Between Light and Darkness
5/22/2003 - Review by: Frank Hill
Dark Moor - Between Light and Darkness - reviewed by: Nailer
1. The band lets the songs instead of the players dictate the pace of the music.
2. They use more traditional instruments like a string quartet and woodwinds for atmosphere instead of just keyboards.
Elisa C Martin's strong, beautiful voice sold me on this one. She's probably the best female metal singer I've heard since I first listened to Anneke Giersbergen in The Gathering. I've read some reviews where they were critical of her pronunciation, but since she's foreign, I expected it. Is it that big a deal that when she sings "My heart I bear" comes out as "My heart I beer"? Is it so bad that the occasional grammar is "Where I painful mind was whole night"?
You could probably divide this EP into two halves. The first half is acoustical and classically orchestrated with shorter, subdued, single-oriented numbers. The second half consists of longer, epic songs with your standard guitar power chords and intensity of sound. Many of them are Romantic styled in that they give a individualistic, emotionally wrought, poetic feeling to themes of death and dismay.
Memories - This one's driven by Elisa and a pretty Spanish guitar melody. Exotic ladies dance in the moonlight. I could listen to Spanish guitar all day long. Very nice violin work and nothing is wasted on this one. You hardly realize till you read the lyrics that it's a bitter personal reflection.
From Dawn Till Dusk - Celtic/Spanish mixture sounding with nice woodwinds and guitar. The chorus on this one builds with each playing till it hits full out choir level.
A Lament of Misery - Highly romantic and one of the best on the cd. A woman waits by the sea for her distant lover only to kill herself and join the tide when her only response from the sea is memory and silence. Elisa conveys the emotion of loss and loneliness perfectly by rising and softening her vocals throughout.
From the breeze / Of the seas / The waves sing / The sweet song of your memory
What an interesting attractiveness it is to hear a woman sing of sorrow. Elisa becomes the voice for every woman who's ever longed for something they've once had and can never have again, but remain optimistic for reunion. When I first heard this one I could picture the wide vistas and panoramas of a Sergio Leoni film.
Echoes of the Sea - Short, instrumental and purely classical. Primarily strings with a virtuoso violin solo.
Mistery of the Goddess - The first of the 'heavy' numbers and the closest to a power metal style. More agressive vox. Sing to me, Elisa! Very Savatage-like and a highlight of the EP with great lyrics like these:
Helm of the stars / Is a spirit for truth / In my heart, in my heart / I feel so alive.... With you
The Shadow of the Nile - Very layered and slightly menacing. Different than the usual Arabic sounds you hear to denote music with an Egyptian theme.
Dies Irae - The longest song with elements of prog and power metal. I'm listening to this one and all can think of is monsters and grotesques prancing about. They're all completely evil, but instead of attacking, they just dance with their own personal contents. After the 6 minute mark, this one does get a little long in the tooth though.
The Fall of Melniboné - Another of the longer songs and the better of the two. Fast, furious and very epic. Lovers of epic power metal and their previous stuff should appreciate this one.
I found the first half a bit better because the songs in the second half tended to be so heavily produced with sound and chorus that Elisa's vox would be drowned out by the sheer wall of sound. Unlike their earlier disc "The Hall of the Olden Dreams" the second half is less like the Helloween-style, lightning-fast drums and guitar and more like Manowar with the big manly choruses and the keyboards in the background going "ahhhhh... AHHHHH... ahhhhh".
Dark Moor has since hired a new singer, Alfred Romero, so it will be interesting to hear how they sound on the next cd. If you can handle classical music mixed with power metal, you should do pretty well with this disc. It grows on me each time I play it and I found myself wanting to seek out more of their recording.
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