The Gentle Storm - 'The Diary' Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     September 28, 2015    
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For me personally, it's another masterstroke from Lucassen.

This project isn't your usual everyday type of album or selection of music. 'The Diary' is a new album by The Gentle Storm that is split over two discs with the same track listing on each side, but with the songs themselves performed in different ways. This is a reflection of the band's name with disc one being 'The Gentle' and disc two being 'The Storm'.

As the title would suggest, the first disc is made up of the gentle approach with a more acoustic, ethereal and laid back style to the music/musicianship whilst the second disc, unsurprisingly, takes the more aggressive tact with electric guitars replacing the acoustic ones and increased orchestration to create a more dramatic effect.

It's a very clever idea and which side of the coin you will prefer will be decided entirely by personal taste. The mastermind behind this concept is Arjen Lucassen (Ayreon, Star One, Guilt Machine) who, as usual, plays almost everything in sight whilst again using the talents of his many musician friends such as Ed Warby on drums, Joost van den Broek on keyboards, Johan Van Stratum on bass as well as Marcela Bovio (Stream Of Passion) on backing vocals to flesh out the sound. The trump card however is his choice of vocalist for the project; Anneke Van Geirsbergen is just wonderful on this release and it's her heartfelt, emotion-drenched and plaintive vocal's that are truly the focal point of this record.

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As for the actual music, given the projects main man is Lucassen, this is of course a concept album about how a husband and wife keep in contact with each other via a series of love letters whilst the husband is away on a two year sea voyage; their correspondence form the basis for the eleven tracks. The lyrics are, I suggest, an integral part of this release's magic and need to be read for this album to be fully understood because what is going on throughout the album cannot be taken just as a piece of music. It is much more than that and it could (potentially) be one of Lucassen's best works to date. Everything about the songs, the music and the musicianship is just about perfect and it's so obvious that this has been such a labour of love (for both Lucassen and van Geirsbergen) that pulling out a track from here or there would do them and the album as a whole an injustice.

Instead, the best suggestion I can make is that you listen to both discs and bathe in the beauty that has been created on each of them before you make a judgement on this album because it truly is a beautiful musical suite, with an intriguing idea behind it's execution, that only the individual listener can truly decide whether they like it or not. For me personally, it's another masterstroke from Lucassen but for our esteemed Fireworks & Rocktopia readers, they must though decide for themselves.

Ian Johnson

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