Progressive Dutch super group the Gentle Storm have released lyric videos for the two alternate versions of their song “Endless See” off their forthcoming album The Diary. You can see both versions in full below.
As Prog is reporting, the songs represent two vastly different sounds from the Dutch group consisting of vocalist Anneke van Giersbergen (The Gathering, Devin Townsend Project) and guitarist/keyboardist Arjen Anthony Lucassen (Ayreon, Ambeon, Guilt Machine, Stream of Passion). The first, aptly subtitled the “Gentle Version,” highlights the band’s folkier side. The instrumentation sounds like it features a lot of native Dutch percussion instruments in addition to general renaissance string instrument sounds. There is also the consistent presence of a fife-like woodwind instrument, which often carries the melody as the song modulates up as it goes.
The “Storm Version” then takes you out of the shire and drops you in the middle of a storm-tossed, tar-black sea. Dock bells chime before a string section enters with discordant musical stabs, again supported by what sound like native Dutch wind instruments. The presence of distorted electric guitars soon becomes a focal point of the dynamic nature of the song, along with van Giersbergen’s gliding, angelic vocals. Just like the “Gentle Version,” this version goes up in pitch as the song continues, but it also builds in terms of its arrangement, becoming heavier and heavier as electric guitars pile on top of each other. Eventually, a conventional drum kit comes in to guide the rhythm so that Lucassen can cut into a bent pinch-harmonic solo.
Musically, the songs follow more or less the same blueprint, but with different instruments playing different roles in each arrangement. One of the biggest giveaways to the intention of each song is Giersbergen’s vocal colorations on each track. For the “Gentle Version,” she sings in a meek and subdued manner, with an immediacy as if she were in the room with you; on the “Storm Version,” however, she sings like a Valkyrie swooping through a canyon, her voice reverberting around her environs in an impassioned manner.
As is pretty standard practice for progressive albums, the material is based around a narrative, which the videos help to convey according to van Giersbergen and Lucassen:
“The album opener serves as an introduction to our story-based album. Susanne, the main character, sings about her husband Joseph, who has just sailed out on another long voyage to the Far East. We are very excited to offer everybody a first taste – this is such a special album to the both of us.”
The Gentle Storm is also set to head out on a string of dates, as van Giersbergen has stated that she intends to tour in support of the album until the end of the year. Though Lucassen will be performing to celebrate the album release on March 26th with the whole band in Amsterdam, the rest of the tour will be completed without the virtuoso guitarist.
First, here’s the folky “Endless Sea – Gentle Version”
And then the more violent “Endless Sea – Storm Version”