The Metal Minute – “The Universe Expands” CD Review

by | Aug 31, 2010 | Dol Theeta

No, Thanasis Lightbridge doesn’t pocket a lightsaber but there might be a communicator lapel stashed beneath his sleek, futuristic jacket which is both Euro casual stylish as well a possible look at down-the-road military fashion.

In any case, Thanasis Lightbridge has been stoically looking to propel a brave collision between heavy metal, neoclassical reinvention and electronica off the blue-watered Aegean coastline and upwards into a welcoming stratosphere. Paradise inspires paradise in Thanasis Lightbridge’s aesthetics where no rules constrict his art.

You might be familiar with his introductory entity Dol Ammad, a briskly-moving ensemble incorporating all of the above elements set to blazing speed with the accompaniment of choral projection, all to assist the majestic thrust of Lightbridge’s space-raced vision. Further, you might say Dol Ammad is the three-steps-ahead progressive direction thrash metal could one day venture towards.

Lightbridge now offers the listening world Dol Theeta, a separate yet intertwined body of expressionism yielding all of the core tools of Dol Ammad but to a leaner capacity. The fiercely intelligent composer has relayed that Dol Ammad and now Dol Theeta are but two components of a three-piece “Dol” triumvirate in which to convey his celestial-borne ideas.

What we learn about Dol Theeta’s The Universe Expands when placed immediately after Dol Ammad’s Star Tales and Ocean Dynamics albums is that the senior entity represents Lightbridge’s proverbial launchpad in which his earthbound exploration of the world we live prepares us for a leap into the next plane. In other words, consider Dol Ammad the rocket and Dol Theeta the free-float into an astral world so few of us have actually seen but many of us lull about.

This will explain why Dol Theeta focuses more on the electronic elements of Lightbridge’s song crafting as well as his delineation of tempo. Yes, The Universe Expands does bear moments of speed projection, but most of the album is a weightless and lofty tumble through an anti-grav headspace filled with guitar weaves, pounding drum patterns and a heavy dose of translucent, psychedelic key structures.

Plucking guitarist Dim and soprano Kortessa from Dol Ammad for The Universe Expands, Lightbridge impressively utilizes the unique singular talents of his cosmic conspirators and in turn, projects even more of a far-flung essence in Dol Theeta.

Kortessa’s towering vocals fill Dol Theeta’s already expansive megacosm with triumphant octaves, so much you feel you have crossed into the outer regions Thanasis Lightbridge frolics inside of his mind and to where he so desperately wants other would-be space pilgrims to follow him along.

Throwing his well-chosen notes into hypothetical air ducts on songs such as “Afterlife Crescendo,” “Nighttime,” “Something Called Tomorrow” and “Goddess,” The Universe Expands makes good in title, creating a gorgeous and trippy alterworld to get positively lost in.

Hardcore metalheads might have a tough time wrapping their heads around Lightbridge’s insistence upon showing off his diverse instrumentation skills, driving his focus towards pure metal only when called upon to heighten periods of excitement, wonderment or agitation.

Sometimes his keyboards are reminiscent of Zombi or even The Goblins (on the terrific “Every Goodbye” they’re so remiss of a metallic base minus a spectacular guitar solo the whirling and dreamy tune could be tucked neatly on a Thievery Corporation album), but Dol Theeta is hardly interested in creating a creepy ambience. If anything, the favored key and synth usage in Dol Theeta unravels the universe’s infinite boundaries so that Dim can whip out luxuriant solos and Kortessa can keep the listener in uncontrollable suspension.

Wherever Thanasis Lightbridge wants to take us next, it ought to be one hell of a ride…

By Ray Van Horn, Jr

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