Among fans of AOR melodic rock Britain's Dare, formed by vocalist and keyboard player Darren Wharton (Thin Lizzy), has a legendary status, one that blurs line between cult and mystical. Every album they're released has been exceptional, receiving critical acclaim. But Dare's albums were not easy to get, especially here in the the states. Then there was 1998's Calm Before the Storm which was only released in Europe. But now Wharton has gained the rights to the album.
Here's the bottom line: the album in review is basically that first album, completely re-recorded, with two previously unreleased. Call in Calm Before the Storm II + 2. If you have the original you will love this as it sounds both familiar, quintessential Wharton and Dare, and fresh, with new life breathed into every track. For the uninitiated, it's more than a great introduction; it will likely cause you track down other available Dare albums.
Darren Wharton's sound melodic rock arrangements and smooth passionate vocals define most every Dare recording. Yet he's complimented by longtime partner, guitarist Richie Dews, whose work adds sharpness and blister to the AOR foundation. This combination is most impressive on Crown of Thorns and Rescue Me. Yet for something more subtle that displays Wharton's smooth, sometimes sultry, vocal style choose Precious, Silence Of Your Head, or Ashes, by example.
By very definition, Dare and Calm Before the Storm is quintessential AOR melodic rock. It's hard to find better. Easily recommended.