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Dol Ammad: Star Tales

When you go to Dol Ammad's web site, the first thing you see is the picture of the choir - and there's a good reason for that. This music is practically defined by the huge sounds contributed by the the 12-piece choir. In fact - everything is big on Star Tales. The church organs and the thunderstorms in "Birth of Kruug" the aggressive drumming on most tracks, the spacey effects layered over multi-textured keyboards, and ... the choirs. Very ambitious.

It's probably fair to describe Star Tales as an intersection of symphonic metal, classical and electronica. That's an unusual mix, but think of a lighter version of Rhapsody or Therion with a lot of new wave influences. Just as some bands call their music "Hollywood metal" or "Film Metal", Doll Ammad describes their sound as "Electronica Art Metal" - and we might call it "Semi-Progressive Soundtrack Metal". But labels aside, it doesn't sound like any metal you've heard before - in fact even the word 'metal' should be taken lightly.

Dol Ammad lacks a lead singer, and there isn't much emotion to be found here, so their music is all about the instrumentation and the new-agey vibe and the big sounds of sampled orchestration. In fact it's easy to think of it a purely instrumental piece because the operatic voices of those six guys and six girls contribute sound and texture rather than 'song', in the traditional sense. A standout track is the 4-minute "Back to the Zone", possibly because it is the most classically oriented piece, and the choirs are particularly well applied in the 2-part "Boxed Daylight" tracks. Star Tales fits just as well into the background while you're working, as it does in the foreground under a good set of headphones.

Principally a project of Greek keyboardist Thanassis Lightbridge, Dol Ammand's debut album is 12 songs and 62 minutes of lush, elegant soundscapes. Think Vangellis meets Rhapsody, but hires a choir to do the singing - and note with interest that the inspired drumming is courtesy of Alex Holzwarth, from Sieges Even and Rhapsody. Production is rather good, although you get the impression they were trying to hide the guitarist's contribution because on the relatively rare occasions it is featured, it's way back in the mix.

Without the choir this would be an interesting CD that may or may not catch your attention. But with the choir the music takes on epic qualities and is elevated to a higher level.

Track Listing:
01. Dreamport
02. Eclipse (Corona Of The Sun)
03. Weaver's Dance
04. Boxed Daylight Part 1
05. Boxed Daylight Part 2
06. The Veil (Seven Face Danger)
07. Back to the Zone
08. Master of All
09. The Hill of Hope
10. Kruug
11. Vortex 3003
12. Mission Butterfly

Added: April 5th 2005
Reviewer: Duncan Glenday
Related Link: Dol Ammand's Web Site
Hits: 4447
Language: english

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