Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Dark Moor - Ars Musica (2013)

It’s been an amazing year for metal so far with tons of great albums. I thought I’ve heard it all until I found out Dark Moor made a new album. As a long time fan, I was ecstatic. They’re legends of the symphonic metal genre. Three years after their last album, Dark Moor returns with “Ars Musica.” Before I go any further let me just say that I don’t think one singer is better than the other. Listening to a new Dark Moor album is a journey in itself. Every album has different sounds and moods. If you go back and listen to “Shadowland” and then put on “Autumnal” you’ll notice that they’re completely different. Not just because of the fact that they have a new singer, but because every instrument and every line is played and sung with different emotions. The Dark Moor with Elisa Martin on vocals is just as good as the Dark Moor with Alfredo Romero. Now with that out of the way, let’s continue. “Ars Musica” brings to the table a much more mellow album than their previous ones. But that is absolutely not a bad thing at all. It sounds like a band that matured over the past three years, but didn’t lose their talent for writing great songs. It’s by far their best album since “Tarot.”

The second track “First Lance of Spain” opens with standard Dark Moor fare before erupting into one hell of a chorus. It’s one of the best tracks on the album, and in their career. “It Is My Way” slows things down a bit, but Romero’s vocals make it irresistibly charming. His voice has found its home on the album; never has he sounded so genuine. “The Road Again” is another song with an amazing chorus. “Together as Ever” is, in my opinion, the best song on the album. The chorus is the best and most epic one they have ever written. It’s chill inducing, mesmerizing, and unforgettable. The Avantasia-esque “Gara and Jonay” is a welcomed addition. Like every other song on the album, it’s catchy as hell and tugs on the right heartstrings. Now if anyone is worried that they have ventured away from their neo-classical sound completely, don’t fret. “Living In A Nightmare” is pure neo-classical bliss through and through. Besides “Together As Ever,” the other real show stopper is “El Ultimo Ray.” Romero’s vocals sound incredible on the whole album, but they really soar when he sings in Spanish. His voice is fluid, smooth and packed with emotion. Nobody this year in metal has done it better.

For me “Ars Musica” is tied with “Tarot” as Dark Moor’s best album. “Tarot” is more symphonic, while “Ars Musica” has more heart. The album does pretty much everything right. And like every great album, it gets better with each listen. Every time I put it on I notice things I haven’t noticed before. Albums like these are far and few between. In the symphonic metal scene it’s extremely hard to stay fresh over the years. But it looks like they don’t have a problem making consistently great albums. With “Ars Musica,” Dark Moor have redefined themselves and made an album with skills few bands have. This album is an amazing experience that no one should miss.


- Brian DuBois

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