Germán Pascual has already started to build up an impressive CV of band’s he’s sang with or done guest work for. Previously vocalist with both progressive metal act Mind’s Eye and heavy/power metallers Narnia, and currently of symphonic power metallers DivineFire, Germán also notable sang a role on Soulspell’s The Labyrinth of Truths also with a host of other guest vocalists. 2012 sees him release his first solo album, entitled A New Beginning. For the album Germán has gathered a sizeable host of guest musicians (eight, plus an additional three for a bonus track), including some current/former bandmates such as Carl-Johan Grimmark (Narnia) and Jani Stefanovic (DivineFire).
Despite the title, A New Beginning isn’t Germán taking his music down an entirely different road to the bands he’s sung with as it may suggest. However given that background, title aside, it’s no surprise that the direction Germán has taken on his debut solo album draws on all the genres of the bands he’s already worked with. This is melodic metal music at heart, often sitting comfortably in either the traditional metal (Seek The Truth, The Wrath of GOD) or power metal (If The Sky Would Fall, Open Your Eyes) genres, but with influences of both progressive and symphonic metal thrown in for good measure, especially the former, something that becomes more apparent to me the more time I spend listening to the album.
As perhaps can be expected from the solo album of a vocalist the biggest appeal of Germán’s music is his excellent vocals. The man has a great voice for this sort of music and he proves equally strong whether he’s singing over the faster power metal tracks or the more mid-paced heavy metal. Mostly sticking to clean vocals (naturally, for the genre), there are some rare instances of growling vocals to stir things up. The growls aren’t as good but do work in context of the album, making for an even more varied experience than the multi-facetted music already allows for.
The music behind the vocals is also pretty powerful. The album is at its best when it’s delivering the progressively inclined power metal songs but I honestly don’t dislike the direction taken on any of the ten tracks. The most surprising inclusion is the closing Canción con todos, written by Armando Tejada Gómez and César Isella, which for those unaware is regarded as the Latin American national anthem. Germán handles the song as well as his original material although as a cover it is my least favourite track from the album. Germán has included many tracks which can be deemed highlights however, such as If The Sky Would Fall, Misty Dreams, Open Your Eyes and Fate of the Blind.
The end result of A New Beginning is a very good debut album. Of course being no stranger to the scene there was never any doubt in my mind that Germán’s debut solo outing would be good. However it is also certainly a grower. While it didn’t take more than one listen for me to take note of his exceptionally gifted vocals and well written, performed, and produced material, it was only on my second listen that I truly began to appreciate A New Beginning for what it is, and that’s a very focused and powerful metal album that never fails to leave a good impression. Even taking A New Beginning in consecutive listens hasn’t been an issue for me and it’s not many albums that I can honestly say that about, even some personal favourites. I think that’s because of the variety within the release which works so well because it always maintains what appears to be the main focus here; to be melodic. An exceptional grade rating is easily deserved.
(Originally written for Heavy Metal Haven (http://metaltube.freeforums.org))