The Gentle Storm – “The Diary”

635590832093922585_4053Arjen Lucassen is best known as the mastermind behind the progressive metal project Ayreon but he has other projects as well. Add The Gentle Storm to the list of other projects. He pairs up with vocalist Anneke van Giersbergen, who is one of my favorite singers for the debut album “The Diary.”

I won’t get into the concept too deeply (Lucassen does love concept albums) but it’s basically a love story set in the late 1600s against the backdrop of the Dutch East India Company. The high seas, a diary and lost love: all the makings of a decent TV mini-series. While I was not impressed with the concept behind the last Ayreon album, this concept is more interesting as far as I am concerned.

Musically, the album has 2 versions of it. The first disc is the “Gentle” version which is basically Celtic, acoustic arrangements of each track. The second disc is the “Storm: version which is symphonic metal with folk and progressive metal elements. I prefer the latter as it seems to fit the over all dramatic feel of the story. Tracks like “The Storm,” “Cape of Storms,” and “Brightest Light” translate MUCH better with some power behind them.

The key to the whole album for me is the voice of Anneke who proves she can really sing anything. Without her, this project would probably not be as good as it is. Personally, I am not a fan of Celtic music at all so, while I probably would not listen to this in my free time, it still will certainly appeal to those who love that genre of music. Each version of the album has its own audience. I’m sure there are plenty of Arjen Lucassen fans that will like BOTH versions but I think, for the most part, people will probably prefer one disc to the other.

Rating: 5/10 for the Gentle version, 7.5/10 for the Storm version

Tracklist:
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

Label: InsideOut Music

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About progmanrob

I have been a fan of progressive metal and progressive rock for most of my life. My music collection is insanely large. My passion for life is music...progressive music!
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