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Arjen Anthony Lucassen's (Ayreon, Star One, Ambeon etc.) latest project is called "Stream of Passion". This time around Lucassen's intention was to construct a real band around Marcela Bovio (talented singer from Mexico, who won herself a spot on the previous Ayreon album "The Human Equation" by entering "call for demos" contest). Another musician the readers of RockReviews might recognize in this band is the Swedish/American guitarist Lori Linstruth (Warbride), whose lead guitar skills were already showcased on the bonus disc of "The Final Experiment Special Edition" along with Davy Mickers' drumming (who's also a part of Stream of Passion).
As one might expect, the musical style of this group is symphonic rock. Unfortunately, Lucassen seems to have run out of fresh ideas... the music contains a bit too much same progressions used already on Ayreon albums. However, the strong voice of Marcela Bovio combined with the atmospheric piano-driven symphonic progressive rock is a pleasure to listen... stylistically this album is a combination of Ayreon and the Gathering as Bovio's vocals occasionally remind me of Anneke Van Giersbergen.
The songs on this album might be a bit too simple for die-hard progressive music fans, so recommending this album without reservations is impossible. I reckon one has to give Stream of Passion a listen before deciding whether their record is worth buying. Nonetheless, I have to stress that Embrace the Storm has some really fortuitous moments... for example, on "Haunted" one hears more personality and edge than on the other songs. Nevertheless, there are some average tunes on this record as well.
Production-wise this album is rather good. The sounds are balanced, and they back up the atmosphere of this record well. Overall, Stream of Passion's "Embrace the Storm" is a good album. It has its moments, but at the same time it could have been a lot more impressive. I guess, I've became more and more demanding regarding Lucassen's work throughout the years.
Release date: October 21st, 2005
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- MAGE (October 9th, 2005)
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