THE GENTLE STORM, the collaboration between AYREON mastermind Arjen Lucassen and former THE GATHERING singer Anneke Van Giersbergen, will release its debut album, "The Diary", on March 25 via InsideOut Music. The effort will be "an epic concept double album" and "a combination of classical meets metal and acoustic folk," according to Lucassen.
The first behind-the-scenes clip for THE GENTLE STORM can be seen below.
"The Diary" cover artwork can be seen below. Arjen said: "I loved the front cover of the last STREAM OF PASSION album, so I tracked down the cover artist, Alexandra V. Bach. I sent her some samples of the THE GENTLE STORM music, and explained the album concept. She made a moodboard that captured the feel of the story and the music. We then gave her the go-ahead to design the cover. She did an amazing job that exceeded our expectations: Alexandra's cover art represents THE GENTLE STORM perfectly!"
Lucassen and Van Giersbergen originally crossed paths in 1998 for AYREON's breakthrough third album, "Into The Electric Castle". Ten years later they teamed up again for AYREON's seventh album, "01011001", both having established themselves as world-renowned heavy metal/rock artists in the decade between releases. Although their respective musical styles went in vastly different directions during that time, Arjen and Anneke retained a common ground that ultimately led to the creation of THE GENTLE STORM.
THE GENTLE STORM's double album is an epic production of AYREON proportions, divided into two parts as a full-on metal assault (CD1) and lighter folk arrangements (CD2). It also heralds Anneke's return to the realms of heavy guitars and soaring vocals reminiscent of THE GATHERING's breakthrough album "Mandylion".
THE GENTLE STORM's album release will be followed by live dates through the spring and summer European festival season.
Known for touring extensively year after year, Anneke will take THE GENTLE STORM on the road backed by well known Dutch talents. Arjen, however, will not be part of the live production.