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The Gentle Storm – The Diary Award winner

The Gentle Storm
The Diary
by Dave “That Metal Guy” Campbell at 30 April 2015, 9:07 PM

THE GENTLE STORM is Symphonic/Progressive/Rock/Metal band based out of The Netherlands. “The Diary” is a two-CD concept album, with the same tracks done first in a more Folky manner, and then in a more Metal manner on the second CD. I am going to toggle the songs on this review between the “Gentle” versions and the “Storm” versions. “Endless Sea” has a Folky, earthy quality to it, complete with violin and background synth. The vocals are frail and pretty, and there is just enough bombast in the “storm” version to think of this as Metal music. You definitely have the feeling here of a Celtic landscape on a warm spring day. “Heart of Amsterdam” is littered with folk instrumentation, but the guitars give it that crispy edge that have you both tapping your foot and banging your head. There is a really well done crescendo following the second chorus where the instruments meet with a vocal high. “The Greatest Love” shines in both versions due to the outpouring of melody and major chord progressions. I absolutely love the interlude that feeds the remaining part of the track.

In “Shores of India,” we are ushered into the song with a dark, heavy passage that is accentuated with keyboard, giving it a suspenseful feeling. Like the plotting of an execution. But that feeling is quickly vanquished in the chorus, if only for that moment. “Cape of Storms” just sounds the best in the “Storm” version, mainly due to the lyrical content and supporting percussion. The accents are hit hard and in unison with the guitar and bass. “The Moment” is another song that sound so well in both versions. I am continually impressed at both the variety of outside instruments that are used and the compositional nature of how they are used. This kind of musical creation is certainly something that is unique to a seasoned musician. I especially like the use of French horn, being a horn player myself.

Not surprisingly, “The Storm” track is menacing in the Metal version. The main riff is aggressive and melodic at the same time, with just enough darkness to keep it gritty. The background chanting contributes to this feeling. The next song, “Eyes of Michiel,” sounds really sweet in the “Gentle” version especially, mostly due to the proliferation of folk instruments, feeling like I am in an Irish bar on open mic night. “Brightest Light” is an aptly titled song, where the harmonies build in the highest sense that they can, markedly in the vocals, which thicken up the track nicely. “New Horizons” is led in by a flute and a wonderful guitar and violin riff. You definitely feel that this song is taking you to a new perspective, with a really well composed chorus full of beautiful melody.

Though the closing track “Epilogue: The Final Entry” is brief, digest both versions equally, because they offer a really different feeling between the two, especially as it swells towards the end, with a finish worthy of any professional orchestra. The presentation of these tracks in two different methods is a unique approach. Without the heaviness of the Metal instruments, you can really here the melody shine. But I have to confess that I prefer the “Storm” side of the tracks due to that heaviness. Still, this is very well composed and performed and that Symphonic edge really allows the music to show many textures and complexities.

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
CD One (Gentle):

1. Endless Sea
2. Heart of Amsterdam
3. The Greatest Love
4. Shores of India
5. Cape of Storms
6. The Moment
7. The Storm
8. Eyes of Michiel
9. Brightest Light
10. New Horizons
11. Epilogue: The Final Entry

CD Two (Storm):

1. Endless Sea
2. Heart of Amsterdam
3. The Greatest Love
4. Shores of India
5. Cape of Storms
6. The Moment
7. The Storm
8. Eyes of Michiel
9. Brightest Light
10. New Horizons
11. Epilogue: The Final Entry
Lineup:
Anneke Van Giersbergen – Vocals
Arjen Anthony Lucassen – Guitars, Bass, Banjo, Mandolin, Hammered Dulcimer, Percussion
Record Label: InsideOut Music
     


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