(9/10) When two of Hollands best musicians team-up the result can only be something outstanding. And this happened when multi-instrumentalist Arjen Lucassen and vocalist Anneke van Giersbergen decided to create a fantastic new album called "The diary".
Both musicians know each other already since quite a while. The first cooperation took please many years ago. It was in 1998 when the "Into the electric castle" from Ayreon was released and the same thing happened again ten years later for "01011001".
Their new project is called The Gentle Storm. "The diary" is the name of the longplayer, that is actually a double CD. Both CDs contain the same songs, just differently arranged. The first disc is called 'storm version' and comes with the more powerful arrangements, while CD 2 is the 'gentle version'. And names are self-explaining.
"The diary" is a concept album. It is build on a story of a sailor that starts a two years journey, leaving his wife back in Holland. Since the story takes place in the seventeenth century the only way to keep contact was sending letters. It's those writings that are the center of the story.
The songs are all brilliant. It's not metal and it's not prog. It is soulful rock music that, if you close your eyes, starts a movie about the two protagonists. Both CD's are mainly acoustic and Lucassen experimented with a lot of different acoustic instruments - around 40 in total. This includes also orchestrated parts that add another moment of tension to each song. The same goes for the embedded folk elements with string sections which are spot-on.
Tunes like the melodic "Shores of Inda" or the outstanding "Haert of Amsterdam" are musical pearls that offer so many details that you can listen to them again and again and again. The 'heaviest' track on the album is probabaly "The storm". Of course, a song with such a title can't be a ballad. It comes with a quite dynamic guitar and the tune spreads a gloomy atmosphere.
It took a year to make this longplayer and it was very well invested time. The result is a marvelous sonic journey into a moment long ago.
I can recommend this diverse and intense album. This is music on a very high level that you should not miss.
CD 1: (Storm version)
CD 2: (Gentle version)
Label: InsideOut Records
Arjen Lucassen and Anneke van Giersbergen started a project called The Gentle Storm. The iconic musicians from The Netherlands have worked together and produced and album called "The diary".
A first song of this album is published. The track is called "Endless sea" a lyric video can be watched.
Both musicians comment: “Endless Sea is the album opener and it serves as an introduction to our story-based album. Susanne, the main character, sings about her husband Joseph, who has just sailed out on another long voyage to the Far East. We are very excited to offer everybody a first taste of our forthcoming album with the release of these lyric videos. This is such a special album to the both us."
Furthermore the band will also play some accoustic dates in a few cities:
February 17 2015 - Planetarium, Budapest HU
February 18 2015 - Bronx, Istanbul TR
February 19 2015 - Hard Rock Cafe, Bucharest RO
February 20 2015 - Modern Theatre, Sofia BU
February 21 2015 - Traffic Club, Rome
February 22 2015 - K17, Berlin DE
February 23 2015 - Nosturi, Helsinki FI
February 25 2015 - Lo-Fi, Milan IT
February 26 2015 - Locomotive, Bologna IT
February 27 2015 - Hybrydy, Warsaw, PL
February 28 2015 - Pod Minoga, Poznan PL
And there will be some more dates in the full line-up (unfortunately with Arjen Lucassen):
March 26 2015 - Melkweg, Amsterdam NL
March 28 2015 - ROCK ITtervoort Festival, Ittervoort NL
April 03 2015 - Hedon, Zwolle NL
April 03-05 2015 - Paaspop, Schijndel NL
April 11 2015 - Paard van Troje, Den Haag NL
April 15 2015 - Colos-Saal, Aschaffenburg DE
April 16 2015 - Zentrum Altenberg, Oberhausen DE
April 22 2015 - Divan Du Monde, Paris FR
April 23 2015 - The Garage, London UK
April 24 2015 - The Musician, Leicester UK
April 25 2015 - The Roadhouse, Manchester UK
April 26 2015 - Prog-résiste Convention, Soignies BE
June 19 2015 - Dokk’em Open Air, Dokkum NL
July 09 2015 - Masters of Rock, Vizovice CZ
July 30-Aug 01 - Wacken Open Air, Wacken DE