Power of Metal.dk Review

The Gentle Storm
The Diary
Style: Progressive Rock
Release date: 23 March, 2015
Playing time: 57:04 (CD1) 56:55 (CD2)

To be honest I struggled to articulate the things I felt you need to know about “The Diary”. So instead I decided to list what you don’t need to know about this debut from The Gentle Storm.

You don’t need to know that Arjen Anthony Lucassen, the band’s mentor and composer, is synonymous with quality conceptual Prog Rock. And the fact that the album’s haunting vocals belong to Anneke van Giersbergen? Not directly relevant. “The Diary” is astounding in that the music accurately reflects the album’s evolving moods and emotions and this gives the album a cinematic and epic feel. Consequentially I felt I partook in this journey as more than a mere listener. But, really, this is not something that should bother you too much.

A few words about the actual story: the press sheet enthuses that “The Diary” is a concept album of “love, loss, and separation told through the story of two fictional seventeenth-century lovers. A Dutch sailor embarks on a two-year voyage, leaving his wife at home in Holland. The only way for the couple to communicate and keep their love alive during the long separation is through letters. These letters form the basis for the songs on the album.”

“The Diary” on which this review was based has two versions: a lighter adagio experience called ‘Gentle’ and a heavier, somewhat allegro version dubbed ‘Storm’. It’s all solidly composed and borrows from Folk, Prog Rock (think of Jethro Tull, Yes and Renaissance), Metal and Classical music, using a vast array of string, percussion and wind instruments, besides the more contemporary electric ones. It’s fresh and vibrant, yet firmly rooted in traditional music idioms. But you don’t need to know all that.

All you do need to know is quite simply that “The Diary” is an experience that you cannot afford to be without.

CD1: Gentle
01. Endless Sea (gentle version)
02. Heart of Amsterdam (gentle version)
03. The Greatest Love (gentle version)
04. Shores Of India (gentle version)
05. Cape Of Stoms (gentle version)
06. The Moment (gentle version)
07. The Storm (gentle version)
08. Eyes Of Michiel (gentle version)
09. Brightest Light (gentle version)
10. New Horizons (gentle version)
11. Epilogue: The Final Entry (gentle version)

CD2: Storm
12. Endless Sea (storm version)
13. Heart Of Amsterdam (storm version)
14. The Greatest Love (storm version)
15. Shores Of India (storm version)
16. Cape Of Stoms (storm version)
17. The Moment (storm version)
18. The Storm (storm version)
19. Eyes Of Michiel (storm version)
20. Brightest Light (storm version)
21. New Horizons (storm version)
22. Epilogue: The Final Entry (storm version)
Label: InsideOut
Distribution: EMI
Reviewed by: Chris Galea
Date: 30 March 2015
Website: The Gentle Storm @facebook