The Gentle Storm – The Diary ALBUM REVIEW

Typically concept albums in which the concept is extremely obvious and told in a quite literal fashion are not my cup of tea at all. Mostly because that normally means it’s going to be cheesy as hell and force a lot of things to make a point. If you’re trying to make a song about being sad, and you just literally say “I’m sad”, that pretty much ruins the song in that it takes all of the guess work and imagination of it and ends up just being cringeworthy. So me liking this album is very much a surprise, as it goes against pretty much everything I “stand for” in metal. There’s no secret that this album is a women’s journey around the world on a ship during approximately the 1700s, quite literally being a diary as the album title indicates. Where this work scores high marks is in execution. This is actually a double album with two contrasting styles, the Gentle CD, which focuses on using period instruments and evoking a classic maritime folk feel. It even uses world folk instruments and concepts such as in the track “Shores of India”, which actually uses a sarod and tabla and an indian scale. The biggest strength about this side is that while it certainly isn’t quite authentic, nothing feels unnatural and forced, and it keeps the atmosphere fun yet not silly. I can actually imagine the women’s adventures as she tells her accounts of them in her diary. The Storm side is made up of the same songs, but this time it takes a more metal approach than the previous side, which had little to know metal influences in it whatsoever. I would say this is actually where the album starts to lose some points. While the texture of the side is a lot more violent and less whimsical, the guitars really don’t add enough to warrant an entire second CD to them. What I was hoping for was more riffs and solos, which is delivered to some extent, but a lot of the time it just sounds like they transposed the track from the first CD to be played with guitars.

I was going to call this Pirates of the Caribbean metal if I happened to not like it, as that is definitely the vibe I get from the heavy use of ominous contra-bass, but fortunately for this album, that is unnecessary, as even though the point of the work may not be the most profound thing in the world, it is executed well and avoids the many potential pitfalls that could bestow an album like this.


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