THE GENTLE STORM

Symphonic Metal • Netherlands
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The Gentle Storm is a new band formed by Arjen Lucassen and Anneke van Giersbergen. Their debut album The Diary was released in March 2015 utilising the unusual idea of recording the same set of songs twice in two very different styles, resulting in a 'gentle' album and a 'storm' album. While the gentle album focuses on folk music, the storm album is a symphonic metal release.

- Biography by diamondblack, updated by adg211288 (March 2015).
Thanks to diamondblack for the addition and adg211288, rushfan4 for the updates

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THE GENTLE STORM The Diary album cover 4.34 | 12 ratings
The Diary
Symphonic Metal 2015

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THE GENTLE STORM The Diary

Album · 2015 · Symphonic Metal
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Losimba
I admit I only managed to listen into The Diary once yet. So I can't tell you which songs are my favourites, though I might edit this review later and do so.

That said, The Diary is not too surprising for those who frequently listen to music by Arjen Lucassen. The biggest difference to most of his other albums is the number of vocalists, which in case of this albums is one. And I've heard far worse singers than Anneke van Giersbergen, though her voice is not really distinct compared to many other female prog vocalists. The Diary is his third album where every single song is featured in two versions, so it is not uncommon for Arjen Lucassen to mix acoustic music with a metal shade of prog, and I like this mix. I like both CDs almost equally, though I guess that in the end more Gentle versions will find their way onto my favourites playlist than Storm ones.

As I said, I only listened in once, but I'm quite sure that, while The Diary is certainly a very strong album, I don't feel it deserves full five stars. But I'm happy to hand out four and a half.

THE GENTLE STORM The Diary

Album · 2015 · Symphonic Metal
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adg211288
The Diary (2015) is the debut full-length album by Dutch duo The Gentle Storm. The Gentle Storm is the new project of Ayreon mastermind Arjen Anthony Lucassen and is a collaboration with singer Anneke van Giersbergen (ex-The Gathering, Agua de Annique). Anneke has also appeared on the Ayreon albums Into the Electric Castle (1998) and 01011001 (2008) so the two aren't exactly strangers to working together. The Diary, as usual for a Lucassen release, is a double album. The big difference this time is that, as a musician evidently willing to keep trying new things, The Diary is actually two different versions of the same set of eleven songs.

Similarly to how the Ayreon albums The Dream Sequencer (2000) and Flight of the Migrator showcase a soft and a heavy side of Arjen's music, The Diary features both a Gentle album and a Storm album to do much the same thing. The Gentle album is based around folk music while the Storm album features more familiar metal territory, although more in a symphonic metal vein than Lucassen's usual progressive metal fare.

I've actually been wanting hear what Lucassen could come up with using a folk based context, so I've actually found myself more interested in The Diary's Gentle version at first despite being a fan of metal first and foremost. The band have taken their influences for this version mainly from Celtic and Asian folk music. Anneke's voice is a perfect fit for this style; absolutely beautiful. It's pretty much everything I could have wanted from a folk album by Arjen Lucassen. The Storm version of the album really gives it a run for its money though. You've still got the folk element in there but the epic symphonic arrangements prove equally strong and suited to Anneke's singing. The riffs turn towards power metal a couple of times in this version, first in Cape of Storms and then again and more notably in The Storm. The album's Storm version isn't 100% heavy though, The Moment on this version for example is also largely light though still a different arrangement to the actual Gentle version. It's normal for symphonic metal albums to include something like this, but in this case it does rather defeat the purpose of the exercise in my opinion.

I've come up with the following as my personal preference for a merged version of the album, though this was hard to do as there are a couple of tracks like Heart of Amsterdam, Shores of India and The Storm where it could have gone either way and my final choices were based on the narrowest of margins, such as the (Gentle) Heart of Amsterdam's top notch folk melodies or (Storm) The Storm's use of power metal riffs.

Endless Sea (Storm) Heart of Amsterdam (Gentle) The Greatest Love (Storm) Shores of India (Storm) Cape of Storms (Storm) The Moment (Gentle) The Storm (Storm) Eyes Of Michiel (Gentle) Brightest Light (Storm) New Horizon (Gentle) Epilogue: The Final Entry (Gentle)

So as you can see my split is roughly even between both versions. This isn't to say that although I've made a clear choice between each version of the songs, other than those three more difficult decisions mentioned above, that the other is an inherently lesser version of course, though I will probably always question the so called Storm version of The Moment so not being that heavy until the closing moments (no pun intended). They're both excellent albums and that's what makes it difficult to choose between them. On one hand the folk album is something I wanted to hear from Arjen Lucassen but on the other the metal album is him doing what he does best in a slightly new way. Of course Anneke sounds excellent on both so the final call really comes down to the music and it's quality.

I honestly really can't choose. I'm pretty clear on which I prefer when regarding Ayreon's The Dream Sequencer and Flight of the Migrator, it's the first one every time, but a decision regarding The Diary is not so clear cut. But hey good news, you get both for the price of one, so The Diary is a win-win debut from The Gentle Storm. I'm going to go with 4.5 stars; it doesn't quite stand up to Arjen's best work, but this is an excellent collaboration with an amazing vocalist and I think fans of either of them are going to love it as much as I do.

THE GENTLE STORM The Diary

Album · 2015 · Symphonic Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
666sharon666
Ayreon mastermind Arjen Lucassen is back with his new project The Gentle Storm, this time with singer Anneke van Giersbergen (formerly of The Gathering) as his partner in crime. They've worked together before on Ayreon. Their first album together is the double disc release, The Diary. Lucassen is no stranger to the double album, most Ayreon albums are doubles. The Diary is a little different though as the two discs both contain the same songs, done in very different styles. Disc one is the Gentle version and disc two is the Storm version.

The Gentle version of The Diary is a progressive folk release, drawing on both Asian and Celtic influence. The Storm version on the other hand is best described as symphonic metal, but the same folk influences creep in giving it a folk metal edge while both progressive and power metal leanings can also be found. Regardless of version, The Diary is probably one of Lucassen's more accessible albums, as it's full of catchy songs, sung beautifully by Anneke. Both discs are impressive work but ultimately I personally find I prefer the Gentle version, despite being more of a metalhead. My favourites are Heart of Amsterdam, The Greatest Love and Shores of India.

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