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EMBRACE THE STORM

Stream Of Passion

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Muzikman
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars After Arjen Anthony Lucassen completed his latest triumph the AYREON rock opera "The Human Equation", he wanted to focus on the many talents of Mexican singer Marcela Bovio, one of the vocalists on the album. Bovio entered and won a vocalist contest through Lucassen's website. The winner would have a chance to sing on the highly successful AYREON rock opera series. As they say in Hollywood, the rest is history, or I probably should say-history in the making. The first band for Lucassen in 10 years, STREAM OF PASSION, is off to great start with their new album "Embrace The Storm". They signed on with Inside Out Music and most recently with BMG. All things are pointing to nothing but success for this exciting progressive rock unit.

I have to say straight away that I am totally hooked on this album. I cannot stop listening to it. Marcela's voice and the music behind her is like a drug, it is so intoxicating you have to keep coming back for more. I have been expounding upon the brilliance of Arjen Luccassen in every review I have ever done, and there have been many mind you. Well, this time I think he has struck gold by taking Bovio and few other choice musicians to form a band that everyone is going to love, whether you are a prog-rock lover or not this music is irresistible. The music is powerful, sweeping, and beautiful all at once, pushing Bovio's vocals and thought provoking lyrics out into the forefront of your thought process. The entire experience is intense as it gets for music.

I know I am focusing on Lucassen and Bovio, with good reason, but they would not be so recognizable with out their band mates, and I am sure they would agree. Lori Linstruth is a good match for Arjen on lead guitar, they play off each other very well, and the rhythm section of Johan van Stratum (bass) and Davy Mickers (drums) are like the rock of Gibraltar. Alejandro Millán provides just the right softness when necessary with the piano and Bovio plays a fine violin furthering the progressive aspects of their sound.

I loved every track but there were a few that gave me chills, like "Haunted" and "Wherever You Are." When Bovio starts whispering in Spanish it just makes you melt. When she keeps singing-wherever you are I will find you, regardless of how beautiful her voice is, there is something inside that tells you she means it, it is eerie.

STREAM OF PASSION has my vote as best new band of the year and I do not think over the next few months there will be another band that comes together that could possibly impress me as much as this. Mark my words, this album will be recognized as one of the best progressive rock albums of the year and classic in a few years. Arjen Lucassen is so smart, he is stepping into the background, and pushing Bovio out front, he knows better than anyone that she is going to be a star; it will not take long, just watch, and listen.

© Keith "MuzikMan" Hannaleck-http://www.muzikreviews.com

September 9, 2005

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Send comments to Muzikman (BETA) | Report this review (#46456)
Posted Monday, September 12, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars The alliance of ghotic and progressive is great...this album gets many new feelings to us, Marcela Bovio has a sublime voice, the rythmic guitars are great and the lead guitar rocks ! This is the new prog metal band of the year, run buy this album !

Arjen Lucassen proved us once again, after the human equation, which it did not miss of ideas and which it could recognize the new talents and to make known them with general public

Arjen, thank you !

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Send comments to DreamT (BETA) | Report this review (#49893)
Posted Monday, October 03, 2005 | Review Permalink
prog.rockster
4 stars Allthough I have read it in many places, Stream Of Passion is not a new blend of Progressive and Gothic. In fact before commenting on this album one should listen to the previous work of both mr Lucassen and Elfonia (the band of Marcela Bovio and Alejandro Millán). It is suprising to see how much of an influence Elfonia is on this Stream Of Passion album. Especially the feel This Sonic Landscape is very present.

Embrace The Storm is a good album, but who would have thought otherwise if Arjen is cooperating (of course his mark is clearly audible)?

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#52373)
Posted Thursday, October 20, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars Forget this is an Arjen Luccasen album. This is the only form of apreciate it. If you are expecting for something like the masterpiece Human Equation, this is not the place. Embrace the Storm is a deception, not progressive music, only metal with some violins and a great voice (Marcela Bovio's one). Like I said, forget this is an Arjen work and you will discover that is a good album. Nothing more, nothing less. Only good. To see the real Lucassen's talent we must wait to the next Ayreon's release.

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Send comments to R_DeNIRO (BETA) | Report this review (#52757)
Posted Saturday, October 22, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars Yup the new excellent project from Arjen Anthony Lucassen features Marcela Bovio the Mexican singer from the last Arjen project; The human equation. This cd also features something so rare as a swedish female lead guitarist with clear inspiration from fellow countryman Yngwie Malmsteen...all in all a quite interesting project.

The first sample i heard from this album was Deceiver which i downloaded from the offical page and at first i found it a bit Nu-metallish and sounded too much like Evanescence and Nightwish and i was afraid that the whole album was going to turn out this way...fourtuneately i was wrong as it turned out this was the albums weakest track...

The first thing that strikes me is that this sounds like a combination of previous side projects from Arjen and mixes elements of both Ambeon and Star One quite nicely...and also a new thing to notice is that this album is completly without keyboards!!! That has to be a first for Arjen and instead you get a real piano and Cello's and violins's, OH MY!!! The overall feel of this album is not that that heavy and it is about 60% melodic and slow parts and 40% metallish parts, infact i find a quite nice blend as Marcelas best moments are when her voice can really shine over some beautiful piano riff like forexample the extraordinary Nostalgia which is sung in spanish. But also her voice works great on pieces like Passion which has a great dramatic element to it althouh it perhaps sound a bit power metallish. All in all there is not a single really weak track on this album and most of the songs manage to stay fairly original although you can recognize the typical Arjen compositary techniques. And also this is the first time in a long time where there is an actual band and by so you can expect some concerts from this band in 2006.

I got the special editon of this cd wich includes a DVD with a music video for passion and some demo's and some videos of the different musicians playing their parts. Unlike the Human Equation DVD which was really interesting and you could get an idea about the great process behind the album this is an really uniinteresting DVD which is not something that you would like to watch again...I frankly recommend to buy just the regular editon as this DVD provides nothing interesting.

Standout tracks: Passion, Nostalgia and Breathing Again

If you like this also try out: Ambeon and ofcourse The Human Equation by Ayreon

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Send comments to Lindsay Lohan (BETA) | Report this review (#54486)
Posted Thursday, November 03, 2005 | Review Permalink
santander8a@h
5 stars This new project by Arjen Lucassen is a totally new concept done with exceptional timing, I mean he close his rock opera era with his best one (the human equation) and starts with a marvelous short songs album that makes you remember a lot of Anathema but with the precious voice of Marcela Bovio. It sure is the album of the year and as the bannd name's says, it unchains a stream of passion

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#55340)
Posted Tuesday, November 08, 2005 | Review Permalink
sickmadness@y
4 stars First of all: do not confuse this album with any Ayreon's... his infuence is strong but not decisive. Arjen mixed (very wisely I must say) different musicians with different background, so what you hear is actually Ayreon's music on Marcela's words, played in a particular way. It's even difficult to classify all the kinds of music you'll find in Embrace the Storm: soft rock, hard rock, gothic/dark... a perfect mix I must say.

Highly recommended!

PS: By the way Marcela sings wonderfully, her voice is something unbelievable.

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#55659)
Posted Wednesday, November 09, 2005 | Review Permalink
FloydWright
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Before you read any further, please take care to notice what category this album is in: Prog-Related. Therefore claims of "lacking progginess" only amount to so much. Anyway, it is true that STREAM OF PASSION's first album, Embrace the Storm, has more popular elements than most of ARJEN LUCASSEN's works.

First we'll deal with the bad news. The songs tend to run short--none reaches the 6-minute mark, and the other real weakness in my mind is that MARCELA BOVIO wrote the lyrics...and they're pretty much the kind of lovey-dovey/angsty stuff you'd expect to be written by a woman (this comes from a female reviewer). They're not unpleasant, but be ready to ignore them if you're looking for something more serious. I might have also recommended that one or two songs not be on here. Probably a lot would've been solved by cutting "Nostalgia", which isn't bad at all, but by that point it just gets a little bit old. Dedicated LUCASSEN fan that I am, I find myself looking at BOVIO as the reason for this--her voice doesn't really vary in timbre, and her lyrics don't give you much to hold on to over the course of the album.

However, now that I have all of the bad news out of the way, let's move on to the good news, and there's a lot of it to be found!

First, MARCELA BOVIO's voice is outstanding. Don't let yourself be scared by the idea of female-fronted metal or hard-rock bands like NIGHTWISH--BOVIO could sing circles around TARJA TURUNEN any day. The song "Deceiver" does better than any other on the album in showing off her full vocal range, which proves her an effective singer in both lower and higher registers. Turning to "Breathing Again," I'm not sure why, but I particularly like her delivery of the line "what so many long for" throughout the song.

Also, if we must consider this album pop, or pop-inspired, then this is pop with real musicianship unlike most of what's out there. LUCASSEN himself plays rhythm guitars and throughout the album proves he can really rock, especially on the heaviest tracks like "Haunted". The lead guitarist, LORI LINSTRUTH, proves (in spite of BOVIO's lyrics!) that girls really can rock--she'd be perfectly at home among fast-playing guitarists like MICHAEL J. ROMEO and JOHN PETRUCCI, and time will certainly continue to improve her skills. But she isn't a one-sided guitarist by any means--she also proves she can play soulfully in songs like "Open Your Eyes", where she summons a Jeff Beck-like weeping-wailing sound from her guitar. Finally, I found myself really appreciating the subtle touch of ALEJANDRO MILLAN's piano on tracks like "Passion" (you'll need headphones to detect it during the chorus) and "Calliopeia", where the effect is more obvious.

Some of the songs feature sounds that you've probably never heard on AYREON albums--such as the distorted-sounding drums that open and close the album. Also, the string accompaniments take on a more strongly Eastern flavoring than I've ever heard LUCASSEN sustain for a real length of time on any AYREON album, especially on tracks like "Passion" and "Calliopeia". And yes...there is the AYREON resemblance on some songs--some of the heavy songs are a bit reminiscent of "Tower of Hope," although not making any direct borrowings. The resemblance is stronger on the string riff in "Passion", but most obviously on "Embrace the Storm," which could almost be "Carried by the Wind, Part II". That's not a bad thing, though--I enjoy that song a lot, and by the end when you hear all of the strange combinations and permutations on the string riff in the chorus, you can tell it's its own piece.

Overall, I give this album a 3.5--but this is the kind of 3.5 that comes with a "very strong buy" recommendation if you think you can deal with the little issues. Still, I'm very happy to round it up to a 4. And especially if you're a fan of LUCASSEN, you will want this album in your collection.

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Send comments to FloydWright (BETA) | Report this review (#60319)
Posted Wednesday, December 14, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars This is the latest project of Arjen Lucassen (AYREON) he was so impressed by the young mexican singer Marcela Bovio who was on his HUMAN EQUATION cd that he invented Stream of Passion just for her(and dont forget she have her own band ( ELFONIA).It is good not a masterpiece and not essential to your collection but a very good buy.You could say it's a mix between AYREON- PORCUPNE TREE AND NIGHTWISH.If you want to be sure before buying it just listen on the net tomorow night (thursday between 8:30 and 9:00) at www.yantz.com/lavilla or www.chuo.fm I will play about 25 min of this album on my radio show.So 3.5 stars to this good cd. POTS

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Send comments to pots (BETA) | Report this review (#67835)
Posted Wednesday, February 01, 2006 | Review Permalink
moi@noisserge
3 stars As the last reviewer said, It's not a masterpiece, your progressive music collection do not need it absolutly, but it's an very very good album anyway. Before I bought EMBRACE THE STORM, I listen 2 or 3 sample and I didn't like it. But I finaly took my credit card and order the album anyway. It's really sounding great when I listen to it and change my mind about Lucassen and Marcela lastest effort.

Nice job

3.5/5

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#67846)
Posted Wednesday, February 01, 2006 | Review Permalink
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

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Send comments to semismart (BETA) | Report this review (#73714)
Posted Friday, March 31, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars I had a lot of expectations when this came out, and most of them were met. Arjen showed he could write in a straight forward rock type of way, which he had done little off in the past. He was able to show off my favorite female vocalist Marcela Bovio wonderfully, and her performance just takes the album to wonderful heights at times. Lori provides good guitar solo's, overall not as good as they could have been, but not bad either. In all my one major complaint is a shock is it is the first time I have been able to say it aboot anything Arjen has done... if you hear one song you've heard basically the album. Each song has it's own characterists of course, but a general musical union throughout the album, mixed with poor production by Arjen's standard left the album monotone. Still, there is a lot of excellent music there, and vocals to die for, and so this album gets a 4/5.

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Send comments to Xanadu3737 (BETA) | Report this review (#79646)
Posted Sunday, May 28, 2006 | Review Permalink
ClemofNazareth
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Folk Researcher
4 stars It will be interesting to see how this project pans out over time, this arrangement with Marcela Bovio acting in the role of the angelic vocal muse for Arjen Anthony Lucassen. It is an appealing and promising combination, first heard on Ayreon’s The Human Equation, and fleshed out here with a dozen very solid works showcasing Bovio’s voice and Lucassen’s guitar and production skills.

The album has been called progressive gothic, goth metal, whatever. As with pretty much anything Lucassen attaches his name to, convenient labels do not do it justice. There are certainly metal tendencies, along with the pompous use of strings, piano, and Lucassen’s own excellent guitar, but this is not a metal album. It is certainly not a gothic one. The mood is rather dark and foreboding at times, but it’s just too hard of a reach to attach the kind of fatalistic and negative connotations of goth to a voice like Bovio’s.

What is served up here is a fairly unique sound, at least unique to the ever-broadening world of Lucassen. There are five things that make this album work (in no particular order): Marcela Bovio’s voice, Lucassen’s guitar, Bovio’s violin, Alejandro Millán’s piano, and Davy Mickers’ drums. I contend these guys could have been covering old cinema show tunes and they would have come off as brilliant given the makeup of the project team and Lucassen’s astute production skills. This is above all an extremely well- produced album, with crisp, clean sounds that come off as smooth as silk but undoubtedly required a great deal of patient work in the studio.

There are a few songs that stand out above the others, but none of them are wasted on the album or fail to stand on their own. The one that comes closest interestingly enough is the opening “Spellbound”, which sets the tone for the rest of the album but is itself pretty much unremarkable.

“Deceiver” has a straight-ahead and appealing rhythm that frames the guitars and Bovio’s voice perfectly, and the driving violin and piano make this a potential hit single straight off. Transitional tempo changes like the one leading into “I’ll Keep on Dreaming” serve to give the album more of contiguous body-of-work feel than that of a collection of unrelated songs (which on closer inspection is what it actually appears to be). The slower latter song itself transitions well into the syncopated beat and spoken-word Spanish lyrics of “Haunted”. This is a quiet but tense tune, just kind of fading away into “Wherever You Are” which itself starts off mildly enough but picks up steam with driving twin guitars and soaring violin before dropping away into “Open Your Eyes”.

“Open Your Eyes” has a similar arrangement to the two songs that precede it, but here Lucassen and fellow guitarist Lori Linstruth express themselves much more on guitar, and Bovio’s vocal range is really showcased well. This one ends with the only really abrupt mood change on the album, as one is expecting a musical explosion instead of the quick fade we get.

The title track includes the most extensive use of strings, with cello adding depth to the violin. This is one of the stronger tracks on the album.

“Breathing Again” gives heavy emphasis to Bovio, with soaring vocals accompanied by pretty simple piano and sparse strings, the only real instrumental meat coming on guitar.

The best is saved for last with the remaining three tracks. “Out in the Real World” is pretty close to the perfect song in my mind, at least as far as this group of musicians is concerned. The overall tempo is set by a driving drum beat, heavy bass, and a very aggressive cello, and is augmented by Bovio herself on violin and once again the twin attack of Lucassen and Linstruth with some excellent guitar. Bovio’s voice here is ever- so-slightly reminiscent of Tarja Turunen, but so much stronger and more emotive that the realization of the strength of this voice is a bit overwhelming. The cacophonous and abrupt ending is just beautiful.

The mood on “Nostalgia” is what one would expect given the title, slow, poignant, with plain and gorgeous piano and Bovio enhancing the experience by switching again to her native tongue. This is a short song but serves to give separation between the brilliant “Out in the Real World” and the also wonderful but more intense “Calliopeia” to close the album. This one is a heavier guitar work, but again the appealing tempo and very pleasant string arrangements.

Like I said at the beginning, it will be interesting to see where this project leads. This group has the potential for a long and very successful career together, and to leave a legacy of great music some day. But given the ever-expanding nature of Lucassen’s music forays, and the undoubtedly strong personalities and egos in this talented assemblage, it will be surprising if they manage to stay together long enough to put together even a couple more strong follow-ups to Embrace the Storm. Regardless, pick this one up and enjoy the experience while it lasts. Four stars.

peace

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Send comments to ClemofNazareth (BETA) | Report this review (#81879)
Posted Saturday, June 24, 2006 | Review Permalink
memowakeman
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars All of you know that this is the latest Arjen Lucassen`s project, after a masterpiece called The Human Equation, when he introduced Marcela Bovio in a recognizable album, i think he was pleased with her contribution, at the point that they gathered again to make a new project which features besides they both, Alejandro Millan in keys (friend and mate of Marcela in Elfonia), Lori Lindstruh taking the lead guitar, Davy Mickers on drums and Johan van Straum in bass.

I have seen lately some opinions about this album, or better said about the project, so many critics because this is not a metal project, this is only a comercial band, using as pretext the success of Marcela and Arjen in Ayreon`s last album,and some might say that is awful or great i dont know, as always everyone has it`s own opinion, every mind is a world.

When i knew about this project i was quite interested because i like Ayreon and some other Arjen`s projects, but actually i was more convinced because of Marcela Bovio, besides being mexican and beautiful, her voice has controlled my ears since the first time i listen to her, it could be similar to other goth metal female singers, but i loved her since the first note (honestly i knew first The Human Equation than Elfonia), and that was my main reason to get this album, now the review.

"Spellbound", great song to open an album, i have the whim of repeat it always, if you are expecting some metal and heavy tones, this is not what you ask for, but otherwise you might enjoy it, an introduction to Marcela`s world.

"Passion" im not sure but i think it was the first "single", or at least the first song with a video available in it`s official website, that`s a great song, the first where we can appreciate for the first time all the music and what can instruments do in the album, one of my favorite songs, great guitar solos and some little violin tunes.

"Deceiver" is another great song, im sure this is the favorite of several people, i love that line "i am not who you think i am", and again not, this is not metal, it has it`s guitar solos and crescendos, but nothing more, musically is not the best, but in fact, this album doesn`t have much musical requirement, therefore i dont like bass player work, so easy and for me the worst aspect of the band.

"I`ll keep on dreaming" it`s a nice song, nothing new, a balad which enchant us again with that beautiful voice.

"Haunted" has a darker sound, in fact i think it`s beggining is great, hearing a dark and continuous violin sound, while Marcela is "speaking" like a narration, but another point is that she uses both spanish and english languages, for me that`s quite nice, also because of her pronountiation (take for example Mars Volta`s singer, he speaks hoooorribly spanish), me as a spanish speaker like to hear it so much, also the song is great, all the mood and background its great but bass, i dont really like the linse that he uses.

"Wherever you are" it`s another nice song which blend some poppish tunes with hints of a supposed metal, i mean that because it has some little changes of soft to heavier sound.

"Open your Eyes", what can i say about this song, musically is an average song, but the voice, OMG.

"Embrace the Storm" is the only song that immediately reminds me Ayreon, the exact point is when she finishes to sing Embrace the Stoooorm" that part is totally Ayreonaut and it`s great because it shows us that Arje has not forgotten his roots and ambitions, anyway this project was a new ambition for him i think.

"Breathing Again" is another weaker song i think, despite it`s beautiful Marcela`s performance, i think this sweet song is not the best by far, here we can appreciate also a little bit of Millan`s work in piano.

"Out in the Real World" is probably nowadays the best known song of them and the most enjoyable, i really love that song, it doesnt have complexity or something but its sucha great sound, and again i love the part when vocals in english and spanish gathere together.

"Nostalgia", thw whole song has lyrics on spanish, so maybe i can feel familiarized and identified with it, musically it`s the softer song of thr album, but again Marcela`s voice makes us feel like heaven, telling us why Arjen was impressed and pleased with her work, he always chooses great musicians to his projects, normally he is not wrong with his choices, this time neither but Johan van Straum, i dont have anything agains him, but honestly his bass playing here is weak weak weak.

"Calliopeia" is finishing the album and the review, its the end of a fantastic and different Arjen`s project, as i have said dont expect metal and powerful songs, but give it a chance if you want it.

After all that points its clear that i like this album so much, as clear that i dont like the bass sound, and as clear as i love Marcela Bovio voice, a different album, a different image, great but never a masterpiece, much less a progressive rock masterpiece which is why are we all here, but in my opinion it culd be a nice addition to any prog fan.

See you soon!

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Send comments to memowakeman (BETA) | Report this review (#83193)
Posted Saturday, July 08, 2006 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars 4.5 stars. This record reminded me of both "Nighttime Birds" and "Mandylion" by THE GATHERING, only this is better. Anneke and Marcela are my two favourite female vocalists, and I think what makes this record by STREAM OF PASSION stand above the two THE GATHERING records ( for me anyway) is the intense, powerful playing of all the musicians.Three guitarists will do that, especially a bass player who plays such a throbbing in your face bass line on most of the songs. I laughed when I saw written on the liner notes "no synths", i'm sure a reference to when QUEEN did the same thing on their record many years ago. The point being this is hard, raw rock and roll.

The record starts off with "Spellbound", opening with a cool drum intro, accompanied with piano.Then the beautiful, spellbinding vocals of Marcela greet our ears for the first time on this album. This is an intense and powerful song. "Passion" may be my favourite on this album, a heavy tune with crushing riffs and beautiful vocals, reminding me of the "Nighttime Birds" record . "Deceiver" features a deep rumbling bass line, giving a dark, ominous feel to the song. Powerful riffs, piano and violin each play their part in this standout track.

"Haunted' is an emotional, powerful song. Again the bass is throbbing away as a guitar solo tries to play over top of it, later the drums and bass create an intense undercurrent of sound. "Where Ever You Are" is another reminder for me of Anneke's vocals. As Marcela sings gently her vocals are crushed by an uncomprimising riff. Again killer bass playing and a scorching guitar solo. More great guitar solos on "Open Your Eyes", an emotional, uplifting tune, contrasting the heavy and light sounds. "Embrace The Storm" is a catchy song with Marcela's angelic vocals and incredible guitar melodies. "Nostalgia" is sung in Spanish and features a cello solo, this song is beautiful. The final song "Calliopeia" features piano, violin melodies, thunderous bass lines and some more scorching guitar.It's all good!

To sum it up, this is a great combination of beautiful vocals and powerful, heavy instrumental music.

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Send comments to Mellotron Storm (BETA) | Report this review (#97171)
Posted Sunday, November 05, 2006 | Review Permalink
evenless
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars I think most AYREONAUTS know the story. Arjen Lucassen is always very open minded in seeking new talent and he had placed a kind of a contest on his website. Of course, many tapes and cd's were returned to his address. The winner would win nothing less than a place in his forthcoming rock opera at the time: "The Human Equation"

One of the female vocalists really stood out; it was Mexican singer Marcela Bovio. We know the rest. This is how Marcela ended up on AYREON's "Human Equation" project. But what would happen to all this talent after Arjen had finished his latest AYREON project. There were two things that he really wanted: 1) he wanted to continue working with the very talented Marcela and 2) he wanted to form a band for the first time again in ten years. Arjen also found a talented Dutch drummer through a musician's contest. And an American female guitarist residing in Sweden. Finally he added a Mexican pianist and a Dutch bass player and "Stream Of Passion" was created.

I guess the name "Stream Of Passion" was an easy pick as Marcela sings with so much passion in her voice. So what can we say about SoP? Is it a true band or is it just another AYREON project with now just a female singer to sing all the tracks opposed to many different singers? I personally think it is a bit of both. With "Embrace the Storm" every band member had his or her own inputs. They were all communicating, writing and bringing in idea's for this new project. However: on the SoP double album "Live in the Real World" (also available on DVD) SoP also brings quite a few AYREON songs. I personally like all of Arjen's work, so for me that really works, but I can imagine to others it could feel a bit like a "sell-out".

Back to the album: what can I say more? If you like AYREON, AMBEON and STAR ONE you will most probably love this album by SoP as well! (Like I do).

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Send comments to evenless (BETA) | Report this review (#109394)
Posted Monday, January 29, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars Stream of Passion was formed in the wake of Ayreon's The Human Equation, the album on which Arjen Lucassen first used Mexican vocalist Marcela Bovio. The band was formed mostly to give Arjen Lucassen an alternate musical outlet for which he could use to emphasize Bovio's beautiful soprano vocals. From what I remember reading, the music was primarily composed by Lucassen, while the lyrics were written predominantly by Bovio.

Given the direction of the album, I feel that devoting an entire paragraph to the lead vocalist is meritorious. Marcela Bovio is among the most talented vocalists I've ever heard. Not only does she have a rather impressive range, but she also has one of the most emotive voices I've ever heard. Given that the album is focused on proving this, it shouldn't come at any surprise that several vocal effects are employed. In a number of tracks employ the usage of layered vocalists, "Out in the Real World" being a prime example of this.

The best tracks are "Open Your Eyes" and "Breathing Again," where I feel Bovio's greatest vocal moments occur, along with "Passion" and "Out in the Real World," both of which eventually were used for videos the band produced. There aren't any bad tracks on the album, nor were there any that floored me upon listening. While Bovio's voice is undoubtedly very impressive, I feel the music is rather lacking and disinteresting compared to Arjen's work with Ayreon. For this reason, I can't give this album any more than three stars.

To anyone who enjoys this CD, I would recommend Ayreon's Into the Electric Castle and The Human Equation, along with Bovio's own band Elfonia, whose album This Sonic Soundscape features equally beautiful vocals but more impressive musical content.

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Send comments to CaptainWafflos (BETA) | Report this review (#110608)
Posted Saturday, February 03, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars Firs album from this Lucassen band, and now, not more from him because he leave it with lori and millan, but besides this, the band still remains, and they are going to start making a new album soon.

Besides this information, Im not a Lucassen fan, and I dont like almost any of his Ayreon albums (except Human equation, that is only a good album for me).

This album was sort of a small surprise for me, a nice work, and the most remarcable thing are the Marcela Bovio voices, really beautiful and sweet, this gives to the album a different point of view.

Despite its not a very complicated album, and its really simple in some parts of it, its a nice work, enjoyable.

Nothing more to say, interesting album, and the voices are the most important topic of it.

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Send comments to Nash (BETA) | Report this review (#114723)
Posted Friday, March 09, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars NO FRONTIERS

This album proves that music is limitless and that talented artists, no matter where they come from, can work together as a team and achieve interesting things, no matter how they call or tag the result. And I'm saying this because I really don't mind if what they play is Gothic Metal, Prog Metal, Progressive Pop Rock with a metal edge or whatever it is, is very good ROCK. Being from very different countries and cultures I'm amazed about how good these guys managed to fusion their talents and creativity.

Although we all know Arjen Lucassen is the mastermind and creator of the music, the other members play a very important role in this project. You can clearly hear the influence of Marcela and Alejandro from the Mexican band Elfonía in SoP. Also the rhythmic part is very dominant in the music as the base of the heaviness of the band, and the female leader guitar player Lori, plays with passion and has an impressive stage presence (I had the luck to see them live last year).

Some of the songs have the characteristic stamp of Ayreon's sound like "Passion", "Embrace the Storm" or "Calliopeia" and some others with the trade mark of Elfonía like "I´ll Keep On Dreaming", "Breathing Again" or "Nostalgia" and some tracks that sound different of what they´ve done before like "Haunted" or "Open Your Eyes" and even some with a pop approach like "Out In The Real World". This album for sure will delight all the Ayreon followers and fans of melodic metal, and specially, fans of the sweet and yet powerful voice of Marcela Bovio (like I am). A great CD with lots of energy and nostalgic moments from time to time, very good balanced and performed.

4 stars.

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Send comments to FranMuzak (BETA) | Report this review (#132872)
Posted Sunday, August 12, 2007 | Review Permalink
UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Embrace The Storm is the debut album from multinational female fronted heavy metal act Stream of Passion. Stream of Passion is another one of Arjen Anthony Lucassen´s ( Ayreon, Ambeon, Star One) projects and features musicians from as different countries as The Netherlands, USA, Mexico and Brazil. The music is build around Mexican female vocalist Marcela Bovio´s beautiful voice. Arjen discovered her and she guested on Ayreon´s The Human Equation album from 2004.

The music is very traditional heavy metal/pop/rock structured and I wouldn´t say that I find this album progressive at all, so even putting it in the Prog-Related catagory is stretching the definition of what is progressive IMO. The only reason for adding Stream of Passion is that Arjen Anthony Lucassen is involved. The songs have chugging heavy metal riffs and lots of melodic elements both in the guitar playing and the omnipresent piano motifs but it´s Marcela Bovio´s melodic melody lines and emotional vocal performance that everything evolves around. The music is not as symphonic as the usual projects from Arjen, but there´s still an unmistakable Arjen flavour to many of the songs. The overall sound is pretty grand.

The songs are very formulaic in structure and you´ll have to look other places for challenging musical experiences. You get what you hear and nothing more. Melodic female fronted heavy metal. Stream of Passion sometimes remind me of Evanescence and that comparison is only strengthened because of the similarities between Marcela Bovio´s and Amy Lee´s voices. All songs are of high compositional quality which is no surprise when Arjen is involved, but the album seriously lack in variation and highlights.

The musicianship is one of the greatest assets on Embrace The Storm as all musicians are well playing and accomplished. The performances are strong but nothing out of the ordinary for the style though.

The production is a typical well crafted and professional modern heavy metal production. Sharp and clean.

Objectively seen this is a good album, but I can´t say I enjoy it much on a personal level. It´s simply the style of music played that is a bit too generic IMO. Among the hundreds of other female led heavy metal acts out there Stream of Passion is just another one IMO. It´s not that I´m happy about it but I can´t give Embrace The Storm less than a 3 star rating because of the high musical quality.

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Send comments to UMUR (BETA) | Report this review (#194362)
Posted Friday, December 19, 2008 | Review Permalink
Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Metal Team
4 stars This woman-fronted gothic metal thing has certainly been done before, but the songs are so good and the execution is so perfect that it stands as the best album in the genre after the Gathering.

Stream of Passion finds Arjen Lucassen in a more straightforward format. There's none of the lyrical excesses or the pompous orchestration of his main project Ayreon. Nor will you find any traces of that band's operetta / musical approach. Instead we get treated to cleverly composed 5-minute songs, sung by an angel and pressed forward by an endless parade of catchy metal guitar grooves. The execution actually outshines the Gathering's Mandylion and Nighttime Birds by a few miles and can be seen as a musical perfection of what they were up to on those albums.

But, because I had to mention the Gathering already 5 or 6 times in this little review, I can never grant this album 5 starts. Stream of Passion surely delivered a landmark album in this little gothic-metal-with-a-spoonful-of-prog niche but it's not the milestone that - you know who by now ? released on us more then 10 years earlier.

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Send comments to Bonnek (BETA) | Report this review (#238258)
Posted Wednesday, September 09, 2009 | Review Permalink

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