DARREN SMITH BAND – Keep The Spirit Alive

DARREN SMITH BAND - Keep The Spirit Alive


MTM Records
Release Date: March 1, 2005

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Some of you may remember Darren Smith from his drumming days in Harem Scarem. Now Darren has moved up front from behind the drums to the microphone and guitar to head up the band that carries his name. Helping Darren out on this energetic Classic Hard Rock venture are Mike Hall(Killer Dwarfs, Helix), Stan Miczek (Honeymoon Suite), and newcomer Pat Carrano. If the sound of pure energy that shines bright on this release is anything to go by, then they must’ve had a blast playing together.

Catchy melodies, raspy vocals, sweet harmonies, and infectious excitement are the main ingredients in this musical equivalent to an energy drink, and each song is stacked up to the max with these ingredients. Right from the start, if you close your eyes while listening to “It All Comes Back,” you can almost see the guitarist doing the same while slightly leaning back and letting it rip on the fretboard.

The vocals of Darren Smith have that raspy, whisky sound, a lighter version of Gregg Allman, and on “Everybody Knows,” he particularly sounds like a cross between Allman and Eric Clapton. One might wonder what it’s like to be a drummer in a drummer’s band. Despite the obvious pressure, Pat Carrano handles the job with playful ease. For those of you into guitar solos, there’s at least one in each song, and the choruses on these groove delights are guaranteed to haunt you for days, not to mention all those sweet harmonies that are just tempting you to join in. The lyrics mostly deal with relationships gone bad and the pain they cause.

Their cover of Nazareth’s “Love Hurts” maybe gives out the most accurate picture of the bubbling energy the band has, since right after the familiar intro, the band runs away with the song, proving that a good song is a good song no matter how you choose to play it. They do slow down the pace for the two ballads, “There You Go” and “Black Star,” which even has an acoustic intro.

It’s futile to resist. If you’re ready to be seriously entertained the Melodic Hard Rock way, then all you gotta do is give the Darren Smith Band a play. They seem to be one of the few who have taken the concept of bonus tracks literally, since the two extra songs vary quite a lot from the rest of the songs. “So Low,” with it’s distorted vocals and drilling sound, is a lot dirtier than anything else you’ll find on Keep the Spirit Alive, and the other extra “Taking On Water” is filled with guitar effects that give the guitar a cool underwater sound. All in all, definitely a surprise delight!


  • Metal-Katie

    Katie was a reviewer and interviewer here at Metal Express Radio. She claims to have been born a Metalhead. At least she's been one as far as she can remember. She loves Metal music and she's ever so happy to see generation after another founding its charm. She's always interested in hearing new Metal bands and reading about them and their antics. She lives and breathes Metal, or at least her alter ego does.

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