With sincere congratulations to singer Marcela Bovio for parlaying her successful stint on Ayreon
’s 2004 “Human
Equation” into the lead vocalist for Stream Of Passion
, their effort on the 2009 LP release “The Flame Within
” appears to be little more than a career vehicle for keeping her stock valuable and her name relevant by the band’s directors.
Bovio is clearly in the center of their sonic spotlight with highlighted verse lines (“Now or Never
” and “Let Me In”) and extravagant vocal dubbing (also “Now or Never
” and “Run Away”). To add, the songs are more traditionally written with the emphasis on the singing parts rather than any extended instrumental sections, of which here there are none. There are even two full ballads with Bovio singing over piano and violin (“Run Away” and “All I know”) with a slew of other songs featuring soft sections with a point of keeping her in the foreground.
The frustrating aspect of Stream Of Passion
as a band, then, is clearly hearing some impressive musicianship in sections that are just so very small, especially in the guitar solos, rhythm lines, and varying keyboard lines. Stephan Shultz is a very flashy lead guitarist and some of his best work is found in the short solos within some of the songs (“The Art of Loss
”, “In the End
”, and “A Part of You”). There’s only one drum highlight to speak of (“A Part of You”) as well as bass (“Burn
”). There are plenty of keyboard intros (mostly piano) but not a lot of keys overall. Lastly, the rhythm guitar can change up (“The Art of Loss
” and “Now or Never
”) but still maintain an even standing with the song’s median sound.
Secondly, the widespread evenness of every member’s input challenges the very definition of the band. To argue, Stream Of Passion
is not a symphonic metal band at all but rather a highly contracted progressive band with Gothic
influences. In short, to really enjoy “The Flame Within
” one would have to acknowledge the band’s main focus which is Marcela Bovio first and foremost singing over a set of colorful but nonetheless simplified musical arrangements. It would be a slight to the band to state that “The Flame Within
” is really a veiled solo project, but by looking at the album’s overall composition, it would be hard to categorize otherwise.