Dutch symphonic metallers Stream Of Passion have had a challenging time since falling out with their record company but after a successful crowdfunding campaign they have come out of the other side with a critically acclaimed new album, 'A War Of Our Own', and they celebrated it's release at the Bibelot in Dordrecht, yet another excellent club venue in the Netherlands, a country which seems to have dozens of them.
There was no support tonight, instead the crowd were entertained with a big screen showing the new video for the album's title track and then a film of the band performing a short acoustic set at a recent event. This allowed them total control of their stage and we got an entrance with the band kicking into new song 'Monster' and then a curtain dropping on cue to show them already going at full tilt.
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For anyone that hasn't seen the band live they can be an assault on the senses, the music can be huge and epic sounding and all six band members are born on stage performers. Drummer Martijn Peters and keyboard player Jeffrey Revet cover off ever more complex licks and rhythms on their risers at the back while rarely staying still. Guitarists Eric Hazebroek and Stephan Schultz dominate their respective sides in totally different ways, Eric is brooding menace with a smile, Stephan is all movement and intensity yet both never seem to miss a beat.
Bass player Johan van Stratum is constantly moving one way or another or headbanging or twirling or competing with Stephan Schultz to see who can jump the highest and still not miss a note and in the middle of all this controlled chaos is the serene yet intense presence of singer Marcela Bovio. Looking beautiful but clawing every drop of emotion and living every moment of every lyric, her vocal performance tonight was one of the best I have ever seen her give. There were so many emotional moments and she hit some notes and tones which just made your ears purr with pleasure.
As this was the launch night for the new album in front of a faithful, adoring hardcore audience from as far away as Italy, France and the UK in some cases the whole of 'A War Of Our Own' got an airing. Mixing the new up with the old, the newer songs already sound just right for the band and a few are already becoming crowd favourites. The title track is a real grower of a song and Jeffrey Revet's shimmering keyboard line holds it all together.
'The Curse' has been a fan favourite for a few months now and had the crowd singing along with the catchy chorus. 'Earthquake' was a huge groove of a song featuring some outrageously good high notes from Ms Bovio and 'Delirio' is a fascinating mix of pounding metal riffs and latin rhythms and flavours, complete with lyrics in the Mexican songster's native language adding an exotic and let's face it, sexy edge.
The bonus track on the digipack version of the CD 'The Distance Between Us' featured some goosebump inducing operatic style vocal moments but the true masterpiece that sticks out for me is 'Don't Let Go', a true emotional epic of a song which shows the band at their best with it's aura of loss and angst yet it is powerful and uplifting at the same time. A real showstopper of a song.
The back catalogue wasn't ignored and old crowd favourite 'Passion' was still spine tingling after all these years and 'Lost' from the 'Darker Days' album is full of drama and soaring vocals and is one of the many highlights of the night.
The inevitable encore contained storming versions of Radiohead cover 'Street Spirit' and traditional set closer 'This Endless Night' and put a perfect seal on a night of triumph. This was a band preaching to the converted and celebrating with some of their hardcore fans the end of a long struggle and at the same time the beginning of a new chapter. Watch out for them on tour converting more people in the coming months.
Marcela Bovio-vocals, violin
Johan van Stratum-bass
A War Of Our Own
In The End
Don't Let Go
Out Of The Darkness
The Distance Between Us