Friday, March 27, 2015

The Gentle Storm - The Diary (2015)

The Gentle Storm is a new project in the metal world, containing two of the most acclaimed musicians that has ever come out of the small European country The Netherlands. The duo is the multi instrumentalist Arjen Lucassen, whom we know from Ayreon, Star One and many other bands, and the female vocalist Anneke Van Giersbergen, former The Gathering singer who have also worked with Devin Townsend and her solo project. A very talented duo that has worked together before in the Ayreon albums "Into The Electric Castle" and "01011001", so the chemistry between them is obviously there from the start.

The album is called "The Diary", and it is a double album best described as two sides of the same coins. The same songs are in both of the albums, but in different versions. The first one is the gentle album and the second is the storm one, which more or less means that the first album is calm and only contains acoustic music, while the storm album uses more electric instruments to give it a heavier sound. Not surprisingly, I enjoy the storm part of "The Diary" more, not only because it is heavier, but because the music sounds grander in that version. However, the gentle part is still enjoyable and the two versions are not so different from each other, which really makes me wonder why they chose to arrange it like this. Why couldn't they have made two separate albums instead with different songs in each one? Just makes the album sound like a big, almost 2 hour long echo.

Just like any other record made by Arjen, "The Diary" is a concept album, and it takes the listener to the 17th century, where we get to follow Joseph Warwijk and Susanne Vermeer in a story of love, sickness, adventure and long distance relationships. It is an interesting story, which you would expect from a guy like Arjen, and it is neatly told within the album, even if I miss a male vocalist that could play Joseph, but that matters very little when Anneke does a fantastic job behind the mic.

As previously stated, the double album tends to become pretty repetitive and boring from time to time, but that is not because the material itself is bad, it is because it all sounds roughly the same. Same tempo, same structure and same style. It is a good cohesive piece, but it is such a big blob that it really takes some effort to even make out which song is which. There are some songs that stands out slightly more than others, like the beautiful nautical anthem "Heart of Amsterdam", the oriental "Shores of India", and the bombastic opener "Endless Sea", but the lack of a up tempo song really hurts the album and takes away the effort that is behind the music. Such a shame, since this album had a good amount of potential.

It is a shame that all of the hard work that Arjen and Anneke spent on "The Diary" was almost gone to waste. The material is there and the ideas are interesting, but the execution and arrangement is far from perfect. This blob of an album does have its good share of quality, but the lack of variation really kills it for me. It really surprise me that a musician like Arjen could do something like this, especially considering that he has some of the greatest concept album the metal world has ever seen. My hopes are still up that this project could go on and become better for each album since the talent is there, so I will keep my eye on what will happen to this project in the future, and wish them the best of luck in their journey.

Songs worthy of recognition: Heart of Amsterdam, Endless Sea, The Greatest Love

Rating: 6,5/10 New Horizons

No comments:

Post a Comment