|Review: Dark Moor - Tarot|
Label: Scarlet Records
Year released: 2007
Genre: Power Metal
Review online: February 3, 2007
Reviewed by: Sargon the Terrible
Rated 4.08/5 (81.54%) (13 Votes)
Now this I didn't expect. Dark Moor hit a high with The Gates Of Oblivion, their last album with Elisa at the helm, and ever since then they have been in a slump, seemingly searching for the spark that once made them a great band. Well after two mediocre 'transitional' albums, it sounds like Dark Moor have gotten back in the groove again.
Dark Moor have not changed any of their signature sound here, there are still the major neoclassical stylings and the speedy double-bass Power Metal shredding. But on Tarot Dark Moor have written a fistful of songs that are actually fiendishly catchy, and the neoclassical bombast actually seems to have a point, rather than just wankering directionlessly. On the last few albums all the symphonic parts seemed kind of tacked on, and to not really have anything to do with the dramatic build or tension of the song itself. Not this time, this time the orchestrations actually go somewhere, and the band sounds massive and back at full speed. "The Magician" is a dull standard intro track that I wish they had skipped – I sure do – but after that they go five straight tracks in a row just killing everything in sight. Tight arrangements, powerful vocals, and some surprising heaviness make "The Chariot", "The Star", "Wheel Of Fortune", "The Emperor" and "Devil In The Tower" into pure Power Metal gold. The album just can't keep up this kind of momentum, and "Death" is a less interesting tune, though still strong. "Lovers" is almost a ballad, and strong melodies make up for lame lyrics. "The Hanged Man" gets some more heaviness going, and the album closes with the 11-minute epic "The Moon", which references everything from Beethoven to Chopin in an effort to be cooler than "Dies Irae (Amadeus)", but can't quite pull it off. "The Moon" is a bit too long, and is not as cool as it wants to be. But it can't spoil the awesome tour-de-force of the first half of the album.
Nobody is more surprised than me to see this long-suffering band release such a strong album, but Tarot blows right past my low expectations and sees Dark Moor gaining back a big chunk of their lost ground. I was sure this band was done, but I was wrong, an excellent Power Metal disc to start the new year.
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