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Review: Dark Moor - Ars Musica
Dark Moor
Ars Musica

Label: Scarlet Records
Year released: 2013
Duration: 54:41
Tracks: 13
Genre: Power Metal

Rating: 3/5

Review online: September 30, 2013
Reviewed by: Christopher Foley
Readers Rating
Ars Musica

Rated 3.33/5 (66.67%) (9 Votes)

I've always enjoyed Dark Moor, and particularly liked their last full-length Ancestral Romance. Whilst I don't feel they will ever attain the brilliance of their earlier albums, it's safe to say that they're an entirely different band now. Ars Musica stands as their sixth with Alfred at the helm, and despite being a solid release, it kind of comes across as going through the motions.

Not unlike later Kamelot or Serenity, on Ars Musica Dark Moor take a terse approach, with relatively squat, accessible, vocally driven tracks. I always appreciate that Dark Moor sound bold and confident in everything they do, and here I feel that is no different. I will say that the usually masterful songwriting takes somewhat of a dip, though. There isn't a moment across the album which really makes me prick my ears up and take notice; the music is relatively safe, with a lot of the metal elements playing second fiddle to the vocals and orchestral elements. Of course there are still guitar solos present, and some faster drumming which keep the band in check with their genre, although there's nothing which can live up to numbers such as the excellent "Gadir" or "Mio Cid" from the last album.

Opening up with "First Lance Of Spain" the album starts off well, and is probably the finest number on Ars Musica. The chorus is certainly enjoyable, undoubtedly catchy, and definitely something which carries throughout the album. The vast majority of choruses are well done, although admittedly poppy. From here on, I wouldn't say there was much in the way of standout tracks; "Living In A Nightmare" does a good job in kicking up some dust, and is probably the most power metal track here. When I think about it, and comparing Ars Musica to Ancestral Romance, I'm kind of reminded of how I felt when Kamelot unleashed their follow up to The Black Halo with Ghost Opera. The music is enjoyable enough and well done, there just isn't anything that really excites me as a listener.

On the whole I definitely think Ars Musica is good, but it doesn't really go up and above. The band have done material of this ilk to better extent before, and really the album doesn't offer anything outside of their previously established sound, save for further streamlining it. Dark Moor fans will no doubt find something to enjoy here, although outside of that I'd say the appeal here is decidedly limited. A solid release, if unspectacular.

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