Album Review: DARE – ‘Against All Odds’

It’s time to take a stand

You want to talk about a record that truly, fully, absolutely embodies its title? Look no further. Between signing to Revelation, the insanely awesome ’80s skate/graffiti culture-inspired cover artwork and O.G. “keeper of the faith”/Terror frontman Scott Vogel’s declaration that DARE is his “favorite band in hardcore right now,” expectations will no doubt be running extremely high for the Orange County quartet’s full-length debut. And I’m here to tell you, against all odds, this mix of old-school snarl, new-school groove (bassist Aaron McQueen is a Sergio Vega-level superstar), ultra-tight Sacred Reich-y thrash, classic-era Helmet cascades, the punk catchiness of that amazing second Kid Dynamite jam, Prong Cleansing levels of precision and tortured vokills straight outta the Mieszko Talarczyk school not only subjects every jaded sigh to death by a thousand razor-sharp riffs, but also runs circle pits around virtually all of the band’s better-established peers.

It’s a pretty remarkable accomplishment, and a throwback in the best possible sense to the early-to-mid-’90s heyday of Revelation, when virtually every new release felt powered by revolutionary fire or alchemic experimentation. While Against All Odds doesn’t break the sort of new ground those albums did, the spirit and palette is, respectively, liberated and broad. It’s a decidedly metallic hardcore release from a band that sounds as if its comprised of players with record collections that are much more expansive than that. Add to the mix vulnerable, incisive lyrics that examine the scene and larger culture from the point of view of people of color and it’s clear that DARE deserve to be spoken of in the same breath as Rotting Out, Mizery, Incendiary and others at the vanguard of hardcore.

Review taken from the September 2021 issue of Decibel, which is available here.