Review: Dare – Sacred Ground – Legend Records – Release: July 15th, 2016.
The first time I saw and heard Dare was on the ‘Out of this World’ tour from Europe. Dare was the opening act and they blew me away. The day after I ran to the record shop and got me a copy of ‘Out Of The Silence’. That album is still one of my all-time favourite AOR discs. The second album “Blood From Stone” was much heavier and after that album Darren joined Thin Lizzy again and the band was put on hold. When Dare returned to the scene they had altered their sound to a more ear friendly passionate soft rock. A couple of years ago original string teaser Vinny Burns returned to the nest and now they have released their seventh album called “Sacred Ground”.
Darren Wharton – Vocals & Keyboards
Vinny Burns – Guitars
Kevin Whitehead – Drums
Nigel Clutterbuck – Bass
Marc Roberts – Keys (live)
‘Home’ starts very promising with some acoustic guitar and a short but very sensitive solo from Vinny. When Darren slides in with his warm voice you know you’re in for a treat. The way Darren sings makes the sun shine in the living room, even when it’s raining cats and dogs outside. Vinny’s melodic guitar is all over the place here and gives this song a rocking vibe.
Dare has followed the path of smooth songs with a Celtic feel since the third album “Calm Before The Storm”. Most of the songs are in that same format. But I immediately fell in love with those softer tunes. ‘I’ll Hear You Pray’ is the perfect example of a song that comes from the heart. With Vinny back in the line-up the songs are spiced with amazing melodic and sensitive guitar sounds.
On ‘Strength’ the guitar is more present and the piano delivers a very nice contrast.
What I like the most about this collection of songs is the fact that Vinny is very lavish with his solos. Lend your ears to the magnificent ‘Days Of Summer’ or the slightly heavier ‘On My Own’ and you’ll hear Vinny deliver the goods. His playing makes you think about that superb debut album.
‘Until’ simply breaths Ireland and the Celtic sounds are the ultimate relaxing therapy!
The symbiosis between the enchanting voice of Darren and the mellifluous, sometimes mesmerizing guitar from Vinny makes this the ultimate album to enjoy when lying on the sofa and sipping a glass of wine!
The others tracks on the album are all in the same vein and make you smile from ear to ear. The songwriting is simply stunning and all tracks are instant likes as well.
I’ll refill my glass and have another listen! Life can be beautiful!
Darren has written an album that oozes passion. His voice is pure heaven and the sensitive guitar solos bring tears to my eyes. Every fan will cherish this disc and it surely was worth the seven years of waiting. This album belongs to the collection of every AOR fan. I can’t wait to see the band live at work! Strongly recommended!
Score: 4,5 out of 5
2. I’ll Hear You Pray
4. Every Time We Say Goodbye
5. Days Of Summer
7. On My Own
8. All Our Brass Was Gold
9. You Carried Me
10. Like The First Time
11. Along The Heather
Text by: Rik Bauters