Dark Moor - The Gates Of Oblivion
Arise Records
Epic True Metal
12 songs (55'58)
Release year: 2002
Dark Moor, Arise Records
Reviewed by Chris
Album of the month

Third full length album and a very anticipated one, at least from me, since I simply fell in love with their previous album, the unbelievable The Hall Of The Olden Dreams. Honestly I didn't know what to expect, the last album was such a huge improvement (not a powerful word enough) over their debut, that I was asking myself if this was still he same band. They then release an EP of excellent quality, announcing a bombastic third album.

The first listens were confirming that opinion, this album is really excellent. Dark Moor still plays the same kind of Epic Power/True Metal like in their previous efforts, with some more efforts on orchestrations and a bigger production. The vocals are excellent and Elisa surely made some improvement both technically and both on the Spanish accent that is still present but slowly fades away. The guitar work is still very impressive, with heavy riffs and solos throughout the album. The keyboards is used more wisely to add the excellent orchestral that reminds Rhapsody from time to time. The production, it seems has been what the band worked on the most, and we can feel the improvements, but honestly, I've got the feeling that this album is more produced, less written. What do I mean ? This album shows improvements on many levels as long as the sound is concerned, but the songwriting suffers from a step back. The drums sounds really too artificial from time to time and that's another thing I would love to see disappear in the future.

Although songs are very enjoyable, they lack this little something that made the previous album an incredible masterpiece (and surprise), genius and musicianship melting together to deliver almost perfect songs (except some prod issues). No worries here, this is a hell of a bombastic release too, but compared to the previous one, it feels like a little genius in songwriting have fade away just a bit. The songs are more "standard", almost predictable sometimes. It reminds me Mandrake somehow, an Edguy album that I think is a bit inferior songwriting (genius) wise, while displaying improvements on all parts of the band (production, vocals,...). But I must admit that the more I listen to Mandrake, the more I like it, and this Gates Of Oblivion is about the same, it needs to be played over and over to truly and fully enjoy it, while The Hall Of The Olden Dreams was a killer at first spin while staying complex at the same time. But back at the thing at hand : the album also contains a ballad, a field on which we knew Dark Moor needed to improve, and they did, cause this new ballad much better than the one displayed in their last opus. The album ends on a very epic song called Dies Irae and last more than 11 minutes !! This is really a great and highly epic song that contains impressive operatic choirs and some nice progressive moments/breaks.

Last but not least, a very good artcover by master Marshall, which reflects the overall feeling I get from this album, great work, but a (very) little step back from the previous one. Funny that the artcover seems to follow that too.

A solid third album that confirms that this band is amongst the best True Metal acts and that can teach a good lesson to Italian bands (Rhapsody and a few other excepted) in their own fields, adding a very good production on top of it, which most Italian bands still need to learn about it seems. This album brings nothing really new for the band, but it's an album filled with many killer tracks and who demonstrate a good improvements on the production (although it's still needs to be worked). Fans of the band and fans of Epic and Melodic True Metal in general, don't miss that release !

Killing Songs :
In The Heart Of Stone, A New World, By The Strange Path Of Destiny, The Night Of The Age & Dies Irae (Amadeus)
Chris quoted 90 / 100
Other albums by Dark Moor that we have reviewed:
Dark Moor - Project X reviewed by Joel and quoted 87 / 100
Dark Moor - Ars Musica reviewed by Andy and quoted 90 / 100
Dark Moor - Ancestral Romance reviewed by Kyle and quoted 88 / 100
Dark Moor - Autumnal reviewed by Erik and quoted 89 / 100
Dark Moor - Tarot reviewed by Marty and quoted 94 / 100
To see all 12 reviews click here
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