Factory Of Dreams - A Strange Utopia (2009)

ince the early days of Sonic Pulsar, Portugals Hugo Floress output has been prolific and impressive - and Factory Of Dreams is his latest project.

Designed to counterpoint the complexity of his Project Creation music, Factory Of Dreams is - by comparison - more straightforward and approachable, less creative and experimental, and its song-oriented instead of a sweeping concept piece.

Poles should find a wide audience as it slots neatly into the genre originally created by The Gathering, and since enriched by luminaries such as Within Temptation, Nightwish, Edenbridge, Lacuna Coil, After Forever, and Epica - et al. It is goth metal, though the metal label is used lightly, fronted by the
rich soprano of Swedens Jessica Lehto. But unlike its genre-mates, Factory Of Dreams isnt a band - its a 2-person project, an Internet collaboration, with vocals and many arrangements provided by Jessica while multi-instrumentalist Flores provides the rest. Consequently, theres a fair amount of variety from track to track, though the dynamics and the energy - and the synth percussion - are consistent, and some might accuse each song of sounding somewhat similar to the next.

Although it isnt a concept piece in the sense of the complicated Project Creation story, Flores remains close to his sci-fi story roots with this one. The theme here revolves around a place on some distant planet comprising two lands called Poles, separated by a river, divided by good and evil - or
positiveness and negativeness. This world is ruled by a Generator Of Illusions, hence the Factory of Dreams title. It gets more complex, and hints tenuously at modern societys inclination to ingest what were told as the absolute truth. That may sound somewhat over the top, but the theme does add a
layer of sophistication to the record.

Electric Boom is a guitar-led piece, and showcases Floress virtuosity on his primary instrument - rich guitar work underscored by a fat fretless bass, and only a few brief lines sung by Jessica. Air Powerplant is a standout - one of the simpler tracks, yet the tempo changes from elegant piano work to a huge metallic wall of sound, and with Jessica slipping in and out of an operatic style, it has an appeal of its own. The Piano In The Sea is another soft ballad, with piano and electronica floating above that soothing songstress. Closing track Crossing The Bridge To The Positive Pole ends rather abruptly, leading you to check your CD player - because surely there ought to be another song?

If youre a fan of the progressive goth format of a semi-operatic soprano contrasting dark atmospherics and power-chord driven bass-heavy hard-rock, Factory Of Dreams is not Poles apart from others in the genre - but its a pleasing listen, and has a lot going for it.

Factory Of Dreams
A Strange Utopia
Album art: 
Release date: 

1. Voyage To Utopia
2. The Weight Of The World
3. Inner Station
4. Sonic Sensations
5. The Road Around Saturn
6. Garden Of All Seasons
7. Dark Utopia
8. Vacation In Venus
9. Chaotic Order
10. Slow Motion World
11. Destructible Destruction
12. E-Motions
13. Broken (Bonus Track)
14. The Weight Of The World (Radio Edit) (Bonus Track)

Music label: 
Progrock Records
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