If you’ll fall in love with just one band this summer, this may just be the one. Stream of Passion is Gothic metal at its best. In just four years the band released two studio albums (‘Embrace the Storm’ in 2005 and ‘The Flame Within’ in 2009), as well as a live DVD, ‘Live in the Real World’ (2006). Since the last record Stream of Passion played numerous live shows and recorded an excellent new album, ‘Darker Days’. On this release the group, led by the Mexican-born singer Marcela Bovio, boldly explores the genre and experiments with seemingly different and unrelated styles. Their sound here is largely inspired by the passionate nature of Latin American music, rather than the European medieval/folk influences usually encountered in Gothic metal. As a result, their music is quite original, passionate and intense, but at the same time dark and heavy.
This complex nature of the group’s music is demonstrated by the elaborate opening song, Lost, which exudes quite an unsettled vibe. The bandoneón used throughout the verse adds some drama and passionate energy, while the violin arrangement reinforces the overall sense of urgency of this piece. In Collide, the music alternates between fast and heavy riffs, mellow verse and the floating, melodic chorus. Subtle vocals are in stark contrast to the loud and heavy guitar sound, creating an emotionally and musically diverse piece. The title song, Darker Days, is similar in character to Lost – the fast violin parts create the feeling of insecurity. Marcela’s vocal lead is both intense and complex, whereas the instrumental arrangement revolves around the dynamic between heavy guitar and subtle piano sounds. As one of the most notable songs on the album, this piece contains the essence of the record, encompassing a wide range of emotions. The Mirror is definitely another one of the captivating pieces. It is rather peculiar in sound, with bold and unusual intervals creating a sense of theatricality and drama. This song is quite a showcase piece, highlighting both the creativity and skill of the musicians.
The album contains some melodic and soothing ballads, such as Spark and Nadie Love. The relatively simple instrumental arrangements provide a subtle background to the beautiful, heart-warming vocals. Both pieces are true musical gems on this album. Broken is also an interesting ballad, and one of the more inspired pieces. A quiet, mysterious verse is followed by an intense chorus. The song then calms down again, to explode just before a quiet finale. The emotional landscape is quite wide here, ranging from sadness and longing to hope and passion. Concluding the album is The World Is Ours. Although featuring the heavy guitar sounds, the piece is still melodic and calm. It has a feeling of mystery or a dream and ends quite abruptly, leaving the listener in amazement.
Stream of Passion is a fitting name for this band, when it comes to describing their music. ‘Darker Days’ takes the listener on an emotional journey with amazing musicianship, captivating vocals and emotive lyrics. The musicians aim to excel at what they do, yet still focus on communicating deeper feelings through their music. ‘Darker Days’ is a pure indulgence for a metal enthusiast, but also for the romantic you know you are…
Written by Natalia Gronowska