Label : Napalm Records

Review by Tony Cannella

When it was announced that Arjen Lucassen was leaving Stream of Passion, many people were shocked since it was generally thought that SOP was his project. We couldn’t have been more wrong. The band has returned with several new members: Stephan Schultz (Lead Guitar), Erik Hazebroek (Guitars) and Jeffrey Revet (Piano, Keyboards) join the remaining members, Johan van Stratum (bass), Davy Mickers (Drums) and Marcela Bovio (Vocals). Their new album is titled “The Flame Within” and they have defied the odds by not only coming out with a worthy successor to their debut “Embrace the Storm” but you could argue that “The Flame Within” is every bit as good, if not better. The opening track “The Art of Loss” begins with a nice piano intro before giving way to some truly bombastic guitars and the track really heats up when vocalist Marcela Bovio joins in. A good opening tune that really reminds the listener why their debut was such an enjoyable listen. “In the End” picks right up where the first song left off. This song is quite dramatic and has a great melody. Once again the vocals provided by Marcela Bovio are quite impressive. This is another solid track that would make a great single, should the band decide to put one out. The third track “Now or Never” contains some more bombast and it is more of an up-tempo song than the previous ones and it is among the very best that this CD has to offer. “When You Hurt Me the Most” is quite a haunting ballad that packs plenty of power and a passionate vocal delivery from Marcela. “Run Away” begins with some truly pretty piano and it pretty much stays that way throughout the song, before getting heavier near the end. This song was a huge highlight for me. “Games We Play” really brings back the heaviness with a great guitar riff. Other highlights include: “This Endless Night”, “Burn My Pain”, “A Part of You”, “Let Me In” and “Street Spirit”. “The Flame Within” features 14-songs and 59-minutes worth of classy metal. The band has indeed soldiered on following the key departures that I mentioned earlier in this review and I for one am glad that they have. This quote appears on the sticker on the front cover of the CD and it is from the man himself, Arjen Lucassen: “After hearing the excellent “The Flame Within”, It’s clear that I’m not needed at all!”. That is the best endorsement I can think of.

Rating – 90/100

 

 

When the band Stream of Passion released “Embrace the Storm” most people thought that this was another Arjen Lucassen project. Ayreon, Star One, Ambeon, the man is an endless source of good music. As expected Mr Lucassen left Stream of Passion for the next Ayreon project which resulted in the album “01011001”. And Stream of Passion? It took a long time before a new line up was established. The result is “The Flame Within”. The Flame Within” has not turned out to be a carbon copy of “Embrace the Storm” and that is a good thing. Although it is supposed to be gothic oriented you will not find any of the typical elements like big choirs, singers on helium and grunts. The new Stream of Passion sounds like a real band and they do not have to resort on those special effects to create a good album. But, the debut did not use those elements either. The mayor difference between “Embrace the Storm” and “The Flame Within” is the fact that the “The Flame Within” songs are more compact and more rock than the ones on “Embrace the Storm”Four songs on the album are really outstanding: “Now or Never” – The album really starts with this up tempo track. A great live song “Games We Play” – Finally: headbang time m/ I’ve never seen a moshpit at a Stream of Passion gig but this song might cause one. “When You Hurt Me the Most– the best song. Period. All the elements of the new Stream of Passion are here. “Street Spirit” – This is a Radiohead cover. The Stream of Passion version has an eerie The Gathering sound. Think of the Nighttime Birds album from 1997. Whatever you might think of Radiohead this is a good song. I’ve never heard the original but it makes me wonder how the Radiohead version sounds.If you are a Stream of Passion fan then you can buy this without hesitation. 

Rating – 80/100

 

Tracklist

  1. The Art of Loss
  2. In the End
  3. Now or Never
  4. When You Hurt Me the Most
  5. Run Away
  6. Games We Play
  7. This Endless Night
  8. My Leader
  9. Burn My Pain
  10. Let Me In
  11. Street Spirit (Radiohead Cover)
  12. A Part of You
  13. All I know

 

Line Up 

  • Marcela Bovio – Lead Vocals & Electric Violin
  • Eric Hazebroek – Guitars
  • Stephan Schultz – Guitars
  • Jeffrey Revet – Keyboards & Synths
  • Johan van Stratum – Bass 
  • Martijn Peters – Drums

 

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