Dare – “Out Of The Silence II” (Legend Records)
It’s fitting that this is on Legend Records cos Dare are nothing short of being legendary themselves! Formed by ex Thin Lizzy keyboardist Darren Wharton back in 1988, Dare broke big immediately, getting signed to A&M for a 4 year album deal, resulting in this incredible debut which is still regarded as one of the great AOR releases during that era. Now, some 30 years on, Wharton and longtime guitarist Vinnie Burns (Asia, Ultravox, FM) have decided to revisit the album and completely re-record it, but this time giving the 10 tracks a harder and rockier sound than the original version! Right from the off, it’s pretty clear that this time round, the guitars are more prominent in the mix and Burns (who played on the original album) really lays it down with an even better solo on ‘Nothing Is Stronger Than Love’, a ballad and still one, but this time given that rockier edge. Likewise, classics like ‘Into The Fire’, while still retaining that 80s sound especially in the synths, nevertheless sound a lot more gutsier especially when it comes to the catchy but now more ballsy chorus with Wharton’s own voice still soulful, but a tad more rugged probably due to his environs in the Welsh mountains! Really making an impression on me with 1998’s “Calm Before The Storm”, where the band started to incorporate significant Celtic influence, the early evidence of this was already being laid down on tracks like ‘The Raindance’ and ‘King Of Spades’ and both of which this time around are bolstered by even more of this potent style thanks once again to Burn’s classy and moving extended guitar work which not only manages to pay tribute to Thin Lizzy but also brings this material very much into the fold of the band’s current sound. Thoroughly enjoyable, personally I think both releases have their merit but if you’re new to the Dare, I couldn’t recommend this release highly enough.