“A Sound Relief” by The Gathering

Artist: Gathering
Title: “A Sound Relief”
Label: The End/Psychonaut Records
Release Date: 10/25/2005
Genre: Atmospheric Rock
Rating: 9/10

When you first hear the music of The Gathering you will most likely find yourself wondering why you have not heard more of this group on mainstream radio or cable music feeds. The group that began as a heavy Gothic outfit has matured, grown in style and skill and as result gives the listener/viewer a “trippy & airy” level of Atmospheric Rock. This would only be my second exposure to this wonderful musical experience, with my first being the largely acoustic album “Sleepy Buildings” from 2003. That album gave US fans a great sampling of their material but still it seemed as though many would miss the boat and not pick up on it. The group formed 15 years ago and based on internet samplings of their older stuff they have grown into something far different from how they started out. Hailing from the Netherlands, The Gathering is fronted by the amazing Anneke van Giersbergen. As you listen to her siren like voice you can see that this was a performer who set and raised the bar on such talented female singers like those who perform with Nightwish, After Forever and Epica. I am sure there are more who fall in line with this band being a pivotal influence and now thanks to the folks at The End Records, the US growing fanbase is able to enjoy this video performance as well. Musically this concert is astounding in its production and delivery. The audience is dead silent during the pieces performed until the very completion and then its resonating. The stage setting is limited with screens showing different forms of video which are brought to better life on the DVD screen for the viewer at home. The level of performance in the musicians (Frank Boeijen, Marjolein Kooijman and Hans and Rene Rutten) is incredible and showcases just how good a band can sound after so many years together. Not sticking to their original form shows them as performers who have matured past what they helped to introduce and the end result is nothing short of fascinating. Fans will find it interesting to note that for some months on the tour which this was filmed that Anneke was 4 months pregnant. From the concert I had a number of favorite pieces such as “Rescue Me”, “Red Is A Slow Colour” and “Amity”. The more I listen to these tracks the more I feel that people are missing out by not looking into them further. The concert itself runs the span of the first DVD while the second features all of the bonus features.

On DVD 2 there is an equal amount of informative treasures that will not bore the viewer in any sense. There is an interview from Dutch television that covers the bands past 15 years. There is a “Tour Impression” from the appearances in 2004 and an Italian TV Special. Six animation music clips are featured for “Marooned”, “The Big Sleep”, “Alone”, “Broken Glass”, A Life All Mine” and “Red Is A Slow Colour”. A nice assortment of different things that show you more about the group and that is important when still after 15 years there is still an untapped market for them. I think fans of artists like Portis Head might find something in The Gathering that will afford them some understanding but otherwise it is a difficult group to pigeonhole into a specific genre. It’s a DVD that I highly recommend you sit and enjoy with low lights and fine wine and Friends. It’s enjoyable from start to finish and I am sure you will refer to it again when your mind needs some clearing

Track List DVD1:
1. The Big Sleep
2. Broken Glass
3. Rescue Me
4. Alone
5. Travel
6. Red Is A Slow Color
7. A Life All Mine
8. Golden Grounds
9. Amity
10. In Motion II
11. Marooned
12. Souvenirs
13. Like Fountains
14. Herbal Movement

Official Web site: http://www.Gathering.nl

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