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There are bedroom projects and there are bedroom projects, I can tell you that. Even though the place where a musician, composer or artist works is never to define the quality of his work, metal-heads are sort of fed up with shitty releases by crappy pseudo-bands gathering in one of the creeps’ nest. Dol Ammad appears different, and I’m not saying it’s a fact this is a complete amateur project, on the contrary; I find it quite professional, yet it ain’t the kind of act you’ll see on the road plus ‘tis absolutely certain the use of technology on “Cosmic Gods Episode I: Hyperspeed” is vast.
Thanasis Lightbridge, the man behind DA, seems to be precisely the kind of man who would remain indoors for weeks, you just need to take a glance to the video clips he releases to prove it, and based on what I could hear on his latest album, it’s obvious he has taken well advantage of that kind of time.
Now, The Metal Archives have classified this act as progressive/symphonic/operatic metal with electronic music influences, but if you ask me, that says little about what is to be heard here. Meaning? Taking that classification as true, first thing that came to my mind was another generic symphonic power metal band, perhaps with some Nintendo-like samples every now and then. I was very, very far from the truth.
First, the main riffing element here is raw shredding rather than loosely melodic figures, providing both that lovely feeling of high speed and the toughness required for it to qualify. Second, riffs are not exactly the central resource that the songwriting is based on, it’s more like a ground which a futuristic orchestration lies on, encompassing a 12-voice choir, symphonic keyboard arrangements, and yes, electronic samples and atmospheres which are fully integrated into the music. Finally, one interesting highlight here’s there ain’t such thing as lead vocals. The choir itself is the only ones you’re gonna hear, and their role has more to do with being another element in the whole thickly knitted web of lines than with a leading one.
Is this beast flawless? Not quite. I don’t know about you, but personally I’m always expecting some catchiness in my metal for it to be somewhat memorable, and given the ethereal nature of “CGEI-H”, that effect is almost impossible to find. Make no mistake; there are memorable moments, but nothing to sing along to, which is a damn shame.
All in all, “Cosmic Gods Episode I: Hyperspeed” makes pretty enjoyable listening. How long will it remain in your own personal playlist? That, my friend, is completely up to you. In my case, I always feel like some sci-fi neo-classical stuff. Electronic metal for everyone! Cheers.
—Originally written for www.globaldomination.se
Electronic metal, wow. Imagine Rhapsody of Fire throwing it down at a rave with Bal-Sagoth popping pills in the back room and you'll have an idea of what Dol Ammad sounds like. I don't know who told them this style works, but I guess they haven't been listening since this is their third full-length album now.
What attracted me to this release in the first place (going in without prior knowledge) was the Sci-Fi nerd's wet dream of an album cover. I thought to myself "this has to be cool", and was borderline wrong. There are some moments I do genuinely like on this release, but some of the electronic moments don't work well, there is a lot of filler and the constant orchestral-style vocals wear thin after the first track.
What is good are tracks such as "Hyperspeed", "Supernova" and "Titan Warriors" which are fairly fast paced, and show what Dol Ammad can do best, these tracks would make a good soundtrack for futuristic "run and gun" games, or games such as R-Type. However these tracks aside there isn't much on offer here that works for me; there just isn't much in the way of actual riffs, which kind of sucks. For the most part this is just a mess of electronics over basic distorted guitar backdrops with a ridiculous amount of orchestral choirs.
Overall Cosmic Gods Episode I: Hyperspeed is fairly average, and I'm strapped for recommending this to anyone. If you want a change in soundtrack to some of your videogames like anything I mentioned earlier then this could be worth checking out, but that is clutching at straws. Interesting but not really in the good sort of way.
Originally written for http://www.metalcrypt.com