The Gentle Storm
The Diary

CD1: Gentle
01 Endless Sea (gentle version)
02 Heart of Amsterdam (gentle version)
03 The Greatest Love(gentle version)
04 Shores Of India (gentle version)
05 Cape Of Stoms (gentle version)
06 The Moment (gentle version)
07 The Storm (gentle version)
08 Eyes Of Michiel (gentle version)
09 Brightest Light (gentle version)
10 New Horizons (gentle version)
11 Epilogue: The Final Entry (gentle version)
CD2: Storm
12 Endless Sea (storm version)
13 Heart Of Amsterdam (storm version)
14 The Greatest Love (storm version)
15 Shores Of India (storm version)
16 Cape Of Stoms (storm version)
17 The Moment (storm version)
18 The Storm (storm version)
19 Eyes Of Michiel (storm version)
20 Brightest Light (storm version)
21 New Horizons (storm version)
22 Epilogue: The Final Entry (storm version)

Anneke Van Giersbergen – vocals
Arjen Anthony Lucassen – electric and acoustic guitar, acoustic bass guitar, banjo, mandolin, percussion and hammered dulcimer
Live band:

Anneke van Giersbergen - vocals
Merel Bechtold - guitars
Ferry Duijsens - guitars
Ed Warby - drums
Johan van Stratum - bass
Joost van den Broek – keyboards


Marcela Bovio - backing vocals
Ed Warby - drums
Rob Snijders - percussion
Johan van Stratum - bass
Joost van den Broek - piano
Timo Somers - guitar solo on "Heart of Amsterdam"
Ben Mathot - violin
Hinse Mutter - double bass
Maaike Peterse - cello
Jenneke de Jonge - French horn
Jeroen Goossens - wind instruments
"Epic Rock Choir" - choir

Produced by Arjen Anthony Lucassen

Ayreon - 01011001
Guilt Machine - On this Perfect Day
Star One - Victims of the Modern Age
Devin Townsend - Epicloud
Devin Townsend - Z2
Artikel om Gentle Storm

Released 2015-03-23
Reviewed 2015-03-26


A man of contradiction: A social recluse, a musician with stage fright – contradictions is what Arjen Anthony Lucassen seems to be about and now he is releasing a contradiction of an album. Anneke Van Giersbergen of The Gathering-fame is the voice and co-author of this album that is called The Diary and is a conceptual album about a sailor and a girl, a story happening in the 17th century Holland. The Gentle Storm is a band in the sense that they have gathered a gang of musicians to go on tour but if you want to see Arjen touring with Anneke and these songs you have missed your chance because the upcoming tour does not feature Arjen who thinks touring is a huge waste of time.

Musically it is a story in eleven chapters, eleven chapters told in two very different ways. There is a gentle version that contains folky acoustic songs and a storm version that contains a full on progressive metal album. You get two albums in one, two versions of the same album. It is a cool way to do things, making two such different versions of the same songs, a different idea which I suppose is what Arjen is all about – you can read a little more on that in the article I wrote about the band, it is linked to at the left of this text.

The album has a cool cover artwork, the storytelling is very interesting and I think they tell the story in a very interesting way and you can take it in through different channels although they are pretty similar in mood though one is heavy and one is definitely not heavy. The production is excellent, the soundscape is great, kind of like a painting telling a story. There are some recognisable traits from Arjen’s previous works like the guitars but the many keys and Hammonds are left behind this time and the only keyboard is a piano. Anneke’s voice is great and she shows a great range when performing these songs, great variation over the eleven tracks.

I think that this is a very novel concept to make a double album of the same songs in two different styles like this, I also think that it works best if you listen to one part and not both following one another as that tends to get a little repetitive. I also think that the concept of making two quite diametrically opposite versions of the songs is stealing a little bit of attention from the songs and you tend to review the novelty of the idea rather than the novelty of the songs. The songs feel a bit familiar to someone who knows Ayreon and Arjen’s music by heart, I recognise many hooks and styles from these albums but of course there are differences - the good thing about Arjen is that he never repeats himself.

I like this album; it has some excellent songs, excellent production, a great mood and a positive atmosphere. It has everything a great album needs and fans of Arjen’s or Anneke’s earlier works should pick it up, I am sure none of you will be disappointed. But reviewing an album is not just about how the album makes you feel the moment you first hear it, you need to put things in relation to other albums that are similar in style and made by the people involved and you don’t need to look far back in order to find something better by both Anneke and Arjen, Drive by Anneke is brilliant and the Ayreon Theory of Everything is even more brilliant and this album cannot really compete with those, hence my rating.

There is nothing really wrong with this album, it has no real weak points and songs like Heart of Amsterdam in the gentle version and Shores of India in the storm version are both fantastic songs especially the last one that has an excellent chorus. But there are more great songs on the album and I think that the stormy version is the better one and it will probably be the one that gets the most playing time now that the album is reviewed and I no longer need to hear all of it. Not that the gentle folky album is poor in any way, it is just not as good as the progressive, bombastic and enjoyable metal album.

It is a great album but it has a small problem and it is spelled Ayreon, Star One, Guilt Machine, The Gathering, Anneke Van Giersbergen and perhaps something else as well, meaning that Anneke and Arjen has done greater things in the past. Though that doesn’t mean that I cannot enjoy this excellent album from time to time, and I hope they do make a sequel because this has potential to rival the masterpieces by Ayreon and Star One and that would be something to be proud of- but until then I am going to enjoy this album along with all those other great albums featuring this great duo.




Label: InsideOut
Three similar bands: Ayreon/Anneke Van Giersbergen/Arjen Anthony Lucassen

Rating: HHHHHHH (5/7)
Reviewer: Daniel Källmalm

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