Trying to find something new to say about another female fronted symphonic metal band is becoming an exercise in futility. For this listener and reviewer, it amounts to a load of frustration. The thing is this: Holland's Stream of Passion is one of the better bands in the genre. Their third album Darker Days finds the band well settled into their style.
Darker Days is as grand and sweeping as SoP's previous material. Large arrangements, both bombastic and symphonic, propel the band's chief focus, the vocals of Marcela Bovio. Her talent is best heard on Spark and Nadie Lo Ve where the compositions are minimal: vocals over piano and violin. Most often the songs see-saw between large crashing symphonic movements and Bovio's vocal interludes, only to rise in crescendo in combination at the end. Sometimes as on Lost the contrast is quite dramatic.
Still, like many other bands in the genre, there's a certain lavish and languishing redundancy expected, and on display here (and probably the fundamental reason why I found this a challenging listen). Thankfully, Stream of Passion works in some ingenuity into their arrangements for a progressive metal feel. This is notable on Collide, Darker Days, and maybe Closer. However, these elements are almost always overshadowed by the core symphonic element and the strong lead vocals. Patience is required to get the nuances within any arrangement. Perhaps the most persuasive drawback here is the lack of any noticeable or accessible hook to pull the listener in and carry them along.
Nevertheless, for grand symphonic metal Stream of Passion's Darker Days delivers the goods, and the subtle progressive notes add some much needed spice. If you're a fan of the band or genre, then Darker Days will certainly please you.
For grand symphonic metal Stream of Passion's Darker Days delivers the goods, and the subtle progressive notes add some much needed spice. If you're a fan of the band or genre, then Darker Days will certainly please you.