Factory Of Dreams - A Strange Utopia,
As with their debut album a year earlier, 2009’s ‘A Strange Utopia’ features Jessica Lehto on the cover and lots more of her stunning vocals inside. I have always enjoyed multi-instrumentalist Hugo Flores’ work, and in Jessica he has found the perfect counterpoint. He can indulge his love of complex layered music knowing that he has a singer who can rise to every occasion. This album is a continuation of the debut, but is also a great deal more in every manner ‘Poles’² if you will. In every area this album rises to greater heights, whether it be in the greater sense of drama, the greater feeling of symphonic goth, the over-arching passion and feeling, the heavier power chords or the lightness and deftness of touch. In fact the only thing that I wasn’t too fond of was some of the ‘drumming’ that is a little over the top and somewhat out of proportion at times (such as at moments in “The Weight Of The World”). There is even a guest in the form of David Ragsdale (Kansas, Salem Hill) providing some delicious violin.
The production is very strong throughout, and Jessica is, well, just superb. She has to be one of the finest vocalists in this style of music (okay, in any type of music) and her musical collaboration with Hugo is superb. Fans of Within Temptation and gothic symphonic progressive rock need to find this without delay.