Release Date: July 15th, 2016
Darren Wharton, Vocals & Keyboards,
Vinny Burns, Guitars,
Kevin Whitehead, Drums,
Nigel Clutterbuck, Bass,
- I’ll Hear You Pray
- Every Time We Say Goodbye
- Days Of Summer
- On My Own
- All Our Brass Was Gold
- You Carried Me
- Like The First Time
- Along The Heather
Since their inception in the mid late to late eighties ‘Dare’ formed by Thin Lizzy keyboardist and songwriter ‘Darren Wharton’, and guitarist ‘Vinny Burns’, had huge success with their debut album ‘Out Of The Silence’ released in 1989. It is still regarded as one of the top AOR albums of all time. Whilst this did not propel them to the global heights that they thoroughly deserved (although Dr Brian Cox seems to have done quite well out of it all), the performances on stage, where they really shine, is a major reason why the band are still here today. They effortlessly seem to be able to write and perform one anthemic track after the other.
Six studio albums later and the 15th of July will see the release of ‘Sacred Ground’. The much anticipated release will be the bands 7th studio album (check the small 7 marker on the cover art) and promises to be just as much of a huge hit as their debut ‘Out Of The Silence’ was.
The first thing to be said about ‘Sacred Ground’ is that you only need one listen to be hooked. There is no need to warm to the music, the hook is instant. From the gravelly tones of Darren Wharton’s vocal to the haunting yet warm guitar tones from Vinny Burns. The songwriting is mature and strong with the ever haunting and heartrending ‘I’ll Hear You Pray’ with lyrics like ”If I Die Before I Wake ,Lay A Rose On My Grave, And I’ll Hear You Pray” .This is truly a magical song which will have you foot tapping whilst you reach for the tissues to dry your crying eyes!
‘Strength’ starts with a soothing piano and husky tones of Darren’s voice before again showcasing the haunting tones of Vinny’s guitar, while the harmonies and rhythm are held together to perfection.
‘Every Time We Say Goodbye’ is another tune that not only pulls at your heart, it tugs it out before cradling it with the affection of a newborn before replacing it and soothing you to sleep. This showcases the magnificent and thought provoking songwriting skills of Darren Wharton. The album is written with the maturity one would expect of a band of their pedigree and every track feels as anthemic as the last. Vinny Burns guitar work on the album is sublime and often mesmerising. His time in Dare and Ten should have resulted in him being seen as one of the leading guitar players in the world. Those that know his skills would attest to his capabilities in a heartbeat yet internationally he’s such an underrated guitarist. Albums like this allow him the room to let it all flow with belief and passion and he delivers one smashing solo after the other. The only time Vinny has a break is on the last track ‘Along The Heather’ where the lead guitar is handled by Darren’s very own son Paris.
‘Sacred Ground’ could well be the very best ‘Dare’ album to date; it is that good! From the songwriting and production to the delivery, everything about this album is immaculate. So stand up and take a bow guys you have done yourselves proud, an outstanding album which will stand the test of time and still be a monster for generations to come.
Review: Shane Bradley