Release Date: March 30, 2010
Catalog Number: RAR7897
Style: Rock/Hard Rock
Packaging: 4 panel jewel case
ABOUT THE ALBUM
In 1982 Daniel Band burst on the scene with their song “I’m Sorry”, the lead single from their debut album, On Rock. Daniel Band was one of the very first hard rock/metal bands with a Christian message. This debut was raw and full of energy that expanded the scope of hard music in the church. In 1982, there were 4 hard rock bands with a Christian message that could be found in your local bookstore. There was Jerusalem, Rez Band, Petra, Barnabas - and now Daniel Band. Christian rockers thought they’d found pure gold in Daniel Band. With those Geddy Lee (Rush) vibes and the wild and dirty guitar tones (ala Ted Nugent, early Kiss, AC/DC) throughout the album, fans knew they had something special with On Rock.
This 2010 Collector’s Edition has been digitally remastered (far better than the 2001 reissue on Magdalene Records) and features two brand new songs, “It All Turns To Rain” and “I Give You All”, recorded by the band in 2009 specifically for this special release! To commemorate this classic album, retroactive Records asked Christian hard rock/metal historian Keven Crothers (White Throne Blog) to reflect on the significance of this historic album in the liner notes. Long out of print and hard-to-find, now is your chance to capture the hard edged charm of the debut release from Daniel Band on this Collector’s Edition release. On Rock has never sounded or looked better!
*White Throne Blog: “On Rock is powerful rock n roll that glorifies Jesus without hesitation.....Make no mistake, fans of Bachman Turner Overdrive, Foghat and April Wine should eat On Rock for breakfast.”
WHITE THRONE BLOG REVIEW
Daniel Band was one of the first Hard Rock bands with a Christian message. Their 1982 release On Rock was added to the pedigree of other bands of the same ilk; namely Resurrection Band, Jerusalem, Barnabas and Petra. The first single was probably their trademark song “I’m Sorry.” Commercial in appeal but progressive in attitude many thought initially they might be an alternative for fellow Canadians Rush.
There are several other songs that fall into that category such as ‘Never Again’ or perhaps ‘Undercover Christian.’ Yet for the most part Daniel Band played a driving blues based 70’s/80’s hard rock. Most of that is already known for those who’ve been around the block a few times within Christian music circles.
Well Retroactive Records in collaboration with Daniel Band and J.Powell at Steinhaus have re-mastered this classic release. Re-mastered is the operative word here because the re-mastering process has produced a sensational rendition of this album. I’ve owned my vinyl copy of On Rock since 1984 and it never sounded this warm. The added depth and warmth he has brought to On Rock is to be commended. He mentioned to me “My main goal was just to make it sound as much like I remember it originally sounding as possible. But of course with modern CD volumes.”
I commended him on a job well done and I would heartily recommend this re-issue to you. Better quality than the highly over compressed M8 re-issue of 2001. This album is now allowed to breathe and rock hard. Even with production values more akin to the late 70’s/earlier 80’s it still has that edge and for some of us who were alive back then a chance to hear history improved and updated a bit.
Dan McCabe’s vocals soar like a bird and his bass guitar never sounded this smooth or big. Toni Rossi’s guitar solos scream with clarity and intensity not heard on the original vinyl. Bill Finley’s keyboards are full sounding with depth, and atmosphere. Pete Cosman's drum performance is probably one the most enhanced elements here. You can really hear what he’s playing and the drums drive with better tonality and punch.
There are two new bonus tracks, much akin to rock n roll with a nod toward the worship side of things. Good songs that are a nice reminder that the boys from the Great White North can still rock n roll. Thanks guys.
On Rock is powerful rock n roll that glorifies Jesus without hesitation. This is the type of stuff that defines rock n roll evangelism with energy and urgency. Make no mistake, fans of Bachman Turner Overdrive, Foghat and April Wine should eat On Rock for breakfast.
NO LIFE TIL METAL REVIEW
Emerging from Toronto Canada, Daniel Band were one of the pioneers of hard ‘n heavy Christian music, along with Resurrection Band, Barnabas, and to a lesser degree Petra. "On Rock" was originally recorded as an independent release by the band with Rez’s Glenn Kaiser and Roger Heiss co-producing. The album was picked up for distribution through Lamb & Lion Records and the record made some waves in Christian circles.
While the album was released in 1982, the music is squarely based in the 1970’s hard rock sound. Daniel Band had a sound not unlike fellow Canadian’s Triumph. For the most part "On Rock" has a raw, rock and roll production that actually adds to the overall appeal of this album. Unfortunately in the early 80’s many hard rock and metal band’s albums suffered from squeaky clean productions that stripped the rock and roll right out of the band. That is not the case here. However, despite the crunchy guitars and raw edge, the mix is also not muddy like many 70’s releases.
The stars of the show here are guitarist Tony Rossi and vocalist/bassist Dan McCabe. McCabe has a clean, high singing voice that would match fellow Canadians Triumph, Rush and April Wine. Rossi offers a lot of fiery guitar work. His style is rooted in the 70’s; bluesy, straight forward hard rock with slick guitar solos. The band is backed by rhythm guitarist Bill Findlay and drummer Peter Cosman. Together Daniel Band create a solid hard rock platter.
Of course, Daniel Band’s focus was on their lyrics, which are straight up Christian based. Much of the lyrics are directed towards Christians and proper living. "Undercover Christian", for instance, is a song encouraging Christians not to hide their faith from the world. "Two Roads" warns about being a casual Christian. "Spiritual Game” also encourages Christians to live a life that is above board and blameless. "He’s The Creator" tackles the creation vs. evolution theory. Then there are the more evangelistic songs that preach a crucified and risen Christ to a dying world such as "I Like to Rock" and "You Don’t Need the Blues" and "Somebody Loves You".
Unfortunately "On Rock" has been out of print for many years. The first official CD pressing was in 2001 on Magdalene Records, which featured new artwork and a bonus CD featuring a one hour interview with McCabe, Rossi and Findlay. The 2010 pressing on Retroactive Records restores the original artwork and adds two new bonus tracks that were recorded in 2009. The two new tracks stay stylistically very close to the album tracks. Of course, the more modern production is most evident. However, considering most bonus tracks are usually crappy demo tracks, it’s nice to have some bonus tracks that actually sound as good as, if not better than, the actual album. Rossi shows he still has chops on these new tracks as well. His guitar solo on the melodic "It All Turns to Rain" is far more accomplished than anything on the "On Rock" album. The album finishes off with a wonderful, emotional, acoustic worship track titled "I Give You All".
HARD ROCK HAVEN REVIEWS
When you think about the early Christian rock and metal bands, it’s usually popular bands like Stryper or Whitecross that come to mind, but in the early 1980s it was bands like Petra, Jerusalem, Resurrection Band and Canada’s Daniel Band that were blazing the trail. At that point, mixing rock and roll music with a Christian message was a bold and controversial choice, and Daniel Band did it quite well.
Daniel Band issued their first album – On Rock – in 1982. Like most of their peers in the Contemporary Christian Music (CCM) scene, Daniel Band’s style was highly reflective of their more popular secular counterparts. Since it was the early ‘80s and they were a Canadian band, that meant April Wine, Triumph and Rush. Now those bands were all on top of their game at the time, so imitating them isn’t really a bad call. With On Rock, Daniel Band was delivering a version of hard rock that was melodic and commercially accessible, but with plenty of musical chops and an unwavering faith. Band leader Daniel McCabe was a steady hand at bass, but also provided a steady, higher-octave voice that brought comparisons to Rush’s Geddy Lee. Guitarist Tony Rossi was the perfect counterpart to McCabe, delivering both memorable hooks and some knockout solos.
Album opener “He’s the Creator” is a dead ringer for Rush’s “Working Man” and “Two Roads” sounds a LOT like Ted Nugent’s “Cat Scratch Fever.” The rest of the album sounds like Christian versions of April Wine and Triumph songs. It’s all good stuff, but they don’t exactly get points for originality.
Retroactive Records’ 2010 reissue of On Rock features digitally remastered sound and a pair of bonus tracks. The remastered audio is the real draw of this reissue, as it was very well done, but the bonus tracks – a pair of rare demos from 1980 – are also well worth hearing. The first – “At All Turns to Rain” is a rocking number with some great layered vocals and the second – “I Give You All” – is a sing-along praise tune that sounds like the prototype for every single song you’ve ever heard while eating at Chick-Fil-A.
If you’re a Christian rock and/or metal fan, this isn’t even an optional release, especially now that such an impressive reissue is available. Daniel Band was an essential part of the Christian Contemporary Music community/genre, and On Rock is where it all began.
Genre: Christian Metal
Label: Retroactive Records
1. He’s the Creator
2. I’m Sorry
3. You Don’t Need the Blues
4. Free from Sin
5. Undercover Christian
6. Two Roads
7. Never Again
8. In the Sky
9. I Like To Rock
10. Spiritual Games
11. Somebody Loves You
12. It All Turns to Rain (bonus track)
13. I Give You All (bonus track)
Hardrock Haven Rating: 7.5/10