If "Tarot" was a turning point for Dark Moor, "Autumnal" and "Ancestral Romance" are examples of their further blooming and solidification as a band. It could easily be said that of all of Dark Moor's discography, their two most recent releases are their best. On "Ancestral Romance" we continue to hear songs based on historical figures, events, and stories, and again we have music inspired and sometimes taken from old classics. The same kind of bell sound introduced in "Autumnal" is present and here Alfred Romero's voice has improved even more. Each song is heavily inspired and the performances feel emotionally driven. The female vocals are a major highlight on "Ancestral Romance". The song writing and guitar solos are beautiful and moving as well.
Listening through this album for the first time might be difficult for some who are unsure what to expect since it's broken up a little bit oddly. Here is my ratings for each song to help.
1. "Gadir" - 8/10 - A decent intro song to the album.
2. "Love From the Stone" - 10/10 - A beautiful song about the lovers of Teruel which was made into a music video.
3. "Alaric de Marnac" - 7/10 - the weakest track for me personally. Based on a novel by Paul Naschy.
4. "Mio Cid" - 7/10 - another weaker track to me.
5. "Just Rock" - n/a (an alternative song)
6. "Tilt at Windmills" - 9.0/10 - Beautiful. Based on Don Quixote de La Mancha.
7. "Canción del Pirata" - 9.0/10 - Sung in Spanish, filled with great vocal melodies.
8. "Ritual Fire Dance" - n/a (instrumental, based on Danza del Fuego).
9. "Ah! Wretched Me" - 8/10 - A classic Dark Moor song. Based on "Life is a Dream" by Calderon de la Barca.
10. "A Music in my Soul" - 10/10 - A haunting and original piece of music, possibly the best on the album.
As you can see "Ancestral Romance" is somewhat broken up by a couple of odd songs and two or three more average ones, however this doesn't stop it from succeeding. The other songs which I have rated highly are classics to be remembered and listened to time and time again. And since "Autumnal" is somewhat similar in that regard this album compliments it beautifully. The post 2003 Dark Moor is very different than their previous power metal roots but judged within their new musical style Dark Moor has made an entirely new name for themselves. Once bringing originality and inspiration to power metal, Dark Moor are doing the same to symphonic metal now. By all means get this album if you think you may like this kind of music or if you like "Tarot" and "Autumnal".