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Stream of Passion
Embrace the Storm
November 2005
Released: 2005, Insideout Music
Rating: 5.0/5
Reviewer: Rick

Does Arjen Lucassen ever get bored? I don’t think the man even has time to sleep with all the musical projects that he has going. With his Star One and Ayreon projects he has become a vital component of the prog metal scene so it’s kind of surprising that Lucassen would start another newly named project when he already has established outlets for his creativity. But that’s exactly what he has done with Stream of Passion. 2 years ago Lucassen held a contest on his website with the winner being given the opportunity to sing on his next Ayreon CD. The winner was Marcel Bovio and after Lucassen heard her vocal recordings from her Ayreon sessions he felt he had found someone special and decided to record a whole CD with her. To make everything even more interesting Lucassen chose to put together a band that was spread out across the globe. Drummer Davy Mickers was dutch and also found through a musicians contest, guitarist Lori Linstruth was an American by way of Sweden and they were joined by Mexican pianist Alejandro Millan and Dutch bass player Johan van Stratum.

With such a far flung group Lucassen decided to just let the music take its own direction and what was created, after endless hours on computers and in studios all over the world, is EMBRACE THE STORM. The music is a mixture of Lucassen’s proggish metal mixed with Marcela’s gothic vocals along with everything from screaming guitars to haunting pianos, a real potpourri of sounds. Tracks such as “Passion”, “Deceiver” and “Wherever You Are” showcase Bovio’s strong vocals against a backdrop of prog metal that is first class and immediately makes this writer wonder how Lucassen manages to create such great music when he is continents away from his collaborators. Bovio has such a diverse voice that not only does she shine on the aforementioned tracks but she brings a new dimension to the melancholy yet menacing “Haunted” where her vocals are paired with the fleet fingered guitar work of Linstruth. The spoken word sections of this song are “haunting” for lack of a better term. Other standout tracks include the powerful ballad “Breathing Again” and the mournful “Open Your Eyes”.

As much as I want to praise Lucassen for this project I think it is greater than just one man. He may be the mastermind but his supporting cast makes the music more diverse than his other projects. The prog metal is tempered with by the more gothic metal inspired voice of Bovio and the inclusion of certain trip hop elements helps differentiate the bands sound from Lucassen’s other output. But suffice to say that everything that Arjen Anthony Lucassen touches seems to turn to gold.
Track Listing

I´ll Keep On Dreaming
Wherever You Are
Open Your Eyes
Embrace The Storm
Breathing Again
Out In The Real World


Johan van Stratum - Bass guitar
Davy Mickers - Drums
Marcela Bovio - Vocals, lyrics, violin
Arjen Lucassen - Guitars, music
Lori Linstruth - Lead guitars
Alejandro Millán – Piano



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