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Cheesy, but delightful - 90%

caspianrex, November 11th, 2009

Okay, I'll admit it, I LOVE cheese. Both the real food, and the musical stuff. Trans-Siberian Orchestra? Awesome! Pat Boone singing hard rock and metal faves? Bring it on! Dark Moor? Premium cheese!!!

Really, this album is worth listening to for its final Mozart-inspired track, if for no other reason. Trans-Siberian never played Mozart this well. In fact, some actual symphony orchestras don't play Mozart with this much enthusiasm. Sure, it's full of masturbatory guitar scales and arpeggios, cheap keyboards, and loads of pseudo-classical vocals, but this track buzzes with excitement. You can sense the amount of fun the musicians are having in almost every note, and there are an awful lot of notes here. I've sung the Mozart Requiem several times, and we rarely had this much fun.

And really, just about every track on this album has that kind of energy and excitement. I know it must be a requirement of every symphonic metal drummer to go nuts on the double kick-bass, and Jorge is no exception. I don't know how the guy manages to play that fast without his legs falling off. These guys don't tend to ease into songs--almost every track starts off at top speed, and doesn't let up. Ever. And that's another thing I always love about symphonic metal, and Dark Moor in particular. The musicians are absolutely committed to playing as many notes as they can, as fast as possible. Guitar and keyboard have to be synced perfectly to pull that trick off, and Dark Moor does just that. "Starsmaker," "A New World" and the aforementioned "Dies Irae (Amadeus)" are perfect examples of how precisely the band plays.

The vocalists have a little easier job in the stamina department, in my opinion. While the instrumental tracks churn away underneath them, they just sort of float above the top. Not having ever seen Dark Moor in concert, I am curious as to how well this band plays live. It seems like it would be extremely difficult for the vocals to be heard over band in a live setting. Nevertheless, I find the vocals pretty nicely blended on this album. Although Elisa Martin is not as richly blessed, vocally speaking, as Tarja Turunen of Nightwish, her voice doesn't seem as out of place as Tarja's often does. (I imagine comparisons with Nightwish are inevitable when one looks at a symphonic metal band with a female vocalist, but Dark Moor really ends up sounding quite different from Nightwish, and often quite a bit better.)

So yes, overall, this album is a major Cheesefest, but it's a slick, well-executed Cheesefest. And the result is tasty and satisfying.