Dark Moor - Ars Musica (Scarlet Records)

Classic stuff from these well-established Spaniards...
Release Date: 
18 Jun 2013 (All day)

Kaboommmm!!!! Yep, that’s the sound triggered in the middle of my cerebral cortex by Ars Musica, Dark Moor’s ninth serving of symphonic power metal. A complete revelation, it’s also the sound of a band going through the sound barrier on their way to rock n’roll glory. 

I’ve no idea why it’s taken them nine albums to get to this point. Up to now Dark Moor have, to me at least, been a rather run of the mill Euro metal proposition; with this album they join the genre’s premier league (or, probably more suitably, it’s Primera Liga) thanks to massive, Eurovisionesque pop metal anthems like It’s My Way, The Road Again and The City of Peace. There’s even a Stryper-styled ballad in the shape of Gara and Jonay, an ancient Spanish tale of starcrossed and doomed lovers of antique repute set on the island of Tenerife…

It’s all splendid stuff, but if you think it’s just sounding, well,  a bit limp-wristed, there’s still the breakneck likes of Living in a Nightmare, a heads-down epic in the style of the various Rhapsody offshoots, or the gloriously romantic El Ultimo Rey (which could easily have accompanied El Cid into battle had symphonic heavy metal existed at the time of the Reconquista) to exercise the old neck muscles. The key is, you’ll be able to bellow along to these songs as well, such is the alluring quality of the melodies inherent in the songs.

Top draw material a go go, then, and praise be to all four band members (that’s superb vocalist Alfred Romero, riff happy axe God Enrik Garcia and thunderous rhythm section Roberto Cappa (drums) and Mario Garcia (bass)) for pulling out all the stops this time round. Easily one of the most enjoyably listenable releases I’ve heard in ages, Ars Musica is an absolute must buy if you regard yourself as a fan of symphonic heavy metal.