Last year saw progressive metal multi-instrumentalistArjen Anthony Lucassen of Ayreon fame teaming up with The Gathering's most popular vocalist Anneke van Giersbergen for The Gentle Storm, a symphonic progressive metal project who just released their debut full-length 'The Diary' last month. This is their first tour ever although as is customary for Lucassen and his projects when they go live, he will not be participating (aside from the first show at Amsterdam).
Sole support tonight comes from another Lucassen-conceived project, namely Stream of Passion. Led by the impressively strong singing of Marcela Bovio, Stream of Passion storm through an emotive set of symphonic progressive metal that they have been creating for ten years now. Warm guitar melodies are married with heavier guitar passages, all encased in a pop-like structure where the vocals occupy centre stage. The sound of the venue is crystal clear, arming each instrument with the necessary breathing space to colour the venue. A sizeable chunk of the set draws on last year's 'A War of Our Own' with such songs as 'Don't Let Go', 'Monster' and the title track. However, songs from the Lucassen-record 'Embrace the Storm' are served up 'Deceiver' and 'Haunted' house notably more progressive elements than the latter material and attain the strongest responses. A cover of Radiohead's 'Street Spirit' (Fade Out)' fails to excite the audience as much as Bovio initially hoped but it is barely reconiseable as a Radiohead track in its symphonic metal clothing. But with the Garage commendably filled out, the audience response to the conclusion of their set is powerful and a grand reflection of the fine show Stream of Passion put on.
Opening with the heavier 'storm' version of 'Endless Sea', the live ensemble of Dutch melodic metallers TheGentle Storm begin their concert. Vocalist Anneke van Giersbergen's voice is truly the star of the show, strong and multi-tonal, an understandable inspiration to the female-fronted metal world. Her interactive stage presence and humourous stage banter add to her incredible likeability. Maria Bovio provides outstanding backing vocals, Ed Warby quite a name in the Dutch metal scene provides drums, Johan van Stratum also pinched from Stream of Passion hands bass duties, MercelBechtold from Mayan makes a formidable guitarist alongside Ferry Duijsens who appeared on 'The Diary' and Joost van den Broek formerly of After Forever fame handles the keyboard.
The core of the night is divided into three parts, with 'storm' versions of 'The Diary' tracks sandwiched between acoustic numbers. 'Heart of Amsterdam', 'The Storm' and 'Cape of Storms' are particular highlights, blending folk, classical, pop, metal andprog rock together with playful, emotive and celebratory results. A cover of The Gathering's atmospheric 'Eléanor' delights the fans with its atmospheric metal. The acoustic portion of the set is cover-heavy, including a beautiful rendition of Pink Floyd's tear-jerker 'Wish You Were Here' with van Giersbergen strumming away on her acoustic guitar and successfully getting the audience to sing along to each word. Ayreon's'Valley of the Queens' and 'Comatose' follow The Gentle Storm's 'gentle' version of 'The Moment'.
More covers emerge in the second 'storm' segment, namely 'Waking Dreams' from Ayreon, The Gathering's beloved 'Strange Machines' and closing Ayreon number 'Isis and Osiris'. The audience response is rapturous as the band bid the crowd farewell. However, the crowd's refusal to budge leads way to an encore beginning with the Devin Townsend song 'Fallout', injecting a heavier edge to the night, and final song, the meandering 'Shores of India', ending the night back on a Gentle Storm number.
Tonight's show has been a fantastic debut opportunity to see The Gentle Storm live on London soil as are seemingly all of van Giersbergen's sojourns here - and for those who loved the show, the band will return towards the end of the year supporting symphonic metal fellow countrymen Delain.
sorry, we currently have no gigs listed for this act.