The Gentle Storm Have Some Fascinating Ideas About What Things are Like in India and Amsterdam
I really admire a lot of Arjen Lucassen and Anneke Van Giersbergen’s respective work. So everything I’m about to write about the first two videos and singles from the new record by their project, The Gentle Storm, causes me pain.
The Gentle Storm’s sophomore album is called The Diary, and it is, as far as I can tell, basically a folk metal concept album based on the LonelyPlanet series of travel guides. The first single and video is called “Heart of Amsterdam,” and expresses this theme by having Van Giersbergen wander around the titular city dressed anachronistically. Of course, no one else is dressed this way, and some pedestrians are visibly confused by Van Giersbergen’s appearance.
No mention is made of weed, hookers, bicycles, windmills, mysteriously not-foul Heineken, or Anne Frank’s house — y’know, the stuff people actually associate with Amsterdam.
Then there’s the second video and single from the album, “Shores of India.” This video takes place in an alternate-universe India where there are no Indians (there are several close-ups of the darkest-skinned actor they were able to get, presumably in the hopes people would think he’s Indian and/or not notice that everyone else in the video is clearly caucasian), and then proceeds to do the opposite of what the “Amsterdam” video did and shove as many stereotypes into the clip as possible. There’s no snake charmers or emaciated guys peacefully protesting, but there are exotic dancers and an extended sequence where Lucassen “plays” a stringless sitar despite the fact that there is no sitar or even faux-sitar in the song.
I guess my point is: these videos maybe could’ve been thought through a little more. No need to just rush these things in production, guys!
The Gentle Storm’s Diary comes out March 25 on InsideOut. It contains two discs, the first of which is soft, pretty versions of the songs, and the second disc with heavier versions of the songs. I honestly could not tell you from which of those discs the above were culled.