NED DOHENY – The Darkness Beyond The Fire (2011)


Old Classic AOR connoisseurs already know NED DOHENY. His solo album ‘Hard Candy’ still remains as top favorite on many lists in the genre, and the follower ‘Prone’, though only released in Japan, was equally good.
Being absent in the business for 17-18 years, Ned is back with the new album “The Darkness Beyond The Fire”.

Doheny was under contract to a Japanese label in early ’90s, and the deal obligated him to deliver a final album. The tunes Ned wrote during that period were some of the most personal of his life, but the pressure to complete the album and the transformation he was undergoing obliged himself to release a body of work that was more demo than a finished product.
Thus, Ned revisted those tunes and re-recorded the whole thing including stellar musicians, with new arrangements and a polished production handled by himself.
The result is “The Darkness Beyond The Fire”, a classy West Coast / AOR recording.

The album takes off with “Between Two Worlds”, a superb breezy melodious track with an organic sound, driven by acoustic guitars, dreamy keyboards and using heavier, only male, top background vocalists: Sherwood Ball (Jay Graydon’s Airplay), Bryan Garofalo (Steve Perry Band), Joseph Williams (Toto) and himself, giving the song now a more depth and life-anchoring meaning.
“Perish The Thought” has a classic West Coast feel, rhythmically rich and deep, with closely arranged vocals supported by the great Maxine Lewis on the background.
On “Too Late For Love” and “Ghostdancer” he introduces some EWI winds of Steve Tavaglione to the arrangement, the background vocals are significantly reduced to avoid the sweetness, singing in a haunting manner coherently on both songs.
“The Secret Society Of Women” is incredibly smooth with a special bitter sounding concept, while “Love In The Rear View Mirror” has a more upbeat rhythm and a catchy percussion.

“Trail’s End” sounds much modern and really American, with a different approach than the rest of the tracks on the album. It’s one of the best and originally composed songs, but all are superbly written here, believe me.
“Life After Romance”, featuring Don Grusin’s acoustic piano, Sherwood Ball and Joseph Williams on backing vocals, has a romantic melancholy tone, and an exquisite, intimate lead vocal performance by Doheny. This is pure West Coast guys…
“In A Perfect World”, once written for a Japanese female vocal trio called Amazons released in 1995 with Doheny singing duet, seems to be the last song he has written and it is yet another everlasting love-affirming song, with a fantastic chorus.

For Ned Doheny his return to the music world took almost 20 years (a conflicting divorce and raise his son in-between) but well worth the wait.
“The Darkness Beyond The Fire” is the most personal album of his career, surely recorded in the way he wanted: with refined arrangements, a careful attention on every detail and a pristine production.
This is a beautifully crafted West Coast AOR album full of classic sounds, from an artist committed to his own style without care to what’s happening nowadays in music industry. “The Darkness Beyond The Fire” isn’t polluted by any actual trend, this is pure West Coast as it should be done.
If you hesitate to get it because you think this style is outdated, let me tell you, without imposing, that you’re terribly wrong… this music is pure class.
Buy it, and re-assure yourself that there are still genuine artists in this world. They need and deserve acknowledgment and applause.
“The Darkness Beyond The Fire” was originally released at the end of 2010 only in Japan, but it is available worldwide since the last month of 2011 with a slightly different cover artwork.
Highly Recommended.

You’ve seen it first here, at zerodayrock

01 – Between Two Worlds
02 – Perish The Thought
03 – Too Late For Love
04 – Ghostdancer
05 – The Secret Society Of Women
06 – Love In The Rear View Mirror
07 – Trail’s End
08 – Life After Romance
09 – In A Perfect World
10 – I Will Let You Go

Ned Doheny: Vocals, Guitars, Keyboards, Percussion, Producer
Keyboards: Cat Grey, Don Grusin, Greg Mathieson
Bass: Cat Grey, Jimmy Haslip
Drums: Gary Mallaber, Joey Heredia, Michael White
Percussion: Luis Conte
EWI: Steve Tavaglione
Violin: Charlie Bisharat
Background Vocals: Sherwood Ball, Bryan Garofalo, Joseph Williams, Maxine Lewis, Leslie Smith, Marliyn Scott


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.