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Released: 2015, Scarlet Records
Dark Moor is an interesting band. Widely regarded as Spain’s #1 Power Metal band they have weaved and evolved through a career spanning well over 20 years, stylistic changes and at least a dozen member changes. The one constant, founder and guitarist, Enrik continues on and the band has released their 10th studio album, PROJECT X.
I think Enrik might be a fan of the popular television series The X-Files as the imagery and some of the song titles alone remind us of that show. Project x is a concept album about alien abduction and while the concept is not new or unique to Metal, not too many bands have tackled the topic as a full concept album.
Dark Moor have switched gears again and have released one of the mellower albums of their career. PROJECT X is not a full-on Power Metal album but has evolved more into a cool Rock Opera project, kind of like a futuristic Trans-Siberian Orchestra. It is fairly streamlined for a Rock Opera, these things can get huge, but it runs a modest 46 minutes across 10 songs with only the Grande finale, ‘There’s Something In The Skies’, stretching past the eight-minute mark. The album is loaded with interesting sound-effects and some spoken words parts bring the story to life. The keyboards are pushed up-front and guitars are more subdued. The production is sort of futuristic as well, very sterile but at times the sound of the choirs and multi-part vocal harmonies really stand out. The last epic track has some great Queen-like vocal lines. Vocalist Alfred Romero gets to shine and has mixed up his delivery into a more tenor/opera style with a rock edge. The orchestration of classical instruments blends very well with the 80’s inspired keyboard lines. They sprinkle in acoustic piano and acoustic guitar usually in the intro segments of songs, and the album buzzes along never getting too fast, but remaining loaded with atmosphere. I love the robot voices!
I want to conclude this review by making a brief commentary about the public reaction and/or perception of PROJECT X. Normally, I don’t care what other reviews think of an album and generally avoid reading other reviews before I review an album to avoid getting tainted by perception and pre-conceived notions. However, there was quote a bit of negative reaction to this album and I’m here to tell you, it is not nearly as bad as many people suggest. Yes, it is a change. Yes, it is mellower. No, it is not THE HALL OF ODLEN DREAMS Part II. It is not nearly bad as some people feel. Don’t be swayed by my thoughts or others. It is an interesting and brave experiment, perhaps one destined to be the dark horse in the Dark Moor catalogue, but it is no less worthy of your time and attention. Check out PROJECT X for yourself and I feel you will find lots to enjoy on it’s own merit.
1. November 3023
3. Beyond the Stars
4. Conspiracy Revealed
5. I Want to Believe
6. Bon Voyage!
7. The Existence
8. Imperial Earth
10. There's Something in the Skies
Alfred Romero Vocals
Enrik García Guitar
Dani Fernández Bass
Roberto Cappa Drums
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