Last April the Dutch symphonic metal band Stream of Passion released their A War of Our Own album.
They now announce Spring Dates in 2015 [UK Dates shown below] — touring Europe with The Gentle Storm
The title of their 2104 album was inspired by the unusual path that the band had to take in order to make the disc a reality; they initiated an international crowd funding campaign through the Indiegogo platform.
The fourth full-length album by Stream of Passion brought closure to a period in which the band was forced to fight for their existence after they’d ended their deal with their record company.
Our Scriba Pontificus has been listening to the 2014 release in anticipation of the live shows:
The album begins with ‘Monster ’ — and if you can imagine a massive hairy footed entity stomping into your playground — then that’s how this album approaches.
The ground trembles and the light-of-the-world darkens. Fortunately, a voice emerges from the utter gloom, clad in the darkest-of-blue robes, like the finest curled velvet, and you are saved. Here is unrestrained beauty and powerful sorcery!
Title track ‘A War Of Our Own’ spotlights the passion and skill of the singer, songwriter (with Johan van Stratum and Joost van den Broek) and violinist Marcela Bovio. The ivory perfection of the keys animate the movement, whilst earnest guitars (with the orchestra) create fluttering sounds that reminded us of moth-wings — fallen (crushed & ruined) — too close to the open-fire.
Marcela has a vocal range like that of Amy Lee – with those contralto dark lows and cleverly minimal sultry glints — yet she also possesses the scope, spirit and fire of a Mezzo Soprano — so she can easily reach those firefly highs.
‘The Curse’ hurtles into your cans like an express-train. The vocal retains its bright luster, even if the orchestration is a tangle of thorny brambles and darkening underlays. This a feverish amalgam of perfectly pitched & shining instrumentality with total vocal mastery.
The mournful violin and the stepping-stone piano on the eulogy ‘For You’ is the most tender we have heard for some time. With delicate petals of ever-increasing power and substance.
We also loved ‘Exile’: Everyone thinks of migration in nationalistic terms. But what of the struggle that an individual faces when they have to leave their homeland? This track tackles the effort that is required in those circumstances. The grumbling, growling, bass-heavy confusion implies transition, upheaval and turmoil.
Marcela sings in English and Spanish — with the courage, fortitude and heartbreaking emotion we would expect from someone who has made the same sort of transition (willingly, in her case.) She can empathize with the associated emotions and the many confusions that re-rooting brings. This is one of the tracks on the album where the liveliness of the musicianship and the jazzy exuberance shines out.
Progressive and jazzy, sometimes, ‘A War of Our Own’ is effervescent, drama-filled and often intriguingly anguished. Darkening riffs meet angelic violins, with keys that trill — and majestic vocals that shine as they continue to surprise and delight.
Although bright and fully-rounded, we have to ask — has this the ability to influence and control? Maybe not. But what is missing in dominion and ascendancy, is more than made up for in emotional commitment.
Words: @neilmach 2015 ©
UK Live Dates This Spring:
23-04-15 The Garage – London
24-04-15 The Musician – Leicester
25-04-15 The Roadhouse – Manchester