DARE – Sacred Ground
The excellent albeit underrated melodic rock band that is Dare recently released the album entitled "Sacred Ground", their seventh one so far. The band consists of Thin Lizzy’s Darren Wharton (vocals and keyboards), Nigel Clutterbuck (bass), Vinnie Burns (guitars), Kevin Whitehead (drums), and Marc Roberts (keyboards). While one may be tempted to describe the album as an eighties inspired AOR affair with a strong emphasis on melody, the fact is that there is so much more to the band and its rich and beautiful musical landscape than first meets the eye.
Truth be told, I was hooked the very first time I ever listened to "Sacred Ground". Those mellow and haunting parts coupled with strong and anthem-like guitar riffs were enough to grab my attention immediately, but after listening to the album many times over it dawned on me just how great and clever the arrangements are, how naturally it all just seems to flow together, and how solid the whole thing is from start to finish. Wharton’s voice has a poetic and emotionally charged tone to it, which obviously enhances the otherworldly mood of each and every track. The warm and organic sound (or production, if you will) enhances the Celtic leanings of songs such as "Until" and "Home" while Vinnie Burn’s solos have depth and substance to them. The stuff that he is pulling off is amazing. These guys never once show off anywhere on the album – it is clearly all about what serves the song. You get introspective ballads and majestic-sounding rock songs, all of which are a joy to listen to.
From my perspective, "Sacred Ground" is the best Dare album to see the light of day yet. Whether you are into melodic (hard) rock, folk rock, Celtic music, or just quality music in general, "Sacred Ground" is for you.