As it becomes increasingly difficult to create music that is genuinely innovative and ground breaking, so those seeking to build something new begin to combine elements of disparate genres to come up with something similar yet different. Enter Greek composer Thanasis Lightbridge who has decided that the best way with which to reach his musical goal is to bring together elements of symphonic metal, add a choir and classical arrangements, before topping the whole thing off with electronica style keyboards and dance beats.
Those varying influences may not sound like the most obvious of bed fellows and in truth they aren’t, however it is to Lightbridge’s credit that all these jostling rivals are blended expertly to make interesting and decidedly different songs.
Released in 2006 Ocean Dynamics was the second full release from Lightbridge’s Dol Ammad project after 2004’s Star Tales, where seven male and seven female voices form a choir which acts as almost one single voice across this entire album. The results when backed by the symphonic metal riffs, layers of synths and electronica are surprisingly coherent and form music with a filmic quality. In fact anyone else that I have played Dol Ammad’s music to has commented that it is more like listening to a movie soundtrack than a “metal” album.
If it helps, think Jean Michel Jarre meets Therion with a more modern twist and you’ll be some way to imagining what is going on here. There are a plethora of electronic beats covering this album however drummer Alex Holzwarth (Rhapsody Of Fire/Sieges Even) adds a barrage of tight, expressive percussion to keep things from slipping too far from the metal world, although in truth much of what is presented here has hardly a guitar in sight.
The opening four tracks form the “Thalassa Dominion”, which is a sedate and intricate introduction to this album, before the electronica meets Helloween of “Solar Winds” comes howling into ear shot. The change in tempo is startling and welcome and while the music has been good up until now, to some extent to transition to something harder is quite liberating and actually makes what has come before fall into sharper focus.
“Descent” then heads back into trance-dance, before the Therion like stomp and chorus of “Lava” shows Lightbridge at his strongest, while allowing lead guitarist Dim and bassist Nick Terry room to stretch out. “Aquatic Majesty” segues from the previous track and the addition of Royal Hunt/Silent Rage frontman DC Cooper to sing lead while the choir backs him, is quite a stunning addition and one that the album would actually benefit from featuring more of. A brooding riff heralds the arrival of “Liquid Dessert”, before final track “Heart Of The Sea” eases the album towards the crashing of waves which fade the album out.
It has been a breathless and challenging trip at times, but there’s no denying the skill and effort required to make this music work with the strength and clarity with which it does.
By Steven Reid – Sea Of Tranquility