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The Gentle Storm

Crossover Prog

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The Gentle Storm The Diary album cover
3.97 | 51 ratings | 1 reviews | 24% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 2015

Songs / Tracks Listing

CD 1:

01. Endless Sea (Gentle Version) [5:59]
02. Heart of Amsterdam (Gentle Version) [6:36]
03. The Greatest Love (Gentle Version) [4:08]
04. Shores of India (Gentle Version) [6:40]
05. Cape of Storms (Gentle Version) [5:28]
06. The Moment (Gentle Version) [6:08]
07. The Storm (Gentle Version)[5:55]
08. Eyes of Michiel (Gentle Version) [3:56]
09. Brightest Light (Gentle Version)[4:46]
10. New Horizons (Gentle Version) [5:24]
11. Epilogue: The Final Entry (Gentle Version) [2:02]

Total Time: 57:02

CD 2:

01. Endless Sea (Storm Version) [5:53]
02. Heart of Amsterdam (Storm Version) [6:37]
03. The Greatest Love (Storm Version) [3:57]
04. Shores of India (Storm Version)[6:24]
05. Cape of Storms (Storm Version) [5:32]
06. The Moment (Storm Version) [6:10]
07. The Storm (Storm Version) [5:58]
08. Eyes of Michiel (Storm Version) [4:00]
09. Brightest Light (Storm Version) [4:54]
10. New Horizons (Storm Version) [5:25]
11. Epilogue: The Final Entry (Storm Version) [2:03]

Total Time: 55:53

Line-up / Musicians

Arjen Anthony Lucassen - Acoustic Bass, Electric Guitar, Acoustic guitar, Banjo, Dulcimer, Percussion, Mandolin,
Anneke van Giersbergen - Vocals, Lyrics
Ed Warby - Drums
Johan van Stratum - Bass
Jeroen Goossens - Recorders, Recorder, Bansuri, Bullroarer, Contrabassoon, Didgeridoo, English Horn, Flutes, Oboe, Sampoņa, Shakuhachi, Whistles

Michael Mills - Irish Bouzouki
Maaike Peterse - Cello
Hinse Mutter - Double Bass
Jenneke de Jonge - French Horn
Joost van den Broek - Grand Piano
Rob Snijders - Percussion
Jack Pisters - Sitar
Remco Helbers - Surbahar
Nathanael van Zuilen - Tablas
Ben Mathot - Violin
Epic Rock Choir - Choir

Releases information

Double CD
Label: Inside Out Music

Thanks to octopus-4 for the addition
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THE GENTLE STORM The Diary ratings distribution

(51 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(24%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(55%)
Good, but non-essential (18%)
Collectors/fans only (2%)
Poor. Only for completionists (2%)

THE GENTLE STORM The Diary reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Aussie-Byrd-Brother
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Rock Progressivo Italiano Team
4 stars 2015 saw Dutch multi-instrumentalist Arjen Anthony Lucassen of Ayreon fame collaborate with ex- The Gathering female singer Anneke van Giersbergen on an ambitious and lavish symphonic concept album entitled `The Diary', with the pair credited here as The Gentle Storm. The name could not be more appropriate, as the duo deliver a mix of acoustic storytelling folk with hard-hitting guitars, although not necessarily at the same time! The album is actually offered in two contrasting interpretations in the one package, a `gentle' version that presents the pieces in a prettier and frequently orchestrated format, and a `storm' version of the same core tracks that adds the heavier rock guitars perhaps more associated with Lucassen. The eleven pieces on offer are sophisticated and evocative as opposed to the overly technical and complex arrangements of his Ayreon works, and it offers a nice change of pace for the musician, as well as a fruitful pairing up together with Van Giersbergen.

`The Diary' tells a love story set in the Seventeenth century by way of journal entries, resulting in songs taking on the form of gothic, romantic and historical literature through the ages. In many ways, the `gentle' disc is the most appropriate version, and fans of those wonderful shorter tracks that often appeared between the epics on the classic Seventies era of British female-led symphonic group Renaissance will find much to similarly enjoy here. Tales of seafaring voyages to the East and West, merchant trading, births and deaths and loves won and lost all feature, conveyed by instruments as diverse as flute, recorder, cello, violin, mandolin and whistles, even tabla and sitar, but with welcome guitar and keyboards throughout as well.

Looking at some of the highlights, Anneke's voice trills sweet and wistful yet gently melancholic throughout opener `Endless Sea' behind midnight hour violin laced with eerie unease and haunting mystery, with a carefully operatic and lightly theatrical finale. Violin and ravishing acoustic guitar themes prance joyfully throughout `Heart of Amsterdam' (Anneke successfully channels a very similar tone to Renaissance's Annie Haslam in just a few fleeting moments here, and in choice little spots throughout the entire album!), and listen out for the spirited flute and violin instrumental duel in the middle that would have been right at home on plenty of vintage Italian prog albums of the Seventies! Eastern themes unsurprisingly ripple through `Shores of India' by way of groaning sitar, droning tabla and Anneke's hypnotic multi-tracked vocals, and when `The Moment' moves into an extended passage of whistles, piano and dazzling harpsichord it provides one of the more overtly prog-flavoured moments of the album that convincingly sounds like a lost Renaissance classic.

The `Storm' version adds heavier guitars to the same set of songs (yet very rarely reaches the "full- on metal assault" that the boast on the front cover claims!), often giving them a heightened tension and intensity. The fiery and exquisite `The Greatest Love' was already deeply romantic, but the added heavy guitars crunching in unison with the searing violin themes give the piece an added chest-beating conviction, and truthfully both versions rank as one of the most striking moments of the album overall. `The Storm's aching violin, beckoning gothic croons and snapping electric guitar bite takes on a bombastic and urgent flair, `Brightest Light' has a nice strident kick to it that wouldn't have sounded out of place on the earlier Ayreon albums, and the reaching electric guitars and choir middle passage of `New Horizons' briefly reminds of early Seventies Queen (and what a heart-stirring hopeful chorus).

The two different presentations of the album are fascinating, both equally valid and offering their own merits. With the `gentle' version, there's definitely a couple of moments that would have benefitted from the extra drama that the heavier adaption offers, and there's also moments of the `Storm' version that sound a little immature by falling back on some pretty generic heavy chugging guitars, so it will be up to the individual listener to discover which version resonates with them the most. Feel free to make a pick-n-mix compilation of your preferred versions once you've given them both several good spins!

Admittedly throughout both versions an occasional sense of sameness creeps in here and there, and many of the tracks have a similar `verse-chorus-instrumental passage-chorus' pattern, but there's no denying the sumptuousness and sophistication on display, with beautiful passionate singing and rich evocative musicianship surrounding it. It would be great if the duo get the chance to experiment a little more on a future release with longer and even more challenging compositions, so hopefully a positive response from listeners will see the Gentle Storm becoming a proper project as opposed to a mere teasing one-off! But it's a lovely album as it stands anyway, and Arjen Anthony Lucassen, Anneke van Giersbergen and their musical guests here should all be immensely proud of their efforts.

Four stars - and if you really want to spoil yourself, look into one of the exquisite vinyl sets available!

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