After an entirely homemade debut EP (“Storm Born”), the Portuguese one-man-project A Constant Storm, led by Daniel Laureano (Stormbringer), managed to put together his first full-length: “Storm Alive” (2016). This time with the collaboration of Ricardo Pereira (vocals) and Afonso Aguiar (production and drum programming), which revealed to be of substantial relevance to the upgrade and concept of this endeavor.
Before saying anything else, this is a piece that must be listened and dissected from a very specific angle. As Daniel teases in his bandcamp: “when it comes to defining musical genres, the wilder the better”. Everything is allowed and this album becomes a storm in itself, encapsulating a very wide spectrum of influences.
This opus immediately invites us to get lost in its maze by opening with an eerie and enticing piano that will promptly be crushed by decisive guitar riffs and drum arrangements (“Labyrinth”). There are numerous inspirations in the core of “Storm Alive”: from black metal, epic and melodic heaviness, to dark wave and even mesmerizing oriental innuendos (“Nexus”). This piece is certainly a whirlwind of musicality and emotions.
For instance, there are noticeable Sopor Aeternus and Dead Can Dance influences in the omnipresent keyboard arrangements right from the beginning. The first title “Labyrinth” might even be a reference to DCD’s “Into the Labyrinth” and “Nexus” keyboard intro reminds me a lot of DCD’s “Agape”. On the other hand, the frantic “Pale March” surprises us with more unconventional rhythms that bring a comic relief to the tempestuous atmosphere of this record (be prepared for a kizomba feel somewhere around the corner).
Soon, “Flow of Time” acoustic chords will make everything fade away and I feel in this composition a hint of Bathory’s atmosphere (and even a neofolk flavour). Daniel’s clear distant echoing voice hides amidst the guitar, resembling the intangible nature of time itself. And just when it seems that his voice is about to extinguish, we are struck by a raging storm of bursting guitar riffs and deep sibilant growls. This is somehow a moment of introspection that blends its own narrative with the concept of the project and that unfolds into the ode of this album: “Storm Alive”; an unceremonious 8 minutes piece where hopelessness and determination continuously face each other, creating a cycle (“I depart, I drown, I despair, I exist, I accept, I repeat”).
After the devastating and cleansing power of this storm, all that remains is a “Wasteland”, a movement that nailed a perfect post-apocalyptic ambiance assembled by an ominous piano arrangement and a nice old school guitar distortion.
This is clearly a very personal oeuvre and listening to it is like diving into the mind of its creator: a bare Human Being that strips the armor away and exposes his own existential turmoil to the world. To succeed in this cathartic process, he invokes an eclectic musical approach, creating and bending music exclusively for its sake and to express himself.
“Storm Alive” delivers a very fresh and daring soundscape and considering that everything came out from the guts of such young “musiconaut”, this work certainly deserves our attention.
About A Constant Storm:
Review by Carolina Ventura
Managing Editor: Rita Limede