Dol Ammad - Ocean Dynamics
Electronic Art Metal Records
Futuristic Operatic Electronic Progressive Rock / Metal
10 songs (59'20)
Release year: 2006
Dol Ammad
Reviewed by Marty
Dol Ammad is the brainchild of the very ambitious keyboardist and composer Thanasis Lightbridge. Mixing operatic elements complete with a full 14 voice choir as well as influences from the greats in electronic music namely Vangelis, Jean Michel Jarre and Tangerine Dream, Dol Ammad's debut album Star Tales defined a new genre in progressive hard rock and heavy metal. Drawing influences from Rhapsody and Therion to more traditional speedy European power metal also reflects Thanasis Lightbridge's love for the dynamics of heavy metal music. Largely electronic in nature, Dol Ammad's music encompasses elements of opera, space rock, heavy metal, ambient sounds and other sound effects to create what has been given the title of "Electronic Art Metal". Star Tales explored the vastness of space whereas this time around, Dol Ammad and Thanasis Lightbridge explores the wonders and other powers of the sea with their latest album Ocean Dynamics.

Returning to help out with the drum duties is Alex Holzwarth (Rhapsody, Sieges Even) who also did most of the drum tracks on the debut Star Tales album. However, this time around, Alex Holzwarth plays a more prominent role in the arrangements of the songs with less use of electronic percussion. Current Silent Force vocalist D.C. Cooper provides lead vocals for the track Aquatic Majesty on an album that sees the vocals almost entirely done by a 14 voice choir consisting of 7 women and 7 men and covering the entire spectrum of vocal ranges from soprano, alto, tenor and baritone. The album begins with a 4 part opus entitled Thalassa Dominion. With this track we get everything from ambient to space rock mixed in with some speedy double bass fuelled European style power metal. Dreamy Yes-like interludes will more than satisfy fans of progressive rock and fans of electronic music such as Tangerine Dream and Vangelis will also find lots to like. Part 4 of the epic even throws in some Black Metal styled recklessness and blast beats along with the amazing female soprano voices, chanting choirs of voices and prominent guitar riffs. Other tracks push drummer Alex Holzwarth to his full potential with speedy double bass interludes along with equally speedy muted guitar riffing. The unique operatic feel of Nightwish comes to mind in several places with the angelic use of the female voices. Classic prog rock giants like Yes, Genesis and Strawbs often used mellotron synthesizers to simulate the choir effects for their songs but with Dol Ammad there is no simulation, this is the real thing. For a couple of tracks, electronic percussion and pulsing synthesizers replace the "organic" drum sounds for a very "futuristic feel". More abstract King Crimson vibes can be found with the track Lava that also sees more prominent heavy guitar with an arrangement that is all over the map.

Ocean Dynamics is an enjoyable listen with an absolutely stunning production. Thanasis Lightbridge is really on to something here and kudos for his ambition and determination to bring this type of opera/metal hybrid to life. Although it is a concept album, too many similarities in song arrangements and the lack of melodic hooks or other memorable passages gives this album the characteristics of a movie soundtrack. There are several interludes with the 4 part track Thalassa Dominion whereby the combination of the chanting voices and soaring melodic Steve Howe (Yes) like melodic guitar fills sends chills down your spine but overall, there are just not enough of those instances to make a strong lasting impression on the listener. The voices are spectacular although with a couple of tracks, you just shake your head and wonder just what the heck was the intent for the vocal arrangements. Some just don't fit the overall mood of the song or the album as a whole. Besides a few of these shortcomings, there are elements of sheer brilliance with this album. Full marks go to the originality of this project but more work needs to be done to create something that will draw in the listener, capture their interest and make then want to listen to this repeatedly. All the elements are there for this to be a possibility and hopefully we will we see more music from this project with more focus on the song writing aspects as opposed to the "movie soundtrack" approach.

Check out the band's MySpace Page for a few full length samples.

Killing Songs :
Thalassa Dominion (Part 2) and Solarwinds
Marty quoted 70 / 100
Other albums by Dol Ammad that we have reviewed:
Dol Ammad - Star Tales reviewed by Alex and quoted 65 / 100
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