Dare – ‘Sacred Ground’

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On 15 July 2016
Last modified:14 July 2016


"... an album full of memories, passion and loneliness... spiritual without being religious."

Dare, a melodic rock band hailing from Manchester and formed in 1988, have just today (Friday 15 July) released their seventh studio album – a highly anticapted release for all their fans.  I had the privilege of seeing them live when they last played Belfast, and they put on a fantastic show, so I jumped at the chance to review their latest album…

Artwork for Sacred Ground by Dare‘Home’, the first track, slides quietly through the speakers with a eerie wind blowing and gentle guitars.  Darren Wharton’s vocals are unforced and calming as he tells us the he has travelled far and wide and he wants to be home again to where he belongs.  It is an uplifting track that many travellers will be able to relate to.   ‘I’ll Hear You Pray’ is a heartfelt message to a love that he needs to reassure that he will all be there for her no matter what comes between them, including death.  The passion in Darren’s vocals are both comforting and heart breaking.  When I hear this song it brings tears to my eyes (yes I am a coppy sow [sic], as my hubby keeps telling me lol).

The lyrics to ‘Strength’ say what most of us want to tell our beloved but can’t and it’s beautifully composed. There are undertones of melancholy and pride mixed perfectly.   A very moving song with Vinny Burns’ lulling guitar pulling at the heartstrings and portraying a life full of love and support.   ‘Every Time We Say Goodbye’ is full of regret and sadness between a couple (either partners or friends) when they have to part company a beautiful ballad that say no matter what they are still together within their hearts forever.  Vinny’s guitar is haunting and subtle.

‘Days Of Summer’ is more upbeat but still reminiscent for past life experiences.  The lyrics tell us of happy memories happily recalled with a wee tinkle in the eye.  ‘Until’ brings the tempo up again as we are told about a lonely journey of a rolling stone and his music guides him along his long winding road.  ‘On My Own’ has a very celtic rock influence to it and a tribal drum beat that just makes you want to dance around naked (yes I am pagan) as he tells his love he will always hold her no matter what.  It is a really catchy upbeat song that I can’t help but sing along with.

‘All Our Brass Was Gold’ is a tiny bit heavier and darker but still looks back on experiences but with hindsight.  Filled with happy memories as the best days of our life pop into our heads.  ‘You Carried Me,, my personal favourite track, is a classic melodic rock song telling the story of a relationship of hardship and love and one always guided the other through thick and thin.  It is another hauntingly beautiful song with celtic influences.

‘Like The First Time’ tells of a woman reminiscing about a relationship as she prepares to leave and wonders what changed.  The memories of the first time as the last time happens and tears fall.  Closing track ‘Along The Heather’ is very traditionally Scottish in feel and tells of dreams of being home and holding on to what keeps one strong when far:  our dreams when we are far away from what keeps us strong.

This is an album full of memories, passion and loneliness, magnificently produced.  It is also a very spiritual without being religious.  It is heartfelt and Darren’s vocals are the best I have heard him sing ever.  The band are so  tight there is no way you slip a piece of paper through them.  This is one album I have really enjoyed reviewing and I look forward to possibly seeing them again in Belfast?

Tracklist: Home / I’ll Hear You Pray / Strength / Every Time We Say Goodbye / Days Of Summer / On My Own / Until / All Our Brass Was Gold / You Carried Me / Like The First Time / Along The Heather

Recommended listening:  You Carried Me

"... an album full of memories, passion and loneliness... spiritual without being religious."

About The Dark Queen

Good old fashioned heavy metal fan from Belfast. Hairdresser to the stars, DJ, Ulster rugby freak (SUFTUM) and JD aficionado.