Dark Moor – Ars Musica (Scarlet Records)

Sunday, 23rd June 2013
Rating: 6.5/10

For as manly power metal tries to make itself out to be, it sure sounds like some bands are playing for the ladies. But hey, most dudes are in a band to score points with the chicks – they just won’t tell you that up front. Spain’s Dark Moor might not be putting on the type of outward appearance of sex appeal to their female contingent, their heart-string tugging brand of power metal on Ars Musica sure sounds less castle-like and more made for a romance novel…or a soap opera.

The marked man here is singer Alfred Romero, who aside from sounding like he should be driving a Formula One car given the flair in his name, has all the right breathy and huffy enunciation of a singer worth being down front, shirt unbutton, all the while underwear gets tossed in his direction. The saccharine and dramatic nature of “It Is My Way” and “Together as Ever” don’t score any parts in the hard-as metal department; they’re both light as a feather, perhaps more light when Angra was trying really hard to gain mass acceptance around Holy Land. “Gara and Jonay” fills that void rather admirably.

Across Ars Musica, there’s plenty of international flavor (“The City of Peace”), shred (“Living in a Nightmare”) and operatic choices (“Saint James Way”), so it’s not like the album doesn’t have any diversity. Of course, all of these things point to the album as being one big fluff piece, which it totally is. Can’t wait to see Dark Moor doing promo for some Spanish shampoo commercials…how fitting would that be.

Dark Moor official website