I have been fortunate enough to see Dare Force perform live once. They opened for the almighty Impaler back in September of 2018 (check out my full review here!). I remember them not being quite my thing (a little too dated for my liking) but also remember loving how true to their sound and look that they were. Sure, their vintage 80’s hard rock sound wasn’t quite for me but I was captivated by all of the players on stage throughout their opening set. I don’t know what I will get with this debut solo album from guitarist/ vocalist Johnny O’Neil, but I do expect beefy energy and lots of 80’s glam metal influence. Let’s dig in, shall we?
As soon as “Snake In The Grass” kicked this album off, I knew I was going to get just what I expected. This opening track pumped through my speakers with a calculated amount of muscle. It’s loud and strong but not fast or chaotic. It’s the way metal and hard rock used to be before the game changed to how fast and crazy can you play. The steady beat is driving and the chugging guitars on top just help move the song along. The sound instantly took me back to that fateful night at First Avenue when I saw Dare Force and just solidified what I said in my review of that fateful night- Dare Force (in this case a member of ) is so true to their sound that it’s impressive and impossible to not fall in love.
“Comin’ For You” continues with the driving beat but brings a more classic 80’s hair metal sound to the forefront. Think White Snake but with a whole lot more heart and integrity, I loved this track and it was an instant favorite of mine. This is one of the longer tracks on the album at right around five and a half minutes long but a ripping guitar solo about halfway through keeps this song flying by and, before I knew it, “Tell Me What You Think You Know” had taken over my house. Although still a powerful track, the tempo on this one drags to the perfect pace for a track that really packs a punch. There’s something a bit darker in the instrumentation of this one that I loved and really hope to hear more of throughout the rest of this album.
Instead of staying on that dark side, things brighten up for “Down And Around”. Honestly, this track is so bright that I was a bit shocked and had to make sure it was still Johnny O’Neil (it is, don’t worry). This track almost brings a psychedelic 70’s feeling into the mix that I didn’t think would fit but somehow fits perfectly. The guitars are still wailing throughout this song and the drums are as steady as they come but the vocals take a turn from 80’s hard rock to an almost Aerosmith sound. I was captivated and was a little bummed as the record continued playing and rolled into “Ode To Mark” but the beauty that this track has was more than enough to keep any disappointment at bay. This instrumental track is a perfect cleanser and was the perfect lead in to “Temple”.
“Temple” was another instant favorite of mine. Although back to the powerful sound that Johnny O’Neil and his band does so well, there’s a sensitive nature to this one that I could listen to all night. It’s a ballad-like track with a somber story but a power in it that all molds together to create a brilliant track. The energy and sound build perfectly in “Temple” until it comes to a peak as “Red Suns In The Sky” takes over. This track definitely goes back to the beefy sound in the first couple of tracks. I found myself just sitting there and taking it all until I was rudely taken to a whole other world for “Revolution”.
Yes, Johnny O’Neil- from Dare Force- has a cover of The Beatles’ “Revolution” on this album and it seriously couldn’t be more perfect. It’s not 80’s hard rock but it’s also not an identical cover. This song has always been a favorite of mine and I’ve heard a lot of different renditions of it but this one is hands down the best. I listened to this one a few times before I could bring myself to listen to the last track.
“World Run Amuck” ends this album with the power it started with. Dizzying guitar parts, driving drums– this song is the epitome of Johnny O’Neil and his brilliant guitar playing making it the perfect ending to a great debut album from this legendary musician.
My Favorite Track(s): “Comin’ For You”; “Temple”
For Fans Of: 80’s Hard Rock; Brilliant Guitar Playing; POwer
Mosh-ability: 5out of 10
What My Cats Thought Of It: Artie laid right under my desk; Autumn ate dinner
How Badly I Want To See This Performed Live: 7 out of 10
My Overall Rating: 7.3 out of 10
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