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). And I got very excited. 

With the bottomless creative reservoir of Arjen Lucassen at work for song writing and a very capable vocalist like Anneke in charge of lyrics, ’tis just gotta be good. Right? RIGHT?? And in truth, The Diary is a delight to listen to, with some slight similarities to the album Embrace the Storm of Stream of Passion 10 years earlier – but only just. Looks like they like stormy names for their productions. [...]  Got hooked? Raid on...!

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 of course. 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. Added to that come a felt gazillion of guest singers, rounding this all up some more. But it is the free-wheeling, refreshing spirit of the album itself that finally got to me. A sort of overarching freedom of creation – finally discovered and exploited – that permeates the whole album.  [...]  Got hooked? Raid on...!

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


No, 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 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 project way back last year I thought this was just a crazy idea (I am suffering from an attack of diplomacy today..