German Pascual, a relatively new presence on the Swedish metal scene, unveils his first solo album A New Beginning. Pascual was the last vocalist for Narnia on their last album Course of a Generation, and recently has shared vocal duties with former Narnia vocalist Christian Liljegren on his Divinefire project. For his solo project, he has enlisted some talented fellows to assist him including guitarist Carl-Johan "CJ" Grimmark (Narnia, Fires Of Babylon, Rob Rock, FullForce) and bassists Per Schelander (Pain of Salvation, Royal Hunt) and Raphael Dafras (Almah, Seven Horizons).
While A New Beginning should be a platform for his vocal talent, and it is, it often seems more a battle between him and the music arrangements. Pascual has a strong, mostly clear voice, and it mostly comes through. But with the depth and aggressiveness of song composition, it's a competition between the two for your ears. By example, on songs like Come Ease the Pain, Fate of the Blind, or If The Sky Would Fall, the battle is pitched, but the music seems to overwhelm German in the end. Some of this could simply be that this music is basically heavier and hard charging power metal from beginning to end.
What's even more disturbing about this conflict is that it diminishes both sides. It's not that Pascual's vocals or the attending music isn't viable or somewhat interesting. It is, however, merely adequate bombastic Scandi power metal. It's like listening to another incarnation of Narnia, repetition of Divinefire or, to a lesser extent (heaven forbid) ReinXeed. The exceptions could be Seek the Truth and the Spanish language Cancion Con Todos.
Nevertheless, German Pascual is a powerful metal vocalist, any band would be greatly improved with his talent, and A New Beginning is a good, but comfortable, start to his solo career.