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|Dark Moor – Ars Musica (2013) Album Review|| |
Dark Moor – Ars Musica (2013)
Scarlet Records -- Running Time 54:17
As you should be aware, if you read my reviews on here, is that power metal in all its guises is probably one of my favourite genres, so when I saw that the new Dark Moor album was up for review I was suitably intrigued. They are a band I have dabbled with in the past, and I do have their first three albums, but it is a fair while since they have been on my radar. ‘Ars Musica’ (a bit of an unfortunate name for those not familiar with the term) is Dark Moor’s ninth album and it did in fact present me with a dilemma. My first thoughts when making notes were that the songs wouldn’t sound out of place at the ‘Eurovision Song Contest’ (a massive televised annual pop music contest, with countries from all over Europe taking part) and ABBA (who won the contest in 1974)! Weird choices I know, but on first listen it all felt a bit cheesy. It wasn’t until I had listened to the album a few times that it all clicked. In actual fact ‘Ars Musica’ is pure musical theatre. Imagine Symphonic Melodic Power Metal and the Trans Siberian Orchestra mixed with ‘Evita’, ‘Cats’ or Phantom Of The Opera’ and you’ll be on the money. If I had learnt that Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice had helped write the music and lyrics I wouldn’t have been at all surprised!
‘Ars Musica’ opens with ‘Ars Music (Intro)’ a beautiful classical piece that sets the scene and then Dark Moor’s Spanish roots immediately come to the fore with first track proper ‘First Lance Of Spain’. Vocalist ‘Alfred Romero’ is outstanding on this album, sitting somewhere between ‘Roy Khan’ (ex Kamelot) and ‘Alessandro Conti’ (Luca Turilli’s Rhapsody), and initial reservations aside, turning this good album into a great one. Theatrical sounding songs come thick and fast with, amongst others, ‘It Is My Way’ (containing a guitar solo Brian May would be proud of), wonderful ballads ‘The Road Again’ and ‘Gara And Jonay’, the almost aria like ‘El Ultimo Rey’ (superbly and passionately sung in Spanish) and when Dark Moor do let rip the very Rhapsody sounding ‘Living In A Nightmare’. There is also another beautiful classical piece ‘Spanish Suite (Asturias)’ closing the album and, on my version, two bonus tracks, an acoustic version of ‘The Road Again and heavily orchestrated instrumental version of ‘Living In A Nightmare’. Guitarist ‘Enrik Garcia’ is also on top classical form with some wonderful soloing, ‘Mario Garcia’ (Bass) and ‘Roberto Cappa’ (Drums) provide a great rhythm section and where needed, guest female soprano ‘Berenice Musa’ adds her beautiful voice to proceedings.
On the downside some fans of power metal might actually find this a bit light in places, perhaps Dark Moor should have included one or two faster songs, the drums are a little low in the mix and I’m also wondering if the decision to include alternate versions of two tracks already on the album was a good one. They are great but another original would have been better. In summary this isn’t cheese, it’s actually very good and I’m glad I gave myself the opportunity to give ‘Ars Musica’ some time to develop in my head because I would have missed out otherwise!
Review written exclusively for Brutiful Entertainment by Rick Tilley: www.facebook.com/richard.tilley.351