DANIEL BAND - RISE UP (25th Anniversary Edition) digipak


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DANIEL BAND ?RISE UP (25th Anniversary Edition) is the 2012 Retroactive Records reissue of this legendary 1986 album from Canada?s premier Christian hard rock pioneers! Packaged in a 6 panel full color digipak with the raw tracks digitally remastered for the first ever by the immaculate J Powell from Steinhaus Studios giving the album the look and sound fitting of such a powerful and influential release! Includes the all new written and recorded bonus track exclusive to this release! For fans of Kiss, Stryper, Leviticus, Rez, and Van Halen!


ard rock and Canada go together like sunshine and sand.  Doubters need consider the regions musical history, which starts with Rush, the influential power trio that has sold more than 40 million albums worldwide in a six decade spanning career.  Triumph, another power trio with multiple gold and platinum albums, and April Wine, also achieving platinum success, deserve mention as does Frank Marino & Mahogany Rush, best known for the multi-talented front man and guitarist after which it is named.

Toronto’s Daniel Band is the first group within the Christian hard rock scene to come to mind.  No, will you not find a platinum (or gold) tradition here, but what sets Daniel Band apart is the consistency and work ethic to release five albums over a seven year span.  Starting with its polished 1982 debut On Rock, Daniel Band followed up a year later with the heavier sounds of Straight Ahead before moving on to its career defining 1984 release Run From The Darkness (in which it combined the best aspects of the first two recordings).  Rise Up, representing a return to a heavier form not unlike Straight Ahead , was initially a 1986 release but was re-mastered and re-issued on Retroactive Records in 2012 with a cover of the Darrell Mansfield classic “That’s Alright” as a bonus track.

When inviting comparison, Daniel Band’s Canadian colleagues, obviously, are the first mentioned.  Rush is often named but not accurately in that Daniel Band, with a new notable exceptions such as “Never Again” off On Rock, fails to bring the progressiveness of the renowned power trio.  Triumph and April Wine are actually the most deserving in that Daniel Band features a vocalist in Dan McCabe with a clean and pure high end style reminiscent to that of Myles Goodwyn (April Wine) and Rik Emmett (Triumph).

Musically, Daniel Band wears its Canadian hard rock influences on its sleeves in no uncertain terms.  Nowhere is this better evident than on Rise Up, perhaps the group’s most consistently heavy album front to back.  Opener “Bethel” is sledgehammer-like with its raucous qualities while “Rock You”, as aptly entitled track as you will find, delivers walls of crunchy mid-paced guitars.  “Don’t You Walk Away”, with its intricate riff emphasis, and “Fight Back”, introducing some highlighting keyboards, maintain the guitar driven focus.

When Daniel Band lightens the mood with a well conceived ballad in “Paradise” and “My Children”, it does so in class while still staying true to the albums heavier rocking proclivities.  “Rise Up” and “Right Heart” even introduced some commercial hard rock elements, which prove a foreshadowing of the direction Daniel Band would take on its fifth and final full length album from 1988, Running Out Of Time.

The “That’s Alright” cover works to perfection in that Daniel Band approaches things from a blues heavy rock standpoint, a side to the group we have not always seen in the past.

The only track in which I struggle is “Call His Name”, three and a half minutes of overbearing repetition as you will find.  It does not help that McCabe sings in a lower register by adding some heavy doses of grit and angst to his delivery.  He does the same on “Bethel” but pulls it off as a result of the music being that much of a higher quality.

McCabe’s lower key vocals almost bring to mind those of guitarist Tony Rossi, who traditionally fronts one or two songs each album and usually those heading in a heavier direction such as “Two Roads” (from On Rock) and “Walk On The Water” (Run From The Darkness).  With Rise Up it is “Don’t You Walk Away” and “Fight Back”.  He does fine on the former, although the latter with its more melodic based leanings might have worked better with McCabe’s smoother style.

Performance wise Daniel Band remains in fine form.  It starts with Rossi’s lead guitar work - his true strength - which runs the gamut of fiery and blistering (see “Rock You” and “Bethel”) to that reflecting a more emotional touch (the two ballads).  Matt Delduca, another underrated performer, is also at the top of his game with his heavy footed drumming.  Place him side by side with any timekeeper from his ere and he more than holds his own.

Production, heading in the rawer and edgier direction, aligns with the heavier nature of the music at hand.  Unable to comment on mastering since I do not own the Rise Up/Running Out Of Time 2-for-1 Retroactive re-issue from 2003 and no longer have a working turntable for the vinyl version I purchased back in the day.  Still, mastering technician J Powell has a reputation for quality, which is reflected in the all around clean and crisp sound here.

Rise Up might not represent Daniel Band’s best effort, but it holds up with plenty of classic tracks in addition to the talented duo of McCabe and Rossi, who always work best when together as opposed to apart (reflected in the side projects of the two outside Daniel Band, which while far from bad are not quite on the same level).  Also credit Retroactive for not only making Rise Up available again but also for its ability to put out a professional product in terms of mastering and packaging.

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