The cynical may well think that RHAPSODY have jumped ship and made a new home in Spain as DARK MOOR are as close as I can think to an almost exact copy of the Italian masters.
The over blown keyboards; the Speed Metal-guitar attack; the pounding drumming; the glorious and over the top choruses; the orchestral passages interwoven with baroque and classical movements is going to have you reaching for the CD-cover and searching for Luca Turilli's name somewhere.
Which you want fine and with so many Melodic Power Epic Metal-bands hanging off the RHAPSODY-bandwagon these days you may also not want to waste you time and money on yet another clone. But if I tell you that this is just as good as anything the Italians have put out are you gonna sit up and listen?
From the off this is class stuff, the Spaniards return to great from with their third album and it is choke full of pompous and massive Metal-outrages. The opener "In The Heart Of Stone" sets the hills alight with some excellent playing from all band members. So it does sound exactly like RHAPSODY, but there again who cares when it is just this good. "A New World" has all the right ingredients for a classic and that it is. The chorus is one to die for.
At times RHAPSODY's Speed Metal attack can become very confusing and downright irritating. Playing at 10 million miles an hour isn't always the best policy as is cluttering the music with too much music! DARK MOOR hit an almost perfect balance. Taking the song structures from RHAPSODY and HELLOWEEN and slowing then down a bit to give the music plenty of breathing space. The guitars are precise and infectious and the vocals of Elisa C. Martin fit the songs exceptionally well. Overall production is sound with all the instruments coming through the mix very well.
All in all if this band where given the money and exposure to rival RHAPSODY I could see a few worried faces in Italy as this is by far the best Melodic Epic Power Rock Metal-album of the year.