• Stream of Passion - A War of Our Own (2014) - Mostly too exchangeable, tame and unspectacular - 61% (15/07/14)

    Stream of Passion - A War of Our Own (2014)

    Stream Of Passion has everything it needs to stand out amongst many other symphonic metal bands. The band had an illustrious founding, always has featured a competent line-up, as well as many promising collaborators. Singer Marcela Bovio has an amazing voice filled with passion and soul that differs from the exchangeable high pitched operatic vocals of many colleagues, and she is fluent in both English and Spanish. Despite all these positive factors, Stream Of Passion has never fully sold me in the past because it sounded too faceless. It is always nice to listen to the band’s albums, but they’re unfortunately quickly exchangeable and forgettable.

    In my opinion, the band’s fourth output, A War Of Our Own, is maybe one of Stream Of Passion’s best records due to a crystal clear production and a few decent progressive elements. Once again, much of the music still sounds exchangeable and is of a “good” quality at best. Despite rather short and consistent songs and an excellent vocalist, only a few tracks manage to grab my attention, as I find most songs are neither catchy nor impressive in any way.

    The first track that really stands out on A War Of Our Own is the eerie, reduced ballad “For You”, which gets its life from an amazing vocal performance, a haunting piano composition, and melancholic violins. The heavier and modern “Exile” is my favorite song on the album. It mixes Spanish and English lyrics, and has an almost tango-infused hypnotizing feeling without forgetting about fresh and heavy riffs. The chorus is charming and dramatic, and reminds me slightly of Evanescence in a positive way. This is a courageous track that finally stands out and capitalizes upon the band’s strengths. The following, more progressive “Delirio” is completely sung in Spanish. It opens with relaxed piano and violin melodies before modern and discordant riffs kick in to create an intriguing contrast. This is finally some outstanding song writing that opens up the more you listen to it. Above everything once again soar the powerful vocals of Marcela Bovio, who really is one of the best singers in the symphonic metal genre. The middle part of this record clearly includes the most adventurous songwriting.

    We have to wait until the end of the record to listen to some equally great material. The closing “Out Of The Darkness” comes around with refreshingly jazzy progressive tones, dominated by bass guitar and piano work that meet dark riffs here and there that evoke a destructive atmosphere. The mixture of laid back passages and darker ones, as well as fierce guitar work is surprisingly great in the album’s closer. It’s worth the time to check out the bonus track on the limited edition as well. It’s a mystery to me why “The Distance Between Us” didn’t make it onto the regular edition, because it is probably the most accessible song on the entire record. This track has interesting lyrics combined with catchy melodies and hooks. The middle section features a few chants and the record’s most emotional guitar solo as well. If you think about purchasing this record, it’s worth spending a few dollars more for this excellent bonus track.

    Once again, it’s very tough to judge Stream Of Passion in the end. A War Of Our Own is maybe the best record from the band to date. The middle of the work is incredibly strong, the album closer is great, and the bonus track proves that the band can also write grounded and accessible material. Otherwise, the band truly shines in the more experimental tracks with tango, progressive rock, and jazz elements. The problem is that the first half of the album in particular is rather unspectacular and tame. Marcela Bovio’s vocals are always excellent, but the song writing is sometimes still too exchangeable, and the songs often have nothing that might grab your attention. Many tracks sound enjoyable while you’re listening to them, but a few minutes later you will have already forgotten about them. I would say that the band is on a good path to finally improving its song writing, though. Time will tell if the talented sextet from the Netherlands might make it to the top league of the female-fronted symphonic metal scene. A War Of Our Own is all right, but it can’t compete with the new releases from Xandria and Epica. In the end, Stream Of Passion delivers a good, fairly average record, with a few pearls for symphonic and progressive metal fans.

    Originally written for Black Wind Metal

    « Subway to Sally - Mitgift: Mördergeschichten (2014) - Easily the band's most creative output so far - 82% (14/07/14)Some of the Few - Some of the Few (2013) - Old-fashioned heavy metal with a certain charm - 62% (15/07/14) »
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