Due to the fact the day only have 24 ours (where most of those are reserved for sleep, eating, work and family and friends activities) I have to narrow down the reviews that comes my way. So, live albums, compilation albums and re-recordings usually falls by the way-side. But sometimes, there are albums that I feel I must review anyway so there have been a couple of live records reviewed here. And here comes the first review of a re-recording on this site. Why? Well, ever since I first heard Out Of The Silence by Dare, I have loved that album. I remember it like it was yesterday. I was watching Sky Channel (that was before MTV was at every household in Sweden) at my then girlfriend’s house when Dare’s debut single “Abandon” was played. I even remember the female VJ saying “…and girls, check out the lead singer…”. I was floored, my not so much Hard Rock loving then girlfriend was floored (yes, she dug the lead singer’s looks…) and I knew I had to have that record – yesterday. When all that happened, I had no idea who that lead singer was.
Dare was founded in 1988 by former Thin Lizzy keyboard player Darren Wharton who combined lead vocals and keyboards and guitar player Vinny Burns (later in Ten) with addition of bass player Martin Shelton, drummer James Ross and keyboardist Brian Cox, a line-up that would change many times over the years. But already by second album, 1991’s Blood From Stone, Dare had change towards a much heavier sound, a sound that fit in more with the musical soundscape of the early 90’s and after that album, they went in a more laid-back, melancholic sound with lots and lots off Celtic influences. In my world, Dare would never be as great as on their debut even though they never released a bad album. But with the return of Burns in 2008, who left the band in 1992, Dare slowly started to take glimpses back to their more AOR-oriented sound and their latest album, Sacred Ground (2016) was to me their best album since the underrated Blood From Stone.
Marking the 30th anniversary of the release of Out Of The Silence, the band – Wharton, Burns, Nigel Clutterbuck on bass (he was in the band between 91-92), drummer Kevin Whitehead and keyboardsman Marc Roberts, both in the band since 2006 – decided to re-record said album. The reason for that is, of course, economy. Since the members don’t own the rights to original recordings, they don’t make any money off just a rerelease, something a rerecording will correct. But a rerecording is always a big risk, it’s very rare that a rerecording will better than – or even equal to – the quality of the original, so to mess with a record that is loved by many and in this case, has grown into a real classic, isn’t always the smartest way to go. If you’re unlucky, you’ll be remembered as the band that fucked up your true classic record – and no one wants that, right? However, I have always had some issues with the original’s production and was keen to hear what the boys had done here.
Opener and first single “Abandon” is a bit more upbeat and tough than the original, otherwise it’s the same catchy and intoxicating AOR number as we’re used to – and it’s as awesome as ever. To me, this is the tune that should have made Dare superstars back when. Why “Into The Fire” wasn’t released as a single is beyond me as it’s a tune that holds a refrain stickier than super-glue. There’s not a whole lot of difference here to the original, it always had a great groove and here it’s a bit more punchy – and it’s still a killer. Speaking of hits, if “Abandon” didn’t make superstars then the power ballad of all power ballads “Nothing Is Stronger Than Love” should have. If you don’t get this refrain glued to your brain after one listen, you don’t have a sense of melody. Sure, many might find it cheesy but to me it’s contagious. This doesn’t differ much either, it only sounds a bit fatter. Pure brilliance!
The uptempo rocker “Runaway” is a bit more guitar-driven and rough than the original which suits it very well. Other than that, I can’t hear that much of a difference. The epic ballad “Under The Sun” has gotten a heavier and more pompous treatment here and the tune sounds even more bombastic than the original, again something that suits the song very well. I actually prefer this version. Great! “The Raindance” was always my favourite song on the record and it still is. On this version the Celtic influences are a bit more obvious which makes for an even bigger Thin Lizzy influence here. Once again, this suits this tune splendidly – what an amazing version this is. And speaking of Lizzy, the biggest change was given to the Philip Lynott tribute “King Of Spades”. First of all, this version is longer as they have added the big Celtic guitar solo break of Lizzy’s “Black Rose” at the end of the song, something that apparently was recorded on the original but was cut off. A mistake, I say because I think the song is bettered by it. Also, the over-all celtic vibes in the song are much more prominent here. If there’s one song that have benefitted from being rerecorded, it’s this one. Fantastic!
“Heartbreaker” is another one of the more uptempo tunes on the album and here it has been given a more Hard Rock treatment with the guitars more upfront. For a rocker of this caliber, it’s a good thing. It was never my favourite song on the record but it’s still a really good one. “Return The Heart” (once rerecorded as “I Will Return” on 2009’s Arc Of The Dawn) is also true to the original but again, the Celtic influences are a bit more prominent here. It’s a slow song but it always had a swing to it, a swing that hasn’t got lost on this version. A brilliant song on the debut and a brilliant song here. Closing ballad, the epic “Don’t Let Go” is a bit more orchestrated here and bigger in sound. It’s also somewhat heavier but it’s still not heavy. The melancholy of the original is still here and the over-all saddening and dark feel is also kept. A great version of a great song.
So, did Dare get away with rerecording what is looked upon as their masterpiece then? I would say they did. Not only did they get away with it, they also did a damn fine job doing so. Sure, some will probably say this is sacrilege and that they should have left it alone and sure, it’s impossible to recreate the feeling of the original – the album was written and recorded in 1988 for 1988 – and it’s really hard to better that. But they way I see it, some albums back in the 80’s had their flaws, mostly in the production department and there are albums I’d like to see given a new go. Stryper’s In God We Trust (1988). Europe’s The Final Countdown (1986) and Out Of This World (1988). Treat’s Dreamhunter (1987). Vinnie Vincent Invasion’s self titled debut from 1986. They’re all albums that are poorly produced but with great songs that should benefit from a big update.
Out Of The Silence belongs in that category and even though the original will always have a special place in my heart, I think the songs have all benefited from a fatter, more dynamic and less sterile production. Also Darren Wharton’s voice is stronger today – he’s singing out loud more and the whispery way in which he sung back then isn’t at all as prominent anymore – a good thing, I think. Would I recommend this album to any AOR fan out there? You bet. Would I chose this album over the original? Nope. But I sure would want both of them in my collection and even though I will play the original more, I’m sure gonna listen to this version repeatedly as well. Because I think this is an AOR masterpiece no matter what version is coming through my speakers.
More Dare reviews:
2. Into The Fire
3. Nothing Is Stronger Than Love
5. Under The Sun
6. The Raindance
7. King Of Spades
9. Return The Heart
10. Don’t Let Go