Rating:
9.0
Stream Of Passion - Embrace The Storm
24 October 2005


Disc I [CD]
01. Spellbound
02. Passion
03. Deceiver
04. I'll Keep On Dreaming
05. Haunted
06. Wherever You Are
07. Open Your Eyes
08. Embrace The Storm
09. Breathing Again
10. Out In The Real World
11. Nostalgia
12. Calliopeia

Disc II [DVD]
+ Making Of "Embrace The Storm"
+ Passion [video]
+ Behind The Scenes
+ Drumming Calliopeia
+ Trailer
+ Demo Recordings Of "Embrace The Storm" [Acoustic version]
    1 - Spellbound
    2 - Passion
    3 - Deceiver
    4 - I'll Keep On Dreaming
    5 - Haunted
    6 - Wherever You Are
    7 - Open Your Eyes
    8 - Embrace The Storm
    9 - Breathing Again
    10 - Out In The Real World
    11 - Nostalgia
    12 - Calliopeia


Stream Of Passion is another project of Arjen Anthony Lucassen, the restless mind of Ayreon. Only this time he has gathered a full band around him consisting of young and mostly unknown talents. Some have made their wider appearance, like Alejandro Millán with Elfonía, Marcela Bovio with Elfonía and last Ayreon album "The Human Equation," and Lori Linstruth with all-female melodic metal band Warbride. But for all of them this release is a big step in the world of music.

When Stream Of Passion with Marcela on lead vocals was announced some expected a sequel to Ambeon; but, as Arjen's musical career has proven, every release goes its own way. Furthermore, because Stream Of Passion is a band there is input from each band member and this is a big accomplishment on its own as some of them live an ocean apart. This is impressive considering that the result is a naturally flowing album.

Because of Arjen and because Arjen's music has influenced each member of the band, there is a very distinct Ayreonish feeling to the album. Knowing Arjen's music pretty well it was pleasant to find familiar passages throughout the entire album: a riff or a drum pattern here, a vocal melody, bass-lines or piano there. You'll find elements practically from any Ayreon album, starting with "The Final Experiment" ending with "The Human Equation" and Ambeon's "Fate of a Dreamer." Yet, this is not a reworked album like "Fate of a Dreamer." The only common thing with the latter is the atmosphere: it feels complete. Most of the Ayreon albums have so many themes and variations in the overall feeling that you don't get to enjoy each of them long. In Ambeon's case the sense of completeness was achieved with ambiance, Stream Of Passion on the other hand explores the darker feeling of the music. A good description would be the autumn weather: dark, somewhat lonely and calm, yet always on the brink of the storm.

"Embrace the Storm" is a very solid album and the musicianship is outstanding. One would imagine that having young talents could influence the outcome but they are called talents because, well, they are talented. Each one of them does a great job: Johan van Stratum on bass makes the bass more evident than Arjen usually does it on Ayreon albums; Davy Mickers is clearly influenced by none other than Ed Warby, having similar drumming style, crisp and precise; Lori Linstruth is one very talented lady on guitars, her amazing solos at times clear, at times dirtier than Arjen's and the melodies still beautiful and flowing; Alejandro Millán on piano adds a touch of beauty to the atmosphere, as well as haunting feeling. But most impressive is Marcela Bovio. "The Human Equation" already proved that she has an amazing voice but this album shows that she is even better, she's outstanding. I will restrain myself from mentioning the tall guy, Arjen, as he wished to keep himself more in the background on this album. Still he's the one on rhythm guitars and he it is who put it all together, so he can't really be discarded.

It's hard to find favourite tracks on this album. As I already said, the album is solid and it's the conquering sort: you listen to it and then you listen to it again and again... and before you even know you have it spinning constantly and it slowly crawls into your head and refuses to come out. At the moment I like most "Haunted," "Open Your Eyes," the very Ayreon influenced title track "Embrace the Storm," and "Out in the Real World." But I would expect the preferences to change, the album is just too fresh in my mind.

In conclusion I'd like to point out that there is no sense in comparing Stream Of Passion with other female fronted bands like Within Temptation or After Forever. The music is just different. There was a joke that having conquered the Prog metal scene Arjen moved on to conquer Gothic metal. This time it is not yet so. I would keep this album listed as Prog metal with various influences, Gothic among others. But leaving the categorization aside, this release is running for the big prizes. I just hope I can manage to see the band kick live.


Band profile: Stream Of Passion
Album: Embrace The Storm


 



Written on 17.10.2005 by
Ivor
I shoot people.

Sometimes, I also write about it.
More reviews by Ivor ››



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zagibu - 07.06.2009 at 18:37  
The last paragraph is important in this review, especially, because they seem to have lost what made them special somehow. The Flame Within sounds very bland compared to Embrace the Storm.
mismoree - 22.08.2010 at 02:24  
Written by zagibu on 07.06.2009 at 18:37

The last paragraph is important in this review, especially, because they seem to have lost what made them special somehow. The Flame Within sounds very bland compared to Embrace the Storm.


Agreed. There were very few, if any, songs on The Flame Within that I thought were as good as the ones on Embrace The Storm.

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