|Review: Dark Moor - Dark Moor|
Label: Arise Records
Year released: 2003
Genre: Symphonic Metal
Review online: January 2, 2004
Reviewed by: Sargon the Terrible
Rated 3.77/5 (75.38%) (13 Votes)
This is the fourth proper full-length from Dark Moor, and their first after the much-publicized split that divided the band in two. Three-fifths of the band (including singer Elisa) left to form Dreammaker, the other guys recruited new members and seem determined to continue as Dark Moor.
Now I was never a huge Dark Moor fan to begin with, so I was more than willing to give this a listen, and the advance single "From Hell" sounded really good. I had hopes that this would be a really killer album. As it turns out it isn't a classic, but it ain't bad either. The first thing you notice is that new vocalist Alfred Romero sounds a LOT like Elisa – so much so that if you didn't know it wasn't her, you'd never guess. On close examination he is more polished, and not quite as raw and emotive as she was, but really the resemblance is uncanny. Musically this is the same sort of neoclassical Power Metal that Dark Moor are known for. The new material is more direct and a bit heavier than on their last outing, and the classical trappings are not quite as over the top, but overall this sounds pretty much like Dark Moor always have. On a few tunes – "The Bane Of Daninsky", "From Hell", "Wind Like Stroke" they focus on heavier, somewhat darker and more aggressive arrangements, and I have to say these are the tunes I like best. "From Hell" is definitely the best song on here, very catchy and memorable.
The problems are the same ones this band has always struggled with. Too many of the songs go on too long ("Phillip The Second" and the endless "The Dark Moor" are the worst offenders in this regard.) and lack focus in the songwriting. A lot of the songs and melodies sound alike, and this makes the album kind of run together. The performances are spot-on, the production is excellent, and there is nothing actively bad about the album at all. But as a whole it is frequently too busy and lacks enough in the way of memorable songwriting to make it really stand out. "Dark Moor" certainly proves that there is still life in this band, and that they have real potential, but it falls prey to too many of the same flaws that have always kept this band from the first rank. I would love to see Dark Moor play heavier and more direct music – tone down the classical and turn up the metal, that would rule. But I'd settle for an album of songs as good as "From Hell", which this album unfortunately is not. This is an enjoyable album, but Dark Moor can do better than this, I'm sure of it.
This review is of a different edition of the album which does not include the 13th (bonus) track.
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