For the start of the Portuguese duo Factory Of Dreams we have to go back to 2008 when multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Hugo Flores joined forces with vocalist Jessica Letho. Flores is an experienced musician who recorded several albums: one solo album, two albums with Sonic Pulsar and two prog metal albums with Project Creation. Letho has been influenced by bands like Nightwish, The Gathering and Within Temptation and she also has her own project called Once There Was. After the debut album Poles (2008) and its successor A Strange Utopia (2009), the duo got together again for their third CD Melotronical.
Melotronical is a concept album dealing with the evolution of an electronic molecule into a living entity. This entity experiences several stages of life while going through emotions like love, hate, fear, happiness and so on. While listening to the album, I was stunned by the many musical layers they use to build the atmosphere of this prestigious album. Melotronical is based on a diversity of keyboards, a solid bass guitar and the splendid fretwork of Hugo Flores. Over this impressive foundation the sometimes doubled vocals of Jessica Letho show a great variety: from progressive in the vein of The Gathering to the more classical way of singing of Tarja Turunnen (ex- Nightwish). The variety in the way she approaches each song makes sure you'll never suffer a dull moment. Listen to the title track and you'll hear the full range of her impressive voice.
The combination of Jessica's voice and the heavy guitars is just awesome. Flores sometimes adds more depth to the songs by singing part of the lyrics and almost turning them into death metal with his dark grunt like in Subatomic Tears. In Dimension Crusher, he uses his normal voice to contrast with the angelic and soft vocals of Jessica, which is another pleasant addition to this great song. Something Calling Me highlights Jessica's majestic and emotional vocals with a piano and keyboards in the background. Finishing the album we get an electronic opening in Reprogramming turning into a worthy end of the concept.
The third album of Factory Of Dreams shows that new territories are to be explored in the world of progressive gothic rock. With an album like Melotronical this Portuguese duo takes the first step in that direction. I'm very positive about this album, yet I have to make a comment. People, who read my reviews on a regular base, know that there's one thing I hate in music: programmed drums. The drums on Melotronical are all programmed. Sometimes you hear double bass blasts that are impossible to play by a drummer of flesh and blood. Programmed drumming just takes away my pleasure in listening. I really hope that Factory Of Dreams will become a real band in the future. Using a drummer and perhaps a powerful bass player could take this band to a higher level. Purely based upon the songs they certainly deserve it.
***+ Pedro Bekkers (edited by Peter Willemsen)
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