DARK MOOR – Project X [Japanese SHM-CD + bonus disc] [Limited Edition] (2015)
DARK MOOR has been out there for more than fifteen years, and although delivered nine albums and some EP’s, I must confess never followed the band in detail. That’s about to change for me right now, as their new album “Project X” is a great piece of melodic metal beautifully crafted.
Pressed on high quality SHM-CD, this Japanese Limited Edition includes a bonus CD with 5 bonus tracks.
“Project X” is a clear departure from Dark Moor origins of power metal with some neoclassical touches, in favor to a more melodic, very melodic metal with, at places, a lighter, more dramatic direction with an even bigger focus on melodious symphonic elements and choirs.
And that’s why I liked this album so much; Dark Moor has changed, and changed for good.
Since first track ‘November 3023’ starting off with modern sounding keyboards, the rest of the album only proves to be even more surprising.
However, first full song ‘Abduction’ mostly sticks to the band’s past upbeat metal with symphonic backing and choir vocals, and in comparison to the rest of the album, it feels like a more modernized take on the usual Dark Moor sound, complete with cheesy but fun sci-fi lyrical themes, which carry on throughout the album.
After this point, though, the album takes a turn for the weird with the super theatrical track ‘Beyond the Stars’, where the choruses are in full force, and along with the piano and sympho elements, they overpower the guitars, making for a much lighter track than one would expect so early on the album, though the melodies are fantastic and Alfred Romero’s great vocals work incredibly well.
This song also serves as a great example of where the band is now, as the music is constantly driving along at a reasonable pace, so much so that calling it slow or midtempo would be wrong, but it certainly doesn’t match the speed or energy of classic power metal, either.
It’s more of a light sympho / progressive infused brand of melodic metal, which works very well for the band.
‘Conspiracy Revealed’ is driven by a great guitar riff courtesy of effective axeman Enrik Garcia. His chords can be very understated, allowing room for the keyboards, vocals and symphonic elements to be the main elements, but on every track he allows himself to shine for brief periods, and he does an amazing job of it. Songs like ‘Abduction’, ‘Beyond the Stars’ and ‘Bon Voyage!’ have some fantastic melodies and melodic solos, while on ‘Conspiracy Revealed’ and ‘Gabriel’ he injects a bit energy to the songs with some great riffs.
The latter in particular starts off with the heaviest guitar work on the album, and it turns into one of the faster, more metal oriented tracks on the CD.
‘The Existence’ is like ’80s hard rock with slight metal overtones and a chorus made for MTV circa 1984.
Then ‘I Want to Believe’ is the ballad where vocalist Alfred Romero shows his skills and then as the song goes on the choirs become more and more central to the song, until it turns into something melodic, incredibly epic and larger than life.
In many aspects, Dark Moor’s new album “Project X” is a mind-blowing record.
It’s not your typical Euro metal CD, here the band experiments with gospel choirs as well as an increased emphasis on a more theatrical sound, resulting in an elaborated piece of melodic metal with effective midtempo sections and – call it commercial if you want – accessible choruses.
If you never liked much this band (like me) but enjoy Allen / Lande, Ayreon, Lucassen works and alike, get “Project X” and give it a proper listen.
Additionally, this Limited Edition Japan release features a bonus disc with five songs from Dark Moor’s early days (I never listened them before) re-recorded by the band with their ‘new sound’.
Highly Recommended for all audiences.
AVALON / Victor Entertainment ~ MICP-30063
初回生産限定盤 / SHM-CD/ボーナスCD
01 – November 3023
02 – Abduction
03 – Beyond the Stars
04 – Conspiracy Revealed
05 – I Want to Believe
06 – Bon Voyage!
07 – The Existence
08 – Imperial Earth
09 – Gabriel
10 – There’s Something in the Skies
01 – In the Heart of Stone
02 – Maid of Orleans
03 – Nevermore
04 – A New World
05 – Somewhere in Dreams
Alfred Romero – Vocals
Enrik García – Guitars
Ricardo Moreno – Bass
Roberto Cappa – Drums
You’ve seen it first here, at 0dayrox
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