LABEL: Independent
RELEASE: September 9th, 2023
AUTHOR: Samantha Shears

STREAM OF PASSION albumrand201. The Hunter
02. Tonight
03. Chasing A Ghost
04. The End Is The Beginning
05. The Promise

Out of all the bands that have called it quits over the years, STREAM OF PASSION was at the top of my list of bands I’ve missed the most. They made the bittersweet announcement in 2016 that they would be parting ways, but would be performing a number of farewell shows and releasing a live DVD entitled Memento, which came out later that year. It was quite a welcome surprise when, six years later, they announced another chapter for STREAM OF PASSION, not only in the form of a live reunion, but new music as well. I’m certainly not the only fan who was eager for their return. The first live show announced sold out quickly, and so did the second. The crowdfunding campaign for a new EP was an overwhelming success, and now here we have Beautiful Warrior to grace our ears.

Among the vast sea of bands that get lumped into the symphonic metal genre, STREAM OF PASSION has always stood out, with its incorporation of progressive elements, the warm, inviting voice of Marcela Bovio and the more intimate rather than bombastic approach to the sound, utilizing piano and strings to create melody. It is apparent immediately from opening song and lead single The Hunter that the magic is not lost. It’s a stunning, dynamic track that tells the tale of breaking free from a toxic relationship. It succeeds in both feeling fresh while still familiar to fans who have missed the band in the years they have been apart. If anything, those years have given the band time to reinvigorate and come back stronger than ever.

The sound quality of Beautiful Warrior is impeccable, giving each instrument a chance to shine. Joost van den Broek, a long-time collaborator of the band who has also worked with EPICA, BLACKBRIAR and AYREON to name a few, is at the helm of the production side of the things. The lyrics, written by Marcela, also stand out across the entire EP. Each song tells a unique story, but themes of learning to be vulnerable, finding inner strength and overcoming challenges recur throughout. These concepts are most clear on second single The End Is The Beginning, the track in which the title of the EP can be found in the lyrics. Its video, as well as the cover of the EP, take inspiration from kintsugi, the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery with materials like gold and silver, celebrating flaws as part of the piece’s history rather than concealing them. Connecting this idea with the human experience, Marcela sings: “These scars will be her badge of honour / Embodying the profundity of a true work of art”.

STREAM OF PASSION MarcelaEven at the lyrically darkest point of the EP with Chasing A Ghost, a part-English, part-Spanish song that describes fear and doubt, Marcela chants about perseverance towards the track’s end: “Hold on, my dear / Our time will come / Our wounds will heal / Our time will come”. This song is perhaps the most technically interesting, with an eerie intro, proggy rhythms and a striking guitar solo. The repetition of the words “I know” create a catchy hook for the chorus, as does the repetition of the title on the previous track Tonight, a memorable song with an impressive vocal performance.

Closer The Promise is absolutely beautiful, starting out only with piano and Marcela’s voice. The track gradually builds, adding strings and light percussion before the full band joins in after the second chorus. The backing vocals of the final chorus seem to reference one of the previous songs, which is a nice touch. I’d call this track a standout, but really all five songs here are top-notch.

Beautiful Warrior is an excellent new addition to the STREAM OF PASSION discography that should please fans, both old and new alike. It is unclear exactly what the future holds for the band, but whether they choose to continue as STREAM OF PASSION or focus on their own individual projects, I am sure they have more in store either way.