After Arjen Anthony Lucassen completed his latest triumph the Ayreon rock opera The Human Equation, he wanted to focus on the many talents of Mexican singer Marcela Bovio, one of the vocalists on the album. Bovio entered and won a vocalist contest through Lucassen’s website. The winner would have a chance to sing on the highly successful Ayreon rock opera series. As they say in Hollywood, the rest is history, or I probably should say-history in the making. The first band for Lucassen in 10 years, Stream of Passion, is off to great start with their new album Embrace The Storm. They signed on with Inside Out Music and most recently with BMG. All things are pointing to nothing but success for this exciting progressive rock unit.
I have to say straight away that I am totally hooked on this album. I cannot stop listening to it. Marcela’s voice and the music behind her is like a drug, it is so intoxicating you have to keep coming back for more. I have been expounding upon the brilliance of Arjen Luccassen in every review I have ever done, and there have been many mind you. Well, this time I think he has struck gold by taking Bovio and few other choice musicians to form a band that everyone is going to love, whether you are a prog-rock lover or not this music is irresistible. The music is powerful, sweeping, and beautiful all at once, pushing Bovio’s vocals and thought provoking lyrics out into the forefront of your thought process. The entire experience is intense as it gets for music.
I know I am focusing on Lucassen and Bovio, with good reason, but they would not be so recognizable with out their band mates, and I am sure they would agree. Lori Linstruth is a good match for Arjen on lead guitar, they play off each other very well, and the rhythm section of Johan van Stratum (bass) and Davy Mickers (drums) are like the rock of Gibraltar. Alejandro Millán provides just the right softness when necessary with the piano and Bovio plays a fine violin furthering the progressive aspects of their sound.
I loved every track but there were a few that gave me chills, like “Haunted” and “Wherever You Are.” When Bovio starts whispering in Spanish it just makes you melt. When she keeps singing-wherever you are I will find you, regardless of how beautiful her voice is, there is something inside that tells you she means it, it is eerie.
Stream of Passion has my vote as best new band of the year and I do not think over the next few months there will be another band that comes together that could possibly impress me as much as this. Mark my words, this album will be recognized as one of the best progressive rock albums of the year and classic in a few years. Arjen Lucassen is so smart, he is stepping into the background, and pushing Bovio out front, he knows better than anyone that she is going to be a star; it will not take long, just watch, and listen.
September 9, 2005
01. Spellbound (3:35)
02. Passion (5:20)
03. Deceiver (5:07)
04. I’ll Keep on Dreaming (3:45)
05. Haunted (4:30)
06. Wherever You Are (5:08)
07. Open Your Eyes (5:13)
08. Embrace the Storm (4:11)
09. Breathing Again (3:38)
10. Out in the Real World (4:30)
11. Nostalgia (3:08)
12. Calliopeia (5:40)
Johan van Stratum-Bass guitar
Marcela Bovio-Vocals, lyrics, violin
Arjen Lucassen-Guitars, music
Lori Linstruth-Lead guitars