Bursting onto the female-fronted metal scene with their debut album "Embrace the Storm" in 2005, Stream of Passion has since transformed from a project into a full-time band. The follow-up to their debut, "The Flame Within", was released through Napalm Records in 2009. And after two years of intense touring and an impressive string of memorable shows and festival appearances throughout Europe and Canada, they are ready to present you their third offering: "Darker Days".
Beside Mexican vocalist Marcela Bovio, the solid line-up since the "The Flame Within" includes talented Dutch musicians Martijn Peters (drums) Johan van Stratum (bass), Eric Hazebroek (rhythm guitars), Stephan Schultz (lead guitars) and Jeffrey Revet (keyboards).
"Nothing compares to playing live! We live for performances," says Marcela, who moved from Mexico to Holland to be closer to her band mates. "The more we play together, the more we enjoy sharing that energy with each other on stage. It's a wonderful thing to be able to share that feeling with the audience and see them enjoy the moment as much we do. That is why it was extremely important for us to be able to bring that same energy into our recordings."
Eager to find a way to bring that live spark into their newest CD, the band looked for extremes by exploring different styles and incorporating them into their sound. It resulted in heavy guitar-driven songs with solid drums and inventive bass, framed by raging pianos and eloquent string quartet arrangements. All of this led by Marcela's mesmerizing voice, whose Latin-American roots brought daring Latin rhythms and styles into the mix, as well as Spanish lyrics and the unique sound of the bandoneon. Lyrically Marcela explored the darker times we live in; a world in turmoil figuratively. More literally the title "Darker Days" refers to the difficulty Mexican-born Marcela had adjusting to the much shorter and darker winter days of Northern Europe, affecting her mood more than she could ever have imagined.
"For me, this album is not only an emotional outlet," explains Marcela, "but also a way for me to keep connected to my roots and my old home in Mexico. While writing the new songs I drew a lot of inspiration from all those wonderful Latin rhythms and styles like Mexican folk music and the Argentinian tango. That's where we got the idea of incorporating a bandoneon in some of the songs; it gave them a very special touch!" Marcela explains, "They might seem like two very different worlds, but that deep emotion and intense passion are present in all these styles; and these are precisely the qualities we think are essential in music, so in the end it made a lot of sense to bring them together."
The combination of these extreme musical styles delivered like the album's opening track "Lost". On this song heavy riffs and touches of tango come together to create a track full of passion and drive. The songs "Our Cause" and title track "Darker Days" stay true to the old Stream of Passion, combining Spanish and English lyrics and Latin-inspired rhythms and melodies, but reveal a definite new dimension in the band's style.
Contrasts can be found throughout the album. "The Mirror" and "The World Is Ours" are loaded with heavy, grinding guitars and upbeat rhythms; but there are also warm melodic passages, such as in the ballad "Spark" where enchanting piano melodies guide Marcela's moving vocal lines. In tracks like "Collide" and "Broken", the band brings together both ends of the spectrum: a true rollercoaster of emotions.
For the writing and recording process, Stream of Passion collaborated with well-known Dutch producer/songwriter/arranger Joost van den Broek (ex-After Forever/Ayreon/Star One), who has been very close with the band from the early days. "No other producer could have understood the path chosen by the band as he does", says Marcela. With Joost completing the team, "Darker Days" was certain to have a solid and modern production, lifting the music to a higher level.
In order to find the perfect sound for each instrument, the recordings of the album took place in different studios in Holland. For example, the drums and string arrangements were recorded at Sandlane Studios (Star One, Stereo), in a wonderful live room with top of the line equipment. The rhythm guitars and bandoneon were laid down at Graveland Studios (Revamp, Autumn), where producer and guitarist Arno Krabman built the perfect conditions to get a massive guitar sound.
"Darker Days" embodies the ambition of the band to grow further and expand their musical horizons. Marcela adds, "This album takes us yet another step closer to finding our voice. Over the past years we've grown incredibly as a band and now, more than ever, we are anxious to get back on stage and share these new songs with audiences all over the world."