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Factory of Dreams - Melotronical
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Written by Doctor T.   
Thursday, 07 July 2011
Factory of Dreams - CD Review
Factory of Dreams - Melotronical

CD Info
Progrock Records
13  Tracks
English Lyrics


Melotronical is the third production from Portuguese musician Hugo Flores with his Factory of Dreams project. For the most part, that project is Hugo and the lovely Swedish vocalist Jessica Lehto. The first two works were outstanding; this one is no less captivating, and, in fact, demonstrates an evolution to a higher level of capability. With a work like this, you sometimes just don’t know where to start. The music is, as always, outstanding, the vocals, well, they don’t get much better than Lehto, whether she’s singing on this project or any of the others she’s been associated with. And, on this one, Flores joins her and demonstrates some fine vocals of his own. Then there’s the instrumental, and Flores is one of the finer instrumental musicians currently working in this musical realm or any other. Then, there’s the theme, and trust me, Flores doesn’t do boring. He puts more story, more thinking into his music than most authors can put into a 500 page novel. And finally, there’s the visuals. The accompanying booklet is filled with some of the most beautiful artwork you will ever see. This isn’t a new idea for Hugo, but each release seems to provide a more beautiful treatment assigned to each song. The artwork is worth the price of the CD alone. All in all, it’s another first rate production from one of the truly outstanding masters currently producing on the contemporary music scene.

It would be criminal to jump into the music before talking a little about the story that serves to guide that music. And, with the fertile mind of Hugo Flores, you always get a tale worth telling, and this is no disappointment. This one is about evolution, but evolution on a truly grand scale. We start pretty much at the beginning, with an electronic molecule. The evolution continues with individual stages, the being encounters emotions, experiences life and eventually faces finality, with the final track providing some interesting questions, and potential answers. The music follows this progression, and it is truly beautiful music, beautiful, interesting and challenging.

Stylistically, one would have problems trying to put the music in one single box. Obviously, there is a progressive element. But tagging it with a singular descriptor would seriously detract from what this music is all about. Interestingly enough, Hugo uses the term "cybermetal", something I haven’t heard before, and that term does indeed seem to work. There are metal elements, there are operatic components, there are some Gothic strains and I’ve even seen that dreaded current in-term neo-progressive thrown into the mix on a couple reviews. Then, of course, we can utilize those terms associated with creative writing, science fiction, of course. But, this work goes beyond science fiction, we get into morality, we get into theology, we explore existential issues that would make Jean-Paul Sartre himself sit up and pay attention. And the French philosopher never had a Jessica Lehto around to present his arguments. In short, there’s almost too much to consider if you really want to take on the entire work at a deep level. On the other hand, you can just sit around and enjoy the music and walk away with a smile on your face.

The CD begins with a bit of a rocker, Enter Nucleon, this is the beginning of the journey and, based on this first number, we can be excused for expecting that this will be a solid, heavily metal influenced production. There’s an electronic sounding intro, with Hugo cranking some keyboards and a solid metal axe before Jessica joins the fray with a metal sounding vocal. Then, we get a bit of a surprise as Hugo joins in with a surprisingly effective vocal of his own. This isn’t the first time I’ve heard Hugo sing, but I think it’s the first time with Factory of Dreams and damn, the guy has gotten really good. With Jessica holding down the vocal on previous works, I wouldn’t have been immediately positive about anyone detracting from her devastating sound, but, I stand corrected here. Hugo has a voice that compliments, without detracting from the featured vocalist. Lyrically, we get an intro to where it all begins:

A Billion thoughts
Atoms, Electrons and Protons
The building blocks of matter
All gathering for the creation
The Embryo circuit
Divides, multiplies

There’s a few of these heavy rocker types on the CD, maybe a few more than usual. And they’re interesting and very worth listening to. However, there are a few that go in another direction and one especially that really brought me to a screaming standstill. That one is the incredibly beautiful Back to Sleep, sung by Lehto. I’ve listened to this girl now for a while, with various projects, but I’ve never heard anything to compare with this one. This is Tarja territory, Tarja at her absolute best. The VIDEO reminds us that Hugo is a master of this art form as well as so many others. And the lyrics remind us that he can combine various literary devices in one song. Here, we get a bit of the science fiction intertwined with the Gothic:

Wanna show you a new World
Visit Galaxies afar
New Dimensions to behold
Jumping from Star to Star
I dreamt of your eyes
My fatal addiction
But I don’t know who you are
And I can’t seem to reach you

There’s a lot to like on this CD, you get some nice variance across the 13 track song list. Beyond Back to Sleep I find myself listening to the final selection, Reprogramming. Again, we get some outstanding production to highlight both the instrumental work and the stunning vocals. It’s one of the best musical selections, however, lyrically, it left me in some confusion. You see, earlier in the CD, during the song Dimension Crusher, our being throws a bit of a hissy and destroys her world, saying:

Crush the Dimension
Obliterate the Lie
Reset the Creation
It’s time to say Goodbye

It leads to a bit of confusion, but, according to Hugo, that’s the intent. What we get with Reprogramming is a resurrection of sorts, at least that’s my interpretation and I don’t think Hugo would disagree. Our lovely vocalist sings:

Love or Hate
No such concepts
But something different
Here I can control
Here we all can control
What we want to become
All by will

Factory of Dreams has evolved as well. Musically, this is Hugo’s best work, and Jessica never sounded better. I don’t know what he does to one up this work, but, given the solid progression, I can only guess. Hugo is a master.

10 / 10

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