Review

FACTORY OF DREAMS Melotronical

Album · 2011 · Progressive Metal
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5/5 ·
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Melotronical is the third album from Factory of Dreams, which is one of the projects of Portuguese musician Hugo Flores. Flores has made music with several projects in the past including Sonic Pulsar and Project Creation, with Factory of Dreams being his latest project, in which he forms half of a duo with vocalist Jessica Lehto. Melotronical was released in 2011 and is easily the group’s strongest album to date.

I’m sure that I read somewhere where Flores dubbed the music of Melotronical as ‘cybermetal’. While that sort of term itself may invite raised eyebrows or even criticism from some since it isn’t a universally recognised genre of metal music, upon listening to Melotronical I can’t say it’s not an accurate description, both musically and lyrically. The music mixes metal with some electronic influences to great effect and lyrically the album is a conceptual piece with a sci-fi themed story. If you’re looking for a more ‘normal’ genre to pigeon-hole an album such as this then progressive metal is probably your best bet, with Melotronical sounding guaranteed to appeal to those with the most far out progressive or perhaps even avant-garde tastes, though in all honesty it focuses less on the progressive tendencies then some of Flores prior work - instead delivering some truly crazy stuff, but retaining a sense of direction, which all in all makes Melotronical a very thrilling listen whether you’re listening to the really rocking tracks such as opener Enter Nucleon or the beautiful ballad Back to Sleep. There’s also some strong classical parts on the album, mostly thanks to the impressive vocals of Jessica Lehto.

The vocals are one of the biggest differences on Melotronical compared to Factory of Dream’s previous works though, as Hugo Flores delivers a lot of the vocals himself to the point that he and Lehto can be considered co-vocalists, though there remains some songs on the album that feature only Lehto’s vocals. Previously it was very clear that Jessica was the group’s only singer, and despite how good she is the expansion of the band’s sound to include Hugo’s vocals really works for Factory of Dreams. Flores has a great voice and his vocals compliment Jessica’s, and speaking personally for a minute here, it’s good to hear him again since speaking as someone very familiar with his work with Sonic Pulsar (in my opinion one of the most underrated groups ever), it’s very clear how much he has improved as a vocalist since those albums. Jessica Lehto is certainly the vocal star here though, putting on a completely breathtaking and varied performance. This girl certainly needs more recognition from the fans of female vocals in metal.

There are also some great atmospheric parts in the album that harkens back to Flores work with Sonic Pulsar as well, such as the start of fourth track, Protonic Stream, although they crop up all over the place in Melotronical. I don’t think there’s anyone else who can make atmospheric parts in metal songs quite the way Hugo Flores does, and those ideas are used to perfection on Melotronical, which results in it being one of the best albums that Hugo Flores has contributed to date.

All in all Melotronical is a much more aggressive beast than either Poles or A Strange Utopia was, since those albums could be best considered as atmospheric metal. The new approach really works for them though, because the end result is a very exciting and dare I say insane album that blows the group’s previous two offerings out of the water, and those albums were good in their own right. However while those albums were good, Melotronical takes it up past the great levels and into the true masterwork level. Factory of Dreams have certainly found their niche here and I only expect even more great things from them in the future.

Melotronical is an album with a really great flow to it. The sound is so powerful in its intensity that it leaves me speechless at how much the group has changed since A Strange Utopia. Prior to Melotronical I probably would have considered Factory of Dreams to be Flores weakest project but Melotronical firmly establishes that such a thought would be an insulting injustice. While it’s probably true that this sort of album requires the most dedicated of listener, it’s also a much more rewarding album because of it than your standard progressive metal affair.

Well then it’s probably about time I drew this review to a close, I’ve waffled on for over an A4 page now, but to be honest I don’t think words are ever going to able to do this album any sort of justice. If you like your progressive metal as eccentric as you can get it then my advice to you is to do yourself a favour and get this one right now! This is perfection, pure and simple, and it deserves full points no matter how I look at it.

(Originally written for Heavy Metal Haven, scoring 10.0/10)
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