Cosmic Gods: Episode I – Hyperspeed
01. Magus Invicta
02. Noctis Labyrinthus
03. Golden Phantasma
04. Titan Warriors
06. Stargate Pyramid
09. Caravan of Mars
10. Seeds of Life
Dol Ammad are a Greek symphonic/electronic metal band. Cosmic Gods is their third full length release, and it’s quite apparent that they’ve reached a comfortable level with their sound. And what a sound they have. Dol Ammad can be described as “power metal with a choir on vocals and an assortment of electronic sounds”. Cosmic Gods is the first in a series of concept albums that the band will release. This is a pretty original idea even as far as avant-garde metal goes, but originally doesn’t always equate to an enjoyable listening experience. So is Cosmic Gods a trainwreck (or perhaps, a spaceship-wreck), or is it an epic space opera?
There are definitely moments of brilliance in Cosmic Gods, so let’s talk about the instrumentation first. Dol Ammad’s sound is a twist on the traditional power metal formula. A constant rhythm guitar track provides the groundwork of the songs along with fast double bass heavy drums. Instead of accenting the rhythm tracks with lead guitar, Dol Ammad replace that with a 12-piece choir. The choir handles most of the melody and is the centerpiece of the music. Then there’s further texture added by synths, various glitchy electronic sounds, chiptunes and other assorted digital noises. On paper, it sounds like a recipe for disaster, but it actually works. The band take their name from a level in the classic PC game Descent 3, and the video game music influences are quite obvious. Most of the tracks on Cosmic Gods would make for great boss fight tracks in a space shooter. Also worth mentioning is that the drum duties are handled by Rhapsody of Fire drummer Alex Holzwarth.
In terms of production, the band doesn’t fare as well. The guitars are not as deep and powerful as they could be, and the drums sound too obviously sample-replaced. Admittedly, this does give the band an even more mechanical quality, but it does leave some more punch to be desired. It’s not really a significant issue though. Overall, the instruments are mixed well and they come together to create an epic soundscape unlike any other band. The downside to the band’s unique style is that choir vocals don’t carry the same amount of vitriol as regular vocals, and they don’t have a very dynamic range of expression. At first it seems like a cool novelty, but as the album progresses, the always-at-full-intensity choir vocals start to get a bit old. There are some moments where the haunting voices add great character to the songs, but for the most part they feel a bit repetitive.
In the end, Cosmic Gods is a very interesting experiment, and definitely a one-of-a-kind experience. Dol Ammad have an album that is definitely worth checking out here, and even though the novelty factor wears off after a while, the songs are still quite solid and worth listening to for the novelty alone.
Dol Ammad – Cosmic Gods: Episode I – Hyperspeed gets…