"Beyond the Sea" (Arise; 2005)

Reviewed by Christopher J. Kelter

Back in 2003 I was introduced to the Spanish power metal band Dark Moor via their self-titled album (and the band's fourth album overall) on Arise Records. I was sufficiently impressed at that time to realize that Dark Moor had the goods to separate themselves from the multitude of average power metal bands that seemed to be proliferating with great intensity at that time.

"Beyond The Sea" features stories somewhat tied by themes revolving around the ocean (the artwork is a dead give away) and other conflicts between man and nature. To my ears, "Beyond The Sea" is a little less progressive than "Dark Moor" and generally more rooted in hard rock idioms. However, "Beyond The Sea" still retains the aggression and speed balanced by melody that is so hard to achieve in the power metal genre. Melody still reigns supreme in the Dark Moor camp. Dark Moor's choir vocals seem a little less frequent or perhaps, if my ears have become accustomed to Dark Moor's sound, a little less obvious. The band's use of classical sounds is less evident as well.

The band, in the strict studio sense, has been reduced to four members the second guitarist slot is either vacant or otherwise not needed for studio efforts. Obviously, recording techniques allow Enrik Garcia to retain the full sound the band achieved on the band's self-titled disc.  "Beyond The Sea" has a full, rich sound this is definitely a sound that characterizes power metal, but Dark Moor seem very comfortable in the rich tapestry that their overall sonic approach creates. 

If you liked what you heard on "Dark Moor" then "Beyond The Sea" won't disappoint you. Power metal fans would like what they hear on "Beyond The Sea" even if they've never heard, or heard of, Dark Moor before. A relatively easy comparison could be made that Dark Moor are Spain's answer to Kamelot.

"Beyond The Sea" was produced by Luigi Stefanini and Enrik Garcia. 

Dark Moor is Alfred Romero on lead and backing vocals, Enrik Garcia on guitars and backing vocals, Daniel Fernandez on bass, and Andy C. on drums. Keyboards are uncredited.

For more information visit http://www.dark-moor.com/

"Dark Moor" (Arise; 2003)

Reviewed by Christopher J. Kelter

I was expecting straight-forward power metal with Dark Moor's self-titled album. Which in and of itself isn't a bad thing. But I got something a little different, and a little more to my liking. Dark Moor's self-titled album is without a doubt a power metal album -- there's no escaping that fact. However, Dark Moor add choir/operatic vocals and a healthy infusion of progressive metal style to give this album a leg up on the competition.

The progressive nature of the album is rooted in the fact that it borrows from the kind of aggressive riffing that Dream Theater has made famous without losing the basic elements that have made bands like Stratovarius so popular. The choir and operatic vocals aren't entirely new, but seem appropriate for the context of the album; the choir/operatic vocals never approach Rhapsody-levels so we are all spared the kind of overdone vocal bits they're so famous for.

My favorite tracks are the lead track "A Life For Revenge" and "Return For Love." Both of these tracks embody what is great about this album -- the fusion of aggression, speed, melody, and neo-classical styles into a cohesive whole.

I got a big kick out of these Spainards -- I thoroughly enjoyed "Dark Moor" and I hope the band has a long and rewarding relationship with Arise Records.

"Dark Moor" was produced by Luigi Stefanni and Dark Moor.

Dark Moor: Alfred Romero on lead vocals, Enrik Garcia on guitars, Jose Garrido on guitars, Anan Kaddouri on bass, and Andy C. on drums. A host of guest musicians contribute to the proceedings as well.

For more information visit http://www.dark-moor.com/

Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.

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Copyright 2005 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 02 Oct 2022 15:00:07 -0400.