Stream Of Passion - Darker Days

13 songs
53:42 minutes
***** ***


Arjen Lucassen has already crossed his fiftieth birthday but is still an unrelenting workaholic. He collaborated already on more than forty albums. The incalculable number of projects he’s involved in made him sometimes lose track, which is why he put Stream Of Passion on hiatus four years ago. Other bands would have dissolved, but their second album The Flame Within still managed to convince me in the summer of 2009.

Its successor Darker Days once again delights with strong symphonic metal, infused with slight progressive tendencies. Especially the opener Lost surprises with unusually progressive sounds, making one wonder if the band has adopted a new direction. This track is an exception though, because the following tracks see the band follow their usual path. This isn’t meant in a negative way, because the songwriting skills make sure that things stay overall interesting. The combination of brisk rhythms and catchy melodies works wonderfully. The keyboard plays quite a major role, but is usually integrated well into the overall sound. Other atypical instruments are a string section and an accordion which works really great on Spark, radiating a Parisian flair with its tango atmosphere. The band’s focal point is still their Mexican vocalist Marcela Bovio who uses her voice with a lot of variety and doesn’t have to hide behind the likes of Sharon den Adel (Within Temptation) and Sabine Edelsbacher (Edenbridge). No matter if powerful, melancholic or clear as a bell, she masters every situation. The songs don’t stand back when it comes to diversity. Next to two ballads that turned out a little too mellow for my taste, I especially like their more dynamic material which adds elements of pop and rock, and their more playful pieces where pathos and kitsch are used for maximum effect.

Fans of brutal metal are at the wrong address, but if you are into gothic and/or symphonic metal, you will find yourself in heaven.

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