Dark Moor - Dark Moor
Arise Records
Epic / Symphonic Power Metal
13 songs (65'41)
Release year: 2003
Dark Moor, Arise Records
Reviewed by Marty
Album of the month
Highly anticipated, this albums marks the dawn of a new era for Dark Moor. Earlier this year lead vocalist Elisa C. Martin, guitarist Albert Maroto and drummer Jorge Saez all left Dark Moor to form a new band, Dream Maker. Determined to carry on, guitarist and principle songwriter Enrik Garcia and bassist Anan Kaddouri recruited lead vocalist Alfred Romero, guitarist Jose Garrido and drummer Andy C. to complete the new line-up of Dark Moor. This new album simply titled Dark Moor was recorded this past summer and a single for the song From Hell was released in October prior to the release of this album in late November.

I've always liked this band. Their albums Hall Of Olden Dreams and Gates Of Oblivion were solid albums and I like the orchestral touches to their music. Having said that, I never thought that they were capable of being a world-class metal act and produce the sort of album that has the richness and depth that would secure their future in a severely over-populated metal genre.....until now. This new albums simply kills!!! I've never heard the band sound better. Seeing that the main songwriter Enrik Garcia was still in control of the creative process for Dark Moor, I didn't expect them to stray much from the sound of their previous work. With this new self-titled album, the band has taken one big step further with their sound; adding an even more epic and orchestral feel an infusing an intensity and heaviness that their previous albums only hinted at.

A Life For Revenge opens the albums and what a killer track! A mix of power and speed metal, the track has splashes of symphonic elements but has a Blind Guardian heaviness with the heavy riffing and pummeling double bass drums. Neo-classical segments are found throughout with fast guitar and keyboard arpeggios and lead vocalist Alfred Romero delivers a great performance with a catchy and memorable chorus. He has such a strong clear voice and reminds at times of Roy Khan (Kamelot) and Kai Hansen (Gamma Ray) for the more intense parts. Eternity is another solid one that has neo-classical styles for the intro then uses a great repetitive riff throughout. This track has an almost Angra-like quality with the speed and melody and uses choirs of voices for the chorus sections. Next up is the epic stylings of The Bane Of Dominsky - The Werewolf, a big foreboding and heavy track that uses a Stratovarius style blend of guitar and keyboards. The atmosphere created by this song is amazing! It also has some heavy and intense sections and the vocals range from a sweet and angelic style to a more menacing and aggressive tone. Philp The Second is a speedy and orchestrated power metal opus that mixes up the tempos quite a bit and uses an operatic style with the vocals and the choruses to create another solid track. From Hell, the first single from this album, was co-written by new vocalist Albert Romero. This one is a more straight ahead track with melodic and heavy riffing and mixes quieter and faster heavier parts with thematic riffing and symphonic interludes. Another album highlight, Cyrano de Bergerac is a musical interpretation of the classic tale that uses both Rhapsody and Blind Guardian styles throughout. This one has a great speediness and the soaring voices of Albert Romero and guest female vocalist Beatriz Albert, add to the operatic quality of this track.

Next up is the 5 part opus Attila that begins with a foreboding orchestral movement, Attila Overture, before launching into big blasting riffs with a Blind Guardian style speed and intensity with Wind Like Stroke. Pummeling riffs and great melodic voices make for a very intense song. Part 3, Return For Love, is a marching and pounding heavy song that has a great heart-wrenching vocal and is highlighted by some outstanding expressive and harmonized lead guitar. Amore Venio is a short interlude with harpsichord and strings that uses vocal rounds consisting of both male and female voices before the last part of the epic, The Ghost Sword comes barreling through. This one's very fast and very, very heavy. Again, the Blind Guardian intensity is prevalent and the vocals just soar on this one. A fitting close to the tale of the menacing conqueror.

The title track, Dark Moor, sees the band getting even more operatic and symphonic. Orchestration with choirs accompanied by big heavy guitar chord blasts creates a great atmosphere. Lots of thematic riffing is used throughout and the chanting choirs create an almost hypnotic effect on the listener. An innovative and very effective marriage of heavy metal, choirs and orchestration. The final track, The Mysterious Maiden, features some nice piano and cello and again the lead vocals of Beatriz Albert. She has a great soaring and angelic voice that really suits the tone and atmosphere created by the song. Nice expressive lead guitar and some great piano passages highlight the track as well.

Dark Moor has been reborn and rejuvenated. In a genre of metal whereby a band can get stale and predictable, this band has blown the doors wide open for their future. Combining all the best elements of their past sound with a new heavier and more intense style, they are in an enviable position to forge a new path, a new future and along the way, a fresh new approach to epic and symphonic power metal. This is easily the best album of their career and may even top some lists as the best album of the year.

Killing Songs :
Marty quoted 92 / 100
Jeff quoted 86 / 100
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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