The Gentle Storm – The Diary (2015) – Review

[Originally posted on 30 August 2015]
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RockmusicRaider Review Gentle Storm The Diary - Album CoverHere I am going to hunt for once well outside my usual haunts and dark forests of yonder badlands, lost at sea – feeling like Jack Sparrow with his compass pointing nowhere. Landing back in spice trade nirvana, creaking planks and salted beef for supper. This new endeavour all started when I heard about a double-concept album called ‘The Diary’ coming out under the name of The Gentle Storm, featuring Anneke Van Giersbergen (long time ago with The Gathering, Townsend project and solo) as THE VOICE (okay, the vocalist…LOL) and Arjen Lucassen (Ayreon, Stream of Passion).Got hooked? Raid this some more...

Phantasma – The Deviant Hearts (2015) – Review

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RockmusicRaider Review - Phantasma - The Deviant Hearts - Album CoverTo ease my Death Metal injured ears somewhat, I started listening to some loftier and softer stuff. And stumbled across a band called Phantasma belting out a seemingly Nightwish-esque tune on an album called The Deviant Hearts. The fact that the ever cute Charlotte Wessels (Delain) is the female front on this project really piqued my interest right away. Not because she is cute, but because she can sing and is one of the most respected professionals in the genre.

Interestingly, the project actually features three core band members. The remaining two: Georg Neuhauser (Serenity) and Oliver Philipps (Everon) – and they harmonize really well, which immediately shows in the quality they deliver.Got hooked? Raid this some more...

Tuomas Holopainen – The Life and Times of Scrooge (2014) – Review

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RockmusicRaider - Tuomas Holopainen - Life and Times of Scrooge - Album CoverNo, it is not Metal. And it is not Nightwish – for sure, whereas there are similarities as described further down below. Tuomas Holopainen‘s 2014 solo project The Life and Times of Scrooge is nothing more (and nothing less) than a soundtrack for a story. A graphic novel – that never quite became a film – kind of in waiting for a film project to emerge. And it is a great story, by the way.

When I first learned about The Life and Times of Scrooge way back last year I thought this was just a crazy idea (I am suffering from an attack of diplomacy today). To tell a story is inherently difficult, as The Diary of The Gentle Storm can attest.Got hooked? Raid this some more...

Epica – The Quantum Enigma (2014) – Review

RockmusicRaider Review - Epica - Quantum Enigma - Album CoverWhat a change since The Phantom Agony and the likes. Some ten years have passed and a few follow-on albums too. But this kind of change is still rough.

And – oops – gonna make friends again! Or perhaps not with all these august fans in action to protect and serve. And even the Revolver Mag giving The Quantum Enigma very high notes. Well, I am torn on this one here album and it is indeed a mixed bag that you get from the Dutch Symphonic Metal band Epica. No doubt about it.

For sure all is quite well produced, but – gosh – just a tad too much bombast in it.Got hooked? Raid this some more...

Within Temptation – The Unforgiving (2011) – Review

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Within-Temptation-The-Unforgiving-2011OK, I get it! Nothing is ever easy and change is a constant, as there is no such thing as a steady state in physical music creation. And it needs some courage to do the change-over that these guys have done. Like in radical and absolute. Nothing much left of Metal and Gothic or Symphonic, whilst there are some attempts to get back on track.

The 2011 album The Unforgiving from Within Temptation is a totally new direction from what was before. Some of my co-reviewers compared the record to Nightwish, but there is no Nightwish ingenuity in there, folks. To me it sounds like a mix between Delain and Fleetwood Mac.Got hooked? Raid this some more...