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Dol Theeta - 2008 - "The Universe Expands"

(57:16, ‘Electronic Art-Metal’)

TRACK LIST:                   

1.  Which Are You 1:36
2.  Silver Air 7:09
3.  Nighttime 8:07
4.  Mud 4:22
5.  In The Forest I Found 1:38
6.  Something Called Tomorrow 6:16
7.  Afterlife Crescendo 9:07 
8.  Every Goodbye 5:35
9.  Goddess 4:56
10. And Through a Dream 2:18
11. The Universe Expands 6:12


Thanasis Lightbridge – synthesizers; drums; vocals
Dim – guitars 
Kortessa – vocals 

Prolusion. DOL THEETA is a project headed by Greek musician and composer Thanasis Lightbridge and strongly related to his other venture Dol Ammad. Lightbridge and guitarist Dim are featured in both outfits and both of them seek to blend influences from electronic music and metal with operatic vocals. The main difference between the two is that Dol Theeta is dominated by the electronic parts of the mix, whereas Lightbridge's other project has an emphasis on the metal aspects.

Analysis. When I grew up in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s, electronic music and metal were regarded as total opposites in all manners. Metal bands would often boast of not using keyboards on their albums, while artists creating music for fans of electronic ventures probably didn't even think about including any elements of metal on their productions. As time went by, this reluctance to combine these two musical worlds has disappeared, and the latest in a long line of artists exploring this combination is Thanasis Lightbridge. Unlike many other artists, he thrives in taking on a highly contrasting blend of these two stylistic expressions; his niche is to create grandiose, majestic compositions where the metal parts as well as the electronic ones provide almost larger-than-life textures richer in contrast and pomposity than detail but not without many more or less fine-tuned examples of the latter. "The Universe Expands" does give the electronic elements dominance, but especially on the first seven tracks on this disc those familiar with Dol Ammad will find the overall sound pretty familiar. Multilayered electronic patterns in the shape of melodic percussion, floating synths and spacey sounds are created, in select passages slightly toned-down drawn-out riffs or staccato riff patterns are added, with female operatic vocals placed on top, with quite a few instances of slightly toned down backing vocals and whispers added for good measure. Ambient passages and techno-inspired segments are a bit more common this time around than on previous occasions, and in choosing one lead vocalist only and not adding a choir to the mix on this occasion the vocal parts never reach the bombastic levels of past efforts, but even so the songs are still easily described as majestic in scope and sound. The last five songs on this excursion take on a pretty different approach. On those songs the instrumentation is sparse, the soundscapes rarely becomes majestic in sound and the rich, multilayered segments are fewer and further between. Alas, these compositions don't evolve too much either, whereas the first seven compositions move from segment to segment, visiting several different distinct themes and with a rich amount of variations and fluctuating melody layers, these last five ventures are repetitive, with few changes and more often than not minute and lesser ones rather than full scale evolutions. And for the musical territory explored by this outfit these somewhat barren escapades are found lacking. The themes are beautiful, you don't have to be an ardent fan of female operatic vocals to enjoy the vocals of Kortessa, but you can only repeat any given theme and segment for so long before most listeners start to lose interest.

Conclusion. "The Universe Expands" is another fine example of Thanasis Lightbridge's skills in mixing electronic music with metal. Some of the compositions don't quite work out though, in particular this goes for the ventures on the second half of this disc, but most of these compositions are fine examples of electronic art metal, as Lightbridge likes to describe his musical creations. Fans of Lightbridge's previous projects as well as those into acts like Ayreon should be ones who'll find this album most enjoyable – indeed, despite the dominance of electronic instruments and textures this time around I'd think that many followers of progressive metal should also find this album intriguing.

OMB=Olav M Bjornsen: July 8, 2009
The Rating Room

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Dol Theta


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