Dark Moor - Between Light And Darkness
Arise Records
Symphonic Power Metal
8 songs (51'39)
Release year: 2003
Dark Moor, Arise Records
Reviewed by Marty
This latest release by Dark Moor is not their latest studio album, but rather a collection of 5 new songs, a couple of Japanese bonus tracks, and some previously unreleased alternate versions of tracks already found on their previous albums. It's going to be interesting to see what happens with this band as lead vocalist Elisa C. Martin, guitarist Albert Maroto and drummer Jorge Saez have all left the band to form a new band, Dream Maker. Elisa also provided the vocals for the impressive debut album Of Wars In Oshyria by the French symphonic metal band Fairyland. Dark Moor has since recruited another vocalist as well as some new members and are fully intending to carry on the tradition of quality metal music that this band has delivered over the years.

This release Between Light and Darkness seems a surreal and fitting swan song to the first era of the band that has given us some great albums, namely The Hall Of Olden Dreams and The Gates Of Oblivion. The first 4 songs on this album are new and feature a stripped down acoustic sound complete with accompaniment by a string quartet. Some may raise their eyebrows at this, but believe me, it works!! Acoustic guitars, along with flutes and the strings give a few of the tracks a celtic feel and really have a Blind Guardian quality to them. From Dawn To Dusk is one of those tracks with that type of sound and Elisa's voice is just amazing. Lament Of Misery continues in the same vein with a great soaring chorus and some excellent Yes style vocal chants and overdubs. Memories is another new song in much the same vein as the others and the band decided to feature the string quartet all by themselves on the track Echoes Of The Sea, a wonderful classical piece of music done in the true quartet style.

The rest of the tracks on the album are all previously released material, with the exception of the orchestrated version of Dies Irae from the The Gates Of Oblivion album. It's pretty much the same track except for the addition of string sections to the song much in the same way Blind Guardian did with tracks on their Forgotten Tales album. It's also one of only 2 tracks on this album to feature the band's trademark speedy sound. Mystery Of Goddess is from the Japanese version of The Hall Of Olden Dreams and begins with a slow and heavy orchestrated intro and sees the band getting back to the sound that we've come to expect from them. It has a more "epic' feel to it with some great soaring vocals and is the first track on this album to feature any sort of electric guitar solo. It's a great expressive one that really tops off a great song.The Shadow Of The Nile is from the Japanese version of The Gates Of Oblivion and is a big orchestrated and heavy epic featuring some great vocal melodies and richly layered vocal passages. The final track, The Fall Of Melnibone is the title track from an E.P. that the band released in 2001. That E.P. also contained the band's cover version of Halloween for the Keepers Of Jericho Helloween tribute album. This track is a fitting way to end this album. It combines everything that the band is known for; acoustic intros, epic march-like beats, choirs of voices, heavy and speedy passages with lots of speed riffing and fast double bass drumming and a rich keyboard sound that blends very well with the thick guitar riffs. The big epic chorus to this one really points out the Rhapsody influences and a healthy dose of some shredding lead guitar makes a recipe for an excellent song.

I was quite surprised at the quality and sound of the quieter acoustic pieces on this album. Not that the band isn't known for using them sporadically in some of their songs, but to do three entire songs like that and make them work so well is testament to the talent of this band. There are very few speedy power metal parts on this album and fans of Nightwish and Edenbridge will find lots to like about this album. I wouldn't recommend it to someone checking out the band for the first time and expecting a speedy power metal album. To those people, I would recommend an album like The Gates Of Oblivion. This album is for the true fans of the band who are open minded enough to see and appreciate some of the softer nuances of the band. Bands like Blind Guardian and Angra have been very successful in presenting another side of themselves by releasing albums containing orchestral and/or acoustic versions of previously released material. You can add Dark Moor to that list.

Killing Songs :
From Dawn To Dusk, A Lament Of Misery, Mystery Of Goddess and The Fall Of Melnibone
Marty quoted no quote
Other albums by Dark Moor that we have reviewed:
Dark Moor - Project X reviewed by Joel and quoted 87 / 100
Dark Moor - Ars Musica reviewed by Andy and quoted 90 / 100
Dark Moor - Ancestral Romance reviewed by Kyle and quoted 88 / 100
Dark Moor - Autumnal reviewed by Erik and quoted 89 / 100
Dark Moor - Tarot reviewed by Marty and quoted 94 / 100
To see all 12 reviews click here
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