that paraded through the band's ranks - so it seems rather odd that Dare would go to such lengths as to stress the Lizzy link amongst it's other fine credentials.

Still, the link is an honorable one just the same, and Dare do credit by it as witnessed by the airy remake of Lizzy's "Still In Love With You" on the new album.

When it comes down to it, there can be no question about it; Wharton and Co. have a fine comeback album on their hands here. Here's looking forward to the next one.

Hopefully we won't have to wait quite so long.

-Marc Fevre, Napa, CA.

07/06/98: Niklas - niklas.carlsson@energi.goteborg.se
It's good record, damn good one. The voice of God is finally back. And he do it in a more softer way than before.
I've just listen to this album for a week now, so it's too early to judge it.
But I personally wouldn't mind a bit tougher sound. I loved 'Blood from stone' because it really rocked.

Still it's a 8 out of 10.

04/06/98: Anders - o_anders@hotmail.com
A great comeback! The beauty of their first album is present on this one, and I like it very much. "Blood from stone" was a bit disappointing, due to the heavier sound. Now their classic sound is back though, and the songs are better than ever. Keep up the good work guys!

22/05/98: Omar - omarz@getnet.it
it'simple superb


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