Showing posts with label the gentle storm. Show all posts
Showing posts with label the gentle storm. Show all posts

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

video review: 'the diary' by the gentle storm

Man, I wish this had been better. I mean, it's good, but it should have been awesome, and it's still a bit of a letdown. It happens even from the best.

Next up, Billboard BREAKDOWN, and then I have about four or five albums lined up in the queue I could easily cover. What to pick, what to pick... oh hell, I know what I'm covering, and you all should too. Stay tuned!

album review: 'the diary' by the gentle storm

I've been looking forward to this project since the beginning of the year.

Now long time followers of my reviews probably aren't surprised by this, but everyone else is probably perplexed by where this album came from, who this duo is, and why anyone should care. For those who don't know, The Gentle Storm is a project under the direction of Arjen Lucassen, singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and creator of the Ayreon project, an ongoing progressive metal act that pulls in vocalists from dozens of the most critically acclaimed acts in symphonic, progressive, folk, and even extreme metal. One of his long-time collaborators is Anneke Van Giersbergen, frontwoman of The Gathering and who has worked with acts as varied as Devin Townsend, Within Temptation, and Napalm Death. Together, the duo decided in 2014 to collaborate on a new project, a double album under the name The Gentle Storm. Both discs would contain the same compositions, but one would be played entirely with folk and acoustic instrumentation and other was all-out symphonic and progressive metal - and both discs would tell the same story, an epic historical romance, one of the few times Arjen Lucassen has ventured away from the sci-fi epics that have been his purview.

Now on some level, I was skeptical of this. With the exception of Guilt Machine, I've had mixed results with Arjen's side projects and solo albums, having never been a big fan of Ambeon and Star One rarely hitting as strongly as I've hoped. Plus, the double disc format struck me as the duo hedging their bets - were the compositions really so strong that they'd be able to be transferred to entirely different instrumentation and maintain their impact? Granted, this isn't the first time Arjen has done this - the first Ayreon release The Final Experiment had an acoustic version as well - but I couldn't help but feel the record might be better if they had just selected the more poignant version of each track and interweaved metal and acoustic together.

But this was the format they chose, and I knew that Arjen Lucassen was a songwriter who had never made an outright bad album. This was a team of veterans in writing and instrumentation, and it certainly wasn't shying away from being an ambitious project, so I gave the double album my full attention - was it worth it?