Beyond The Sea
Dark Moor - Beyond The Sea - Arise Records - 2005
|Track Listing1. Before the Duel|
3. Houdini's the Great Escapade
4. Through the Gates of the Silver Key (Interlude)
5. The Silver Key
6. Green Eyes
7. Going on
8. Beyond the Sea
9. Julius Caesar (Interlude)
10. Alea Jacta
Allow me to start off this review by saying that I really like the Dark Moor sound. I thought the raw sound of the 2003 self titled release was by far the greatest in their catalog. This being the second release with the current line up of Enrik García (Guitar & Backing Vocals), Alfred Romero (Vocals), Andy C. (Drums), Daniel Fernández (Bass), one can imagine my curiosity. Would this line-up fall to the dreaded sophomore jinx? The answer to that question will come soon enough!
Beginning with the cover, painted by Derek Gores (who also painted Kamelot's "Karma" cover), it depicts the sea king, complete with a mermaid, shark, and other sea creature. The cover art is one of the greatest I have seen in along time. If the CD is as good as the cover, I won’t be disappointed. From the opening gates, this may not be a lost cause. Melodic power metal laced with death style backing vocals. Guitar solos that are to die for and drumming that is equally as powerful. The only thing I have noticed with the opening song is a more polished sound than was present on the self titled release. Enrik’s guitar solos and death vocals will absolutely blow you away with tracks like "Miracles" and "Alea Jacta". I loved the 80’s throwback of "Houdini's The Great Escapade". Actually, just imagine Fozzy meets In Flames. Throw in a predominant keyboard and that sums up the song. Although no keyboardist is mentioned in the line up, it is highly present throughout.
So far so good, but a release that exploded out of the gates like a wild horse on steroids has now become mediocre. After the filler "Through the Gates of the Silver Key" comes my favorite and most power laced track, "The Silver Key". Unfortunately, the disc could not finish off strong, falling to the sophomore jinx. While "Green Eyes" is a ballad, and ballads usually get my full support, this is lacking the power I wish for. Again, the guitar solo gave this snoozer the much needed CPR. Tracks like "Beyond the Sea" and "Going On" just lacked any type of imagination. I actually had to check to see if the track changed. "Julius Caesar" was yet another filler track, but they did end the disc almost with the life they began with. But they could not seem to leave well enough alone, with a hidden track that serves no point but to put the listener to sleep.
Rating: if you just listened to the first five tracks, I’d say it could be classic. However, overall, I’d say try again. I do not regret listening to it, but overall it lacks the raw sound and imagination they had. It is not a total waste but it is not great either. Give it a spin before buying it. I’d say 6.5/10. Enrik García and Andy C. helped the album along tremendously, but even they couldn’t help a sinking ship. Alfred Romero gave a stellar vocal effort as well. With the right songs, they could be great. I am anxious to hear what is next.
--Iced Mojo 03.03.05