Daniel Band may have been the best Canadian band to emerge on the Christian rock scene in the ‘80s. Certainly, On Rock was solid debut that found distribution on a “major” label. For sure, it was straight ahead hard rock, which wasn’t much of a departure from another Christian band with the word “band” in their name: Resurrection Band. Daniel Band also shared similarities with Triumph, one of Canada’s greatest power trios in the ’70s/80s outside of Rush.
On Rock had enough hooks to keep things interesting. I still have a fond memories of popping the cassette into my ghetto blaster and hearing the first track, He’s the Creator, come blaring out. I still think it’s a great song, and it even kicks off with a hearty “Woah Ya!”
Other standouts include I’m Sorry (a ballad clearly influenced by Triumph ala Rik Emmett’s classical inspirations), You Don’t Need the Blues, and I Like to Rock (which has Allman Brothers written all over it). If you’re looking for a Rush-inspired track, check out In the Sky, which has lead singer/bassist Dan McCabe emulating Geddy Lee.
One knock on the record is the guitar sound. I’ve never liked Toni Rossi’s tone on the album, a bit too shrill for my liking, but the guy can definitely shred. Rossi was perhaps the Canadian equivalent of White Cross’s Rex Carroll.
Two records after On Rock, Daniel Band recorded what many consider to be the band’s best effort, Run From the Darkness, an album that beings with (gasp!) keyboards. Maybe they thought they were Van Halen or something. It certainly has shades of Jump, the hit single from Van Halen’s 1984 that was released in early 1984. Run From The Darkness definitely solidified Daniel as one of THE bands at the forefront of the Christian hard rock scene, and rightly so with the memorable rockers “Walk on Water” and “Sixteen.”
Two year earlier, Daniel Band was finding its sea legs as just another band looking for a break. The Angelic Warlord site indicates the Daniel Band recorded On Rock without a record deal, so good on them. The band may not have been inventive, but they knew how to write good songs and make solid records. And On Rock was definitely that, solid and even worth a listen every now and then three decades later.