GarthThe sleeve artwork suggests a multi-coloured fantasy, so it’s no surprise that it starts with the soothing tone of the harp. “It all” however is too prosaic a way to describe this “deep voyage towards the inner self”, which is “inspired by dreams and fairy tales”.

“The Dawn of a New Creation” is indeed a journey of fantasy. Symphonic music blends with flamboyant rock and angelic choruses. Then there are the growly vocals, accompanied by dark power metal and more flowing guitar. The pomposity smacks of Bal Sagoth but this is more earnest. The backing can be a bit tinny but there’s no hiding the vibrancy. By the third track “A Barrage of Hate”, it’s a case of rampant machine guns at dawn. Triggering drums mix with dreamy prog, before descending into utter darkness. Garth Arum reach to the stars with an epic chorus and leave themselves open to the accusation of cheesiness. There is then an amazing shift as the lush and exotic guitar sound of “Labyrinth of Lies” takes over. Again we’re taken to the moon and all around it. This wondrous song has an air of Tristania about it but as always there are many twists and turns. The deep electronic blew me away. This subtle and beautiful track lingers in the heavens, yet as it builds back up to overwhelming beauty and power, there is lightening and thunder. The classical piano enters the scene to cool the fire. Garth Arum mix extremes, and so the church organ and classical refrains combine with black metal power on “Rusty Hands”. Cosmic sounds remind us of loftiness and again contrast with the ferocious metal melody on “Rusty Hands”.

I had the sense of listening to a kaleidoscopic orchestral rock opera as I listened to this album. Heavy progressive power metal lies at the centre of it, if there is a centre. I never knew what to expect next. The sweet female gothic tones work well with the piano and symphonic movements, and with the frantic melody of “Trip (Part I)”. I wasn’t so sure about the short celtic-sounding section but this never hangs around and soon the rampant, toe-tapping “Lucid Screams” is in our heads. Growled vocals give way to emotion-filled choruses, while symphonic touches add both urgency and majesty to the occasion. As if the wind came and blew away the urgency, “Lucid Screams” ends with a foggy and melancholic electronic passage to give us yet more cause for thought. Fast, drum-driven metal dominate “Like an Angel” and “Yearned Freedom”. A frantic pace is set, but there’s an anarchic eccentricity within the developments. The only problem I had was that this pattern had been well established and I thought that much of this album could have been compacted. Less can be more. The album finishes with “Trip (part II)”, an angelic chorus played to a symphonic background.

“The Dawn of a New Creation” is an unstoppable, breathtaking journey. It’s very much a personal fantasy as I didn’t really detect any thread running through it. For the same reason I wasn’t touched entirely by it but credit is due to these Spaniards for not conforming to rules, but following their instincts and putting on a musical show of epic proportions.

(7/10 Andrew Doherty)