Stream Of Passion started out as a collaboration between Arjen Lucassen of Ayreon/Star One fame and fiery Mexican singer Marcela Bovio but with Lucassen long gone the band has formed a new identity over recent years with a revitalised line up and two more excellent albums under their belts.
They have gained a reputation as a formidable live act and there is nowhere better to check that out than on home soil in Holland (Ms Bovio has forgone the sun of Mexico to join her bandmates and is based there now) so I made my way to Amstelveen on the outskirts of Amsterdam and the P60, a typically nice, modern Dutch club venue.
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The band hadn't played live for a few months as they had been concentrating on writing new material and working on a very successful crowdfunding campaign as their chosen vehicle for releasing the next album and boy did it show!
Always a dynamic live band in which all six members totally perform on stage the energy they exuded as they tore into opening tracks 'The Scarlet Mark' and 'The Mirror' was unbelievable, this was a band hungry to do what they do best and do it now.
With a set list ranging through their eight year history over the next ninety minutes they covered all the bases you'd expect from a female fronted Metal band and much more. 'In The End' showed they can write a catchy chorus and that guitarist Stephan Schultz has rediscovered the art of making a guitar solo memorable.
'Lost' mixed Metal bombast and keyboard player Jeffrey Revet's subtle melodies and samples with Marcela Bovio's amazing soprano vocals, sweet and beautiful on the quiet parts and soaring effortlessly over the band in full flow.
'Broken' was haunting and wistful with some lovely atmospheric hooks from guitarist Eric Hazebroek. There was no hiding place from the rhythm section either with the effortlessly intricate yet powerful drumming of Martijn Peters and the HUGE energy expended on each and every song by bassist Johan Van Stratum highlighted in the complexities and time changes of the powerful 'Darker Days' and old favourite and crowd pleaser 'Passion'.
This gig was really the start of the band's move towards the recording of the new album and the next chapter of the band's history so of course they featured some new songs. 'Earthquake' and 'Secrets' were impressive slabs of groovy, heavy, atmospheric almost progressive Metal and 'The Curse' was the pick of the bunch for me with it's subtle rhythms and dynamic intensity. Things are sounding very promising for the next album due out around March 2014.
All good things have to come to an end and after a three song encore climaxing with now traditional set closer 'This Endless Night' the sweaty exhausted but happy band members took a bow in front of a sweaty, exhausted and happy audience.
In my opinion Stream Of Passion are simply one of the best live bands on the planet right now and anyone who gets the chance to see them on the small stages they have to play at this time should jump at the chance. They may not stay in venues this size for much longer!