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Stream Of Passion - Embrace The Storm CD (album) cover

EMBRACE THE STORM

Stream Of Passion

 

Prog Related

3.87 | 85 ratings

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semismart
Prog Reviewer
4 stars Well Well! What have we here? Something new from Arjen Lucassen, the genius behind Aryeon and other a couple other rock operas.

Of all the musicians I like and I like scores, Arjen Anthony Lucassen (Ayreon, Ambeon, Space Metal) is the ~~COOLEST~~!!! What makes him so cool? Well, besides being cool to look at, he does nothing and I mean nothing, conventionally. Take his previous album, the wondrous, two disc rock opera, The Human Equation, my vote for album of the year. It was recorded entirely with guest singers and musicians. Where were these guests from? Let’s see we have James Le Brie (Dream Theater) Devon Graves (Deadsoul Tribe) and Mike Baker (Shadow Gallery) all from the good ole USA, Mikael Akerfeldt (Opeth) from Sweden, Devin Townsend (Strapping Young Lad) from Canada, Heather Findlay (Mostly Autumn) from UK, Floor Jansen’s sister, Irene Jansen (Karma) Holland and of course Marcela Bovio from Mexico. And that’s not even all of the guest singers let alone any of the musicians.

Marcela is the same Marcela Bovin who is the singer for Lucassen’s latest and first band in ten years, Stream of Passion. Ostensibly the band was created toward and for the purpose of showcasing Marcela’s extreme talents. In addition to featuring Marcela, Arjen also brought in some excellent musicians which to display the collaborative compositions of Lucassen and Bovio.

Embrace the Storm

Surprisingly, even though I rated Embrace the Storm four stars, I find that I am unable to get excited about it. It could be because I had higher expectations and I did have stratospheric expectations. Or it could be a certain lack of consistency and a easygoing approach on many of the songs. Then again it could just be me. I read some other reviews and the lowest was nine out of ten. Still even the highly rated songs do not stay in my memory bank very long.

The music is performed in a medium, slow tempo. Although there seems to be a consensus that the music is progressive rock, I find it to be dark and brooding, more reminiscent of gothic but it is certainly far from goth. Also the length of the songs, the longest being 5:39 do not lend themselves to my definition of progressive rock. It is symphonic but not continuously so. Rather symphonic portions are utilized more for effect and are not sustained.

Some portions and especially the singing are layered, with Marcela, accompanying herself throughout most of the album. This could be a problem with their upcoming tour but they apparently have that covered by the addition of Marcela’s younger sister, Diane to the tour group. Marcela’s voice is pleasant, but it does not appear to be that strong. However, she could be performing the way the music demands.

Highlight Songs

“Passion”: Opens strongly with speeding violins. Basically a lively ballad marked by an intermittent staccato beat: “A dangerous stream of passion Flows through my veins Infecting my mind with madness Blurring my senses My fingers crawl like spiders Caressing the wall In desperate need of screaming”

“Deceiver”: A peppy ballad with a beat. It starts out slow and builds momentum, between quiet parts: ” I am not who you think I am, Soon I’ll be letting you down I am not who you think I am I’m everywhere You think I have been lying, There are secrets That lie frozen in my silent stare ”

“Embrace the Storm”: This song more than any others has the trademark Ayreon sound, Almost like it was left over from The Human Equation: “ A storm is raging around us We feel its majesty The clouds are moving forward Unraveling my hidden thoughts Embrace the storm ”

“Out in the Real World”: Features the most contagious melody on the album. A medium paced melodious rock song with great piano and guitar playing, Best Song: “ I’ve hidden wishes for so long Buried deep inside, Keeping them secret from a world That’ll never realize The way I dream Puedo ver esos ríos de luz Escapar de mi piel, hacia la fantasía Out the real world You are waiting to take my hand ” Song/Track List 1. Spellbound 3:34 (3 ½ stars) 2. Passion 5:20 (4 ½ stars) 3. Deceiver 5:09 (4 ½ stars) 4. I’ll Keep On Dreaming 3:45 (3 stars) 5. Haunted 4:31 (4 stars) 6. Wherever You Are 5:08 (3 ½ stars) 7. Open Your Eyes 5:14 (4 stars) 8. Embrace The Storm 4:12 (4 ½ stars) 9. Breathing Again 3:38 (3 ½ stars) 10. Out In The Real World 4:32 (5 stars) 11. Nostalgia 3:08 (4 stars) 12. Calliopeia 5:39 (3 ½ stars)

Line-up

* Arjen Lucassen - Guitars, Music * Marcela Bovio - Vocals, Lyrics, Violin * Lori Linstruth - Lead Guitars * Johan van Stratum - Bass * Alejandro Millan - Piano * Davy Mickers – Drums

Conclusion

Am I impressed with Arjen Lucassen’s latest release? Not really! Am I disappointed? Maybe, a little. On paper this should have been a blockbuster album and there are those who think that it is, but for me, the sum of the parts fell short of the total of the parts themselves.

That doesn’t mean I didn’t like the album. I did. I gave four songs 4 ½ stars or more and many of the other songs contain exceptional portions. It’s just that to varying degrees, each song, even the five star song, had some boring lapses. Nevertheless, I look forward to hearing their followup album. The potential is still there for a blockbuster. Final rating 3.8

semismart | 4/5 |

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