The Gathering (Rock)


This band from Holland started their career in a death metal style. Fronted by a male vocalist (Bart Smits) with female backing vocals (Marike Groot) and packaged with an array of interesting instruments: Flute, Piano, Triangle, Wind Chimes and of course crunching guitars and even paced drums, the band defied the norms of death metal.
What happened after the debut, "Always" is a mystery to me... of course I am referring to the second full length recording entitled: "Almost A Dance". The music contained within is not what is so bad but the vocals !!! The vocals are a sad interpretation of Mike Patton from FAITH NO MORE. The release is Almost Unlistenable !
The next two releases see the band say farewell to male vocals entirely and welcome to Anneke Van Giersbergen... the Vocal Goddess! While there aren't any death traces left in the band the guitarwork is still heavy but very melodic and with Annekes lovely vocals the band takes melodicism to a higher plateau of excellence. Gone almost entirely are the heavy roots of THE GATHERING and in its stead is a dreamy and soaring quasi-psychedelica. Anneke's voice is the alpha and the omega of the compositions on "How To Measure A Planet" and it is without question to her credit that they work so exquisitely. It is, however, a great credit to the band that as songwriters they have recognized the goldmine in their midst and have capably risen to the challenge of reworking their sound from scratch . Anneke's provocative voice possesses emotional breadth and depth nearly unparalleled in pop music. She wraps her silken vocals around the listener in an erotic embrace of otherworldly sound. She is seductive. She is a siren. She is passion personified in sound. And the music is not bad either. Without losing an overriding theme of etherealism, the tunes on "How To Measure A Planet" range from romantic, to poppy, to esoteric. The band experiments, especially on disc two, and it pays off. Even the title track which is at heart a noise soundscape in stellar.