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Dark Moor – Ancestral Romance: Review

November 30, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

November 24 marks the release date of Dark Moor‘s latest album. It is their eighth full-length release and is named Ancestral Romance. Through the band’s lifespan, it has undergone several changes regarding the lineup. Despite the instability, the band has shown themselves capable of putting out an impressive work of art.

The Music (rating: A-)

  1. Gadir
  2. Love From the Stone
  3. Alaric de Marnac
  4. Mio Cid
  5. Just Rock
  6. Tilt at Windmills
  7. Cancion del Pirata
  8. Ritual Fire Dance
  9. Ah! Wretched Me
  10. A Music in My Soul

There is a dominant symphonic presence in Ancestral Romance. The band is not afraid of bombarding the music with strings and choir vocals, and even does so very nicely. There is a fair share of speedy double-bass drums and powerful beats, but they are mingled in with soothing, softer sections with a respectable balance. Some musical passages are heavily based from the guitar riffs while others focus on the symphonic arrangements. There are even those that ground themselves off of the drum beats as well as the bass grooves. Though many different approaches are evidently taken, a constant symphonic power metal sound is retained with fervor throughout the record.

On Ancestral Romance, there is a commendable variety provided. This is not regarding the style, but what the album is able to give. To elaborate, the first song is immensely symphonic with its string arrangements and booming choir vocals in the chorus. The second song takes a more rock-based approach, giving catchy guitar melodies and vocal lines. Then comes the third, a hard-hitting metal storm with solos from the bassist and guitarist mixed in with thrashing drums. But again, with all the specifics aside, the music embraces the qualities of symphonic power metal. It simply uses a variety of approaches and aspects from different genres (and even different languages) to add to what their preferred genre can offer.

But even more is offered from the instrumental performances of all band members. The drummer takes on a mainly supporting role, but has a nice collection of rhythms and appropriate accentuation in this album. Though the bass also often becomes limited to supporting grooves in most music, it often comes to the spotlight in Ancestral Romance. And it is not in the annoying manner which one would come to expect. There is a catalog of amazing solos and complex, melodic grooves given by the bassist, who is my favorite instrumentalist on the album. However, the vocalist also showcases outstanding talent. His range, control, power, and tonal consistency are all highly commendable, and his technicality is surely matched by his creative phrasing and natural feel. And finally, the guitarist does not force himself to the front stage like many others in the scene today. It is a needed breather from the guitar talent shows of albums that are released nowadays. Still, there are many nice riffs, solos, and melodies given on the instrumentalists behalf. And of course, all the instruments are melded wonderfully together by the orchestral pieces, whether they be subtle in the background or right in your face. No instrument is short of impressive on this record.

Overall, Ancestral Romance is a great album. There is a remarkable balance within the different ways of approaching music, the different stylistic and genre-based influences, and the different levels of instrumental emphasis. Dark Moor certainly found their fulcrum point here and, as a result, were able to create a collection of varied and well-written songs. However, there happen to be a few weaker moments throughout the album. Some parts of songs can be crude and stale, or in the case of “Just Rock,” the whole song. But in the big picture, Ancestral Romance is a much appreciated gift to the symphonic power metal scene; one I would definitely recommend.

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  1. December 4, 2010 at 1:34 pm

    so excited to listen to this, though i liked them more when elisa martin was on vocals.

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