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Stream of Passion - A War of Our Own

Stream of Passion - CD Review
A War of Our Own

Stream of Passion - A War of Our Own


CD Info
Self Released
13 tracks English lyrics
2014 Release


The title A War Of Our Own refers in part to the project that resulted in this album. Until now Stream of Passion released three albums with a record company. That co-operation was not always optimal. That struggle always influences the settings around a new album. The ultimate decision was to go a different direction without a record company. To go the uncertain road of crowd funding. The outcome of that showed that Stream of Passion has built up a lot of credits over the years that paid off by reaching the initial target in just a couple of weeks. Also the extended target was reached and with that there is a bonus for the crowd funders: a (video) recording of 4 acoustic songs.

Stream of Passion is: Marcela Bovio (vocals, violin), Johan van stratum (bass), Jeffrey Revet (keyboards), Eric Hazebroek (guitar), Stephan Schultz (guitar) and Martijn Peters (drums).
Guest appearances: Ben Mathot (violin) and David Faber (cello).
With their own “war” the band achieved musical freedom and could make their own decisions. “Go for your dreams” and “Live your Life” became a kind of message that also influenced some of the songs. The crowd funding campaign didn’t bring only financial participations (funding for perks) but also artistic support. French artist Alexandra Bach participated with magnificent artwork. Another dream.

With the artistic freedom the sound is more authentic than ever. It’s definitely SoP’s own sound, clearly recognizable and unique. In A War Of Our Own, Stream of Passion combines progressive and melodic metal with brutal guitars. But there is also space for symphonic elements, Latin-American passion and special rhythmic percussion. And in the authentic SoP sound the piano and violin are definitely added value. Overall the new album goes back to the band’s roots (back to Embrace the Storm and The Flame Within) in a matured way. As Johan said: “Stream of Passion 2.0”.

Back to the roots definitely  applies for Marcela. Some of the songs have Spanish lyrics and they refer to the situation in her homeland Mexico. For example, the opening songs “Monster” and “A War of Our Own” refer to the drugs war in Mexico and the impact on the people involved.
Different “wars” are the inspiration for songs like the sensitive “Secrets”, about the 3-year-old Mara that died last year of cancer. Stream of Passion played on the concert “Metal for Mara” in 2012. “Exile” is about the struggle from someone that needed to leave his country. “Don’t Let go” is a message from someone about life. All these songs call for “Find[ing] the power to survive and create change”.
The first listening of the album happened in a nice setting: the Sandlane Recording Facilities (where the album was recorded) with the band present. I was lucky to be there as press (Sonic Cathedral) and as crowd funder. So I could already listen twice.  And I could be at the recording of the acoustic set in the studio. A bit more about this later in the review.
I already mentioned the authentic sound of SoP. It is characterized by alternating heavy and softer parts,  with heavy guitar riffs and solos, the varied drums and percussion, the strong bass lines, the symphonic key and string (violin) arrangements, piano and of course the warm emotional voice of Marcela. All songs have these elements, but in a way all the pieces are different. There are always surprises.  So describing each song would bring a lot of words and similar remarks.  I will just highlight some of the specifics I’ve found until now in each of the songs.

The opening song “Monster” has a chorus “You become a Monster” that is uneasy and catchy at the same time.  You feel a little embarrassed to join in, but it’s inviting to do. “A War Of Our Own” opens with a piano theme that is coming back throughout the song. It’s a minimal theme that brought me associations with Philip Glass. “The Curse”, a song already for quite some time on the set list, can now be heard in an optimized setting. It’s clear why it’s on the set list. “Autophobia” starts as a ballad but will not end that way. To underline the variety in the SoP music, there is a natural break with fragile vocals and just piano followed by violin before getting back to the heavy mainline. In “Burning Star” Marcela’s voice is challenged, but the mix of melodic and heavy vocals is never a problem. The high notes at the end are just great. The most fragile song is “For You” with very emotional vocals, subtle piano and violin. In “Exile” there are completely different vocals with special “effects” and a mix of heavy riffs, melodic themes and breaks with piano and cello. The sometimes sensitive “Delerio” has both different rhythm structures (percussion , piano and vocals) and the heavy SoP sound elements. “Earthquake” has also been played live before. In this song the drums create a different sound than in the other songs. Additional vocals at the end make it complete. “Secrets” is a special song. All the emotions of the story are there. The song has also a great guitar solos. My favourite is “Don’t Let Go”. I heard it already a couple of times in a (more) acoustic setting. It’s hard to explain why. I guess because the way the song is built up and how everything fits together. The electric version is as powerful as the acoustic version. For me it’s already a Stream of Passion classic. “Out Of The Darkness” has all the elements of the SoP sound. The most intriguing is the instrumental part. In “The Distance Between Us” we hear some other flavours of Marcela’s vocals, from jazzy to operatic. The guitar solo and the chorus make it a great song to close the album.
Track List:

A War Of Our Own
The Curse
Burning Star
For You
Don't Let Go
Out Of The Darkness
The Distance Between Us

After the listening session we were invited to join the recording of the bonus video for the crowd funders. For this acoustic set Stream of Passion selected 4 songs. These songs were played twice. For this acoustic set Ben Mathot (Ayreon) joined on violin. After listening to the CD version we also heard 3 songs of the album in a different version. This was a great experience.

“Video” List:

A War Of Our Own
My Leader
Don't Let Go
The Curse

All the members of Stream of Passion had their contribution to the whole project. Add to that the excellent production (not too clean and where emotion and energy is still in) of Joost van den Broek at Sandlane and you get an excellent album. Stream of Passion used their freedom in a perfect way. They used it to create a modern, mature and authentic sound. A War Of Our Own is an album that deserves a nomination for album of the year.