The debut of Spanish DARK MOOR is a little pale in my memory, but I think it was rather mediocre, typical Power Metal, albeit with female vocals, yet nothing that would stick to your mind in any way.
Now "The Hall Of The Olden Dreams" has hit my player and I have to say that this is something that really makes you rub your ears in wonder. After the bombastic intro "The Ceremony" the opener "Somewhere In Dreams" sounds very promising, quite epic Power Metal of mid-heaviness, with the warm voice of Elisa. I like that, even though it's not overly original, but it does sound different from the flavour-of-the-day-Power Metal that so (too) many labels still think is the best thing this scene could have discovered.
"Bells Of Notre Dame" also has this somehow warm sound, despite the double-bass, maybe the combination from keyboards the quite mellow choirs and Elisa's voice? I cannot say, but this CD climbs in the rankings more and more. "Silver Lake" then suddenly erupts like a geyser, very variable, with calm and also double-bass-driven passages and playful melodies. The following "Mortal Sin" comes quite close to this one before offering us a very spartanically instrumented ballad named "The Sound Of The Blade", which lives off the keyboards, piano and Elisa's voice, which is a good bit deeper than many of her colleagues'.
"Quest For The Eternal Flame" again goes down in the same vein like "Silver Lake", but is yet a notch better, I really get impressed by this Iberic sextet, I indeed wouldn't have expected this!
The market still is filled to overflowing with Power Metal-bands, but still I can recommend DARK MOOR's "The Hall Of The Olden Dreams" too all genre-fans, who also like it a bit more epic and can imagine a very nice female voice over it.