Music Monday Review: Stream of Passion – “A War Of Our Own”

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Stream Of Passion – A War Of Our Own

Rating: 4.5 /5

After leaving Napalm Records last year due to creative differences, Dutch prog-symphonic metallers Stream Of Passion have opted to go unsigned and forge their own destiny. The band chose to involve their fans in this leap of faith, and financed their next album through an immensely successful Indiegogo campaign (nearly doubling their goal of €25,000). Donors and other fans alike can now savor the fruits of SoP’s labor of love: A War Of Our Own is without a doubt the band’s most consistent and – no pun intended – impassioned album of the band’s career.

A War Of Our Own shows Stream Of Passion continuing down the “symphonic metal” road less travelled. The band focuses on the metal elements first, then molds the string quartet around that foundation. Thus, the thick guitars, intricate piano-playing, challenging arrangements, and Marcela Bovio’s entrancing voice remain front and center. Marcela’s Mexican heritage appears once again through Latin music influences (which first surfaced in 2011’s Darker Days) and her multi-lingual lyrics (which have always been a part of SoP’s sound).

What sets A War Of Our Own apart from other Stream of Passion albums are its progressiveness, contrasts, and musical and lyrical heaviness. “Monster,” “Exile,” “Earthquake,” and “The Curse,” for starters, balance corrosive riffs and atypical time signatures with haunting melodies, quieter passages, and a wide variety of hooks. Other songs like “Don’t Let Go,” “Autophobia,” and the title track feature more traditional structures with those distinctive SoP elements. Lyrically, Marcela explores conflicts of all kinds: relationships, internal, and cultural, particularly current events in her native country. Her emotionally engaging writing style makes her a true storyteller and is accentuated by her moving vocals.

I really have no complaints about A War Of Our Own. A few tracks (“Secrets” and the bonus “The Distance Between Us”) don’t shine for me as brightly as others do, but this is the first Stream Of Passion album where I don’t skip any songs. I can listen to it all the way through because I either like or love each track. It took a while for me to decide on my favorite tracks, which only speaks more to the album’s overall strength.

A War Of Our Own is much more than Stream Of Passion’s “emancipation proclamation.” It’s a gorgeously bold statement of worldliness, identity, and defiance. The band has unleashed their creativity like never before and proved that their fans – the people who matter most to the band – care about their vision for their music. If you’re looking for the truest representation of Stream Of Passion’s sound or for female-fronted metal bands that focus more on emotion and songwriting with only a hint of symphonic bombast, you’d be muy loco to overlook this stunning War.

Highlights: “Monster,” “The Curse,” “Exile,” “Out Of The Darkness”

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Deciding whether to buy A War Of Our Own from Amazon? Let me know whether you found my review helpful by clicking here and selecting either “Yes” or “No.”

Coming Soon: Expect my final CD review at Sonic Cathedral (for Die So Fluid’s The Opposites Of Lightand a new Recent Reads (book review of Lynn Kurland’s Dreamspinner) later this week!

Five Years at Sonic Cathedral – A Retrospective, Part 3: Artists #10 through #6

Finally getting around to the next part of my retrospective! We’re halfway through the countdown of my 20 favorite artists that I’ve covered at Sonic Cathedral over the past 5 years. If you’ve missed the first two installments, now’s a great time to catch up:

Part 1: Artists #20 through #16

Part 2: Artists #15 through #11

Which means that today I’ll reveal the first half of my top 10. 😉 And remember that you can catch the daily version of the countdown at my official Facebook page.

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New Review at Suite101.com: Stream of Passion’s “Darker Days”!

Hello!

I know it’s been a while.  But, 2011 has been a very busy year for me – mostly in good ways.  Now that things have calmed down, updating this site and keeping you more up to date with my work is one of my priorities.  Soon I’ll post about my articles I’ve written for Sonic Cathedral since the spring. But right now, I have exciting news: In addition to Sonic Cathedral, I’m now a writer for the website Suite101.com! And my first review there was published today! 🙂

So today, it’s time to learn more about the Dutch/Mexican band Stream of Passion and their new album, “Darker Days.”

Stream of Passion’s third album, Darker Days, sees the return of some old elements and an introduction to change for this Dutch sextet. Both areas have one thing in common: la musica latina. Yes, Marcela Bovio’s Spanish lyrics are back! Meanwhile, the band has incorporated some Latino music styles into SoP’s sensual, dynamic brand of symphonic metal. But, is the album truly bellisima – or does it fall short of this high standard?

Click here to read my review of Darker Days.