Dark Moor
Ars Musica

01. Ars Musica (Intro)
02. The First Lance Of Spain
03. It Is My Way
04. The Road Again
05. Together As Ever
06. The City Of Peace
07. Gara And Jonay
08. Living In A Nightmare
09. El Ultimo Rey
10. St James Way
11. Spanish Suite (Asturias)
12. The Road Again [acoustic version]
13. Living In A Nightmare [orchestral version]

Alfred Romero - vocals
Enrik Garcia - guitars
Roberto Cappa - drums
Mario García González - bass

Shadowland (1999)
The Hall of the Olden Dreams (2000)
The Gates of Oblivion (2002)
Dark Moor (2004)
Beyond the Sea (2005)
Tarot (2007)
Autumnal (2009)
Ancestral Romance (2010)

Berenice Musa - soprano

Produced by Enrik Garcia and
Luigi Stefanini
Cover artwork by Nathalia Suellen

Released 2013-06-18
Reviewed 2013-05-31

scarlet records

One thing you will notice immediately when finding Ars Musica by Dark Moor is the excellent album cover their ninth album has been gifted. I remember I found Dark Moor in the early part of the 2000s and was really thrilled when their third album Gate of Oblivion saw light of day, that album is still in my mind a very strong album which I like better than the 2004 effort Dark Moor which is the latest release by the band I have actually heard. This spanish band hasn’t changed much from previous few releases with the same production team and all of that, they did have a female vocalist back in the day but not anymore. So, what do I think of Dark Moor of today considering there was a bit of a gap since I last heard them? and does solidity in production team as well as experience really offer anything advantageous?

Well, it does and they have definitely evolved into a very competent sounding band. The sound on this album is brilliant, possibly the best sounding symphonic power metal album I have ever heard. Although to be fair it is progressive as well, the album has many progressive elements and a good set of variation with faster songs, ballads, typical power metal hymns along with some other stuff. The symphonic stuff often takes up a role in the background adding to the atmosphere and depth of this album that is surprisingly catchy in character with choruses that are to die for. Not the most innovative album though. The singer suits it brilliantly and is well worth being commended for his excellent vocal contribution to this album, an album that is a great production well worth taking a look at just for that aspect of it. Almost 55 minutes playing time is quite hefty and should have been shorter since acoustic and orchestral ending tracks that are other versions of tracks we have already heard is a bit pointless in my opinion.

As symphonic power metal albums go, I have a hard time thinking of any that will beat this album. It is excellent. The sound, the songs, the dynamics and the vocals: brilliant! But it is not particularly innovative and ground breaking, it feels much like we have heard it all before which isn’t ideal. The add nothing to the genre, they don’t widen our perspective on music or adventures, the make symphonic power metal. Fortunately they have at least left the goblins and fairy dragons to their more familiar italian genremates. Their themes seems to be revolving somewhat around historical themes, their native Spain for most part. I am happy that the elves and the trolls are left in Midgard as those things are silly and as a musical themes they are even sillier. This album feels more focused on the music than on any theme though and it is showcasing some brilliant melodies. I love listening to this album which I see as the best by Dark Moor, the best that I have heard which isn’t too many to be fair. Nonetheless, I struggle to think of a better album in the genre.

When the intro dies and First Lance of Spain jumps into action I know this will be brilliant and around 20 times later nothing disputes that. I also find The Road Again and El Ultimo Rey to be equally amazing, some other song may also fit that superlative. Then we have some typical symphonic power metal that is a bit negative on the album as a whole, not because they are bad but because they are nowhere near the top of this album. I really enjoy it, I think anyone into power metal will as well. in fact, I believe that anyone who claims to like power metal will like this album, it is great. If it hadn’t been for the pointless repeats that ends this album would have been close to a milestone, now it is brilliant and does not halt the wait for a new brilliant hit. The hat’s off for Dark Moor, not only does their new album look good, it sounds about as good as it looks. As of the 18th of june it will be criminal to like power metal and not like this album, think about it.



Label: Scarlet Records
Three similar bands: Rhapsody Of Fire/Labyrinth/Vision Divine
Rating: HHHHHHH (5/7)
Reviewer: Daniel Källmalm

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