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Dare - 'Calm Before The Storm 2' http://rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/05/aa/0c/3130_DareCalmBeforeTheStorm2_1356917374.jpg Hot

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A collection of songs I've fallen in love with all over again.

Completely re-recording a classic album is always a risky move, but is becoming more prevalent these days. Originally released back in 1999 on MTM Music, ‘Calm Before The Storm’ was the first Dare album since the heavier ‘Blood From Stone’ seven years before, and also the first to feature the more Celtic-orientated lighter approach which has become the Dare trademark. Main-man Darren Wharton acquired the masters to the original album and decided that a new version would be more beneficial than a re-release, and I don’t want to go too much into the reasons for the re-recording here - see my interview with Darren elsewhere in this issue for the full explanation. However, I can totally understand that many fans (me amongst them) would prefer to get a brand new album rather than new versions of old songs, especially as Dare records tend to come round as often as the Olympic Games these days, but the main benefit for Wharton with this version is that he will now reap the financial benefits for his songs, which is something I can fully appreciate.

Inevitably, the production is a major improvement, but then it HAD to be, otherwise the re-recording would have been a lost cause. It’s now much clearer and sharper, giving a completely fresh approach to the majesty of the classics like ‘Walk On The Water’, ‘Someday’, ‘Silence Of Your Head’ and the epic title-track. Another plus-point is the wonderful contribution of guitarist Richard Dews. Although he co-wrote many of the songs, he only played acoustic guitar first time around, but now has the opportunity to perform his parts the way they were originally intended, and the fresher production has given the guitar a much more vibrant sound. Darren’s son Paris also chips in with several solo parts.

Fireworks - The Ultimate Magazine For Melodic Rock Music

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Song-wise, the new versions don’t stray too far from the originals. Many are now a little shorter in length, but without any detrimental effect, and are lighter on the keyboards as the guitar is now much more prominent. Also some of the vocal lines differ slightly, and there are more background vocals than before. The running order has been re-jigged slightly, and this time around there is no room for Darren’s version of the Thin Lizzy classic ‘Still In Love With You.’ But there are two new additions, the moody ‘Cold Wind Will Blow’ originally only appeared on the European Limited Edition of the album, while the gloriously uplifting melodic rocker ‘Precious’ is an old B-side from the ‘Out Of The Silence’ days, and is a worthy addition to this release.

Although I’ve always loved the songs on ‘Calm Before The Storm’, I never gave it anywhere as much airplay as the subsequent releases ‘Belief’ and ‘Arc Of The Dawn’ simply because of the below-par production. Now this new version matches the sonic quality of the more recent Dare output, it’s a collection of songs I’ve fallen in love with all over again.

Ant Heeks

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