|Musical Style: Hard Rock||Produced By: Daniel Band|
|Record Label: Retroactive||Country Of Origin: Canada|
|Year Released: 2006||Artist Website:|
|Tracks: 11||Rating: 85%|
|Running Time: 43:54|
Canada’s Daniel Band hit its stride in 1984 with its excellent third full length outing Run From The Darkness. Combining the polished production values of its 1982 debut On Rock with the guitar driven heaviness of its 1983 follow up effort Straight Ahead, the album proves nothing less than a superior work which deserves to rank with the finest Christian metal/hard rock releases of its era. What ultimately setsRun From The Darkness apart from its two predecessors, however, is the strength of its songwriting in that it captures the musical consistency Daniel Band strove for but could not quite capture on On Rock and Straight Ahead. “Don’t Give Up” and “Walk On The Water” stand out as two upbeat hard rockers, while the albums stunning title track moves in a more melodic hard rock direction. “Live Connection”, the albums fastest cut, almost borders on speed metal and stands in stark contrast to the dark and moody feel that “Walls” brings to the table. The power ballad “It’s Over” ends the album in very fine fashion.
Bassist Dan McCabe's melodic flavored classic tenor voice continues to remain a smooth and clean sounding presence. Toni Rossi contributes a profusion of skillfully done lead guitar work that best stands out on tracks such as “Don’t Give Up” and “Live Connection”. Bill Findlay rounds out the mix on rhythm guitar in addition to filling in on keyboards. Drummer Matt Del Duca, who replaced Peter Cosman following the release of On Rock, is an outstanding timekeeper who deserves to rate with the likes of Robert Sweet (Stryper), Mark Welling (Bloodgood) and Kjell Andersson (Leviticus).
Combining big-budget-like sonics with a near perfect mix, production values stand as a strength of the project. The rhythm guitar sounds full and crisp, while the lead guitar and bass evenly rise above the instrumentation. The drums pack the needed punch and power.
The album cover, featuring a dark photo of the band with an anti-666 logo in the background, lacks originality. It would have worked better if the cover reflected the "run from the darkness" theme by utilizing a medieval or high fantasy setting similar to that used by Seventh Avenue, Blind Guardian or Rhapsody. Just a thought.
Run From The Darkness only came out on the vinyl and cassette formats when it was released in 1984. In 2003 the album was re-issued on CD by Retroactive Records along with Straight Ahead onto one disc. Once the 2003 re-issue went out of print, Retroactive again re-issued it but with two bonus tracks - “My Children” and “In The Sky” - from the bands 1980 demo tape in addition to the video the band produced for the track “Walk From The Water”.
After "Don't Give Up" commences to a slowly moving but metal flavored mix of rhythm guitar and pounding drums, it kicks into high gear and advances through its first verse with a ton of upbeat momentum. Keyboards enter the mix in time to highlight a catchy chorus with an encouraging message:
Hang on tight now
Lean upon the Saviour
And don't give up now
He's gonna make it better
Rossi nails a blistering solo before the song slows in as McCabe talks about victory in the life of a Christian:
The Word of God will give you strength
Prayer can take you any length
The people of God can help you win
The Holy Spirit to us is given
Keyboards open the albums title track as the rhythm guitar fades in and out of the mix, the song immediately launching into its smooth sounding chorus before a near perfect mix of rhythm guitar and keyboards carries the verse that follows. Rossi displays a softer side to his playing with a very well done melodic based guitar solo backed by McCabe's punchy bass. Beautiful song.
Toni Rossi brings his raspy vocal delivery to the excellent hard rocker "Walk On The Water". Subsequent to starting slowly, a sledgehammer heavy guitar riff takes over and drives the song with a plethora of energy to a resounding chorus delivered in good hard hitting fashion. Rossi also nails several seconds of stylish lead guitar work over Del Duca's pounding drums. As its title implies, "Walk On The Water" is based around Matthew 14:25-33:
The disciples were rowin'
On Lake Galilee
But a strong wind was blowin'
This Jesus could see
So He walked out on the water
Peter did the same
But he trusted no longer
And sank in his shame
So if you're sinkin'
Have faith in His name
Walk on the water...
Getting underway to a quietly played guitar passage, “Never Gonna Die” abruptly picks up in pace and proceeds through its first verse in upbeat fashion. Synthesizers accentuate the mix before the song tapers off for a good melodic flavored chorus. I wish the band had expanded upon an instrumental break limited to a few seconds of rhythm guitar.
After "Sixteen" begins to a cheering audience underscored by a crunchy rhythm guitar, the crowd noise disappears as Rossi takes on lead vocal duties at the start of its first verse. McCabe bass guitar moves to the front of the mix during the second before "Sixteen" advances on an energy laden chorus delivered at an upbeat tempo.
Kicking in to a drum solo and several seconds of fast paced riffing, "Live Connection" slows at the start of its first verse before proceeding to a sharp sounding chorus backed by vocal harmonies. Rossi is all over the place with his fast paced lead guitar, topping things off with a fiery guitar solo. "Live Connection" talks about making the correct decision for Christ:
Live connection - it's a brand new spark in a life that needs correction
Live connection - turn right around and face a new direction
Live connection - darkness changed to light
Give up all your philosophies
And face a new direction
It leads you to a wooden cross
The only live connection
Once a choppy rhythm guitar propels "Let's Get Ready" at a slower more mid-tempo pace through its first verse, Del Duca's pounding drums move to the front of the mix to shore up a strong hook filled chorus. Rossi's lightning-like leads introduce a minute and a half long instrumental passage that culminates as tight sounding rhythm guitar harmony is carried over a powerful drum sound. The focus of "Let's Get Ready" is on the need for salvation:
Are you grabbin'
For all you can
You'll end up havin'
No man's land
So give your life to
The Son of Man
And we will find you
In the Promised Land
"Walls" takes off to an anthemic double bass driven riff that after several seconds is backed by synthesizers. Slowing to a crunchy rhythm guitar for its first verse, "Walls" picks up in pace for a chorus with a good catchy hook. Repeating the same pattern for its third and fourth verse, "Walls" moves on to a minute long instrumental passage carried by a near perfect blend of guitar and keyboards backed by more double bass. "Walls" makes a valid point:
Man is not fully complete
Oh no, without the spiritual...
The album closes to a very well done power ballad in "It's Over". The piano taking “It’s Over” through its first verse is underlined by a touch of keyboards during the second, the song picking up in pace as it attains an emotionally charged chorus that ends to a nice edgy rhythm guitar. "It's Over" proceeds at an upbeat tempo until it culminates by asking several relevant question:
Oh, and what would you say
If He came to you now
And He claimed He was the only Way?
Would you say "I believe"
Or would you just walk away?
The time has come to chose...
The song ends the way it began to the sound of a piano.
The two tracks from the bands 1980 demo sound a bit rough in terms of their production values but do a good job of highlighting the bands talent. “My Children”, which eventually was recorded by Daniel Band for its 1986 release Rise Up, is a catchy hard rock power ballad, while “In The Sky” is an up-tempo hard rocker with a terrific guitar solo from Rossi.
Run From The Darkness adds up to seven great songs and two that are very good; however, at only 34 minutes the album is a bit on the short side. On the other hand, it is the quality and not necessarily the quantity that counts. And without a doubt, Run From The Darkness delivers more than its share of quality in standing the test of time as a nothing less than a great hard rock album.
Review by: Andrew Rockwell
Track Listing: “Don’t Give Up” (3:51), “Run From The Darkness” (4:43), “Walk On The Water” (3:39), “Never Gonna Die” (3:43), “Sixteen” (3:08), “Live Connection” (2:50), “Let’s Get Ready” (4:21), “Walls” (3:57), “It’s Over” (4:16)
Dan McCabe – Lead Vocals, Bass & Keyboards
Tony Rossi – Guitars, Lead Vocals & Synthesizers
Bill Findlay – Rhythm Guitar, Synthesizers & Bass
Matt Del Duca – Drums & Percussion