"some music was meant to stay underground..."

70000 Tons of Metal - The World's Biggest Heavy Metal Cruise

German Pascual - "A New Beginning" (CD)

German Pascual - "A New Beginning" CD cover image

"A New Beginning" track listing:

1. Seek the Truth (5:09)
2. The Wrath of God (4:08)
3. If the Sky Would Fall (3:37)
4. Misty Dreams (5:22)
5. Open Your Eyes (4:21)
6. I Call for the One (4:20)
7. Unbroken Wings (3:41)
8. Come Ease the Pain (3:17)
9. Fate of the Blind (3:46)
10. Cancion Con Todos (3:34)

Reviewed by on September 25, 2012

"Pascual created the next Narnia album that fans were waiting for. Add a dash of Symphony X, and this modernized power/progressive metal blast entitled 'A New Beginning' will surely have the fans of the genre salivating."

The sudden fall of Narnia after its finest release “Course of a Generation” left fans shocked. The seemingly revitalized act, which was a bit stagnant following the 2006 release “Enter the Gate,” needed a swift kick in the ass when original vocalist Christian Rivel-Liljegren departed to create Golden Resurrection. “Course of a Generation” represented a modernization of the classic Narnia sound, a “course correction,” if you will. At the time, new vocalist Germán Pascual seemed like the odd man out, having previously left Mind’s Eye following the 2008 release “1994: The Afterglow.” He joined DivineFire as a second vocalist, ironically alongside Rivel-Liljegren. But as the old adage goes... “If you want something done right, do it yourself.” This is precisely what this highly talented vocalist has done. Recruiting Guitarist Martin Hall, Pain of Salvation bassist Per Schleander and Almah bassist Raphael Dafras, Pascual created the next Narnia album that fans were waiting for. Add a dash of Symphony X, and this modernized power/progressive metal blast entitled “A New Beginning” will surely have the fans of the genre salivating.

Usually, solo albums express the “other side” of the personality of the respective artists. With vocalists, there is usually a “lighter” touch or an amalgamation of various styles and experimentation. You’ll find one or two heavier tracks and latch on to the little there is to link the album to the “usual” style of the artist. With Pascual, you can expect to hear an operatic power/progressive masterpiece worthy of any true band composition. Truly this is the continuation of Narnia as it should have been. A modern approach with an “Iconoclast” Symphony X feel, Pascual shows off his incredible range and style that is a testament to his career...ironclad in steel.

The opener “Seek the Truth” is the only shred of “commerciality” that you will find on “A New Beginning.” In many ways, the ironic album title is more a reference to Pascual himself and less about signifying a direction of music. Honestly, Pascual should make this his main act...it deserves to be a full and touring band in of itself. Outside of the shining talents of Pascual’s vocals which soar from all directions, the musicianship is top notch. Halls’ solo work may not rise to Michael Romeo mastership, but it comes alarmingly close. Take “Open Your Eyes” and put it up against any song from Symphony X’s “Iconoclast,” and I guarantee any sensible fan of the New Jersey sensation will admit that it could easily compare.

Stand out tracks are a plenty: “The Wrath of God,” “If the Sky Would Fall,” and “I Call for the One” represent the album’s finest. The songs that show off the stellar range of Pascual are the breathtaking “Misty Dreams” and “Cancion Con Todos.” At no time does the album lessen in heaviness, even in the mid-paced material like “Unbroken Wings” and “Fate of the Blind" (featuring a solo by Ex-Narnia guitarist CJ Grimmark). The album has it all, with speed and heaviness taking command and Pascual the glue that binds it all.

It is no secret that Pascual is a devout Christian. The lyrics may “turn off” those seeking the dark side, but I challenge any fan to listen to this album with religious views aside, immerse him/herself in its positive lyrical topics juxtaposed to the blistering heaviness and NOT come away with a respect for the play. As a fan of many Christian acts, but not necessarily believing, it is just as easy as listening to overt satanic themes, to which I also don’t subscribe. If the music is what matters, “A New Beginning” ranks among the surprises for 2012.

Highs: High energy and blistering heaviness left me a gasp.

Lows: The non-believers will find the Christian lyrical references "preachy."

Bottom line: Germán Pascual creates "A New Beginning" with the "course correction" of Narnia.

Rated 4 out of 5 skulls
4 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)