Tag Archives: hans rutten

“Home” by The Gathering

Artist: The Gathering
Title: “Home”
Label: The End Records
Release Date: 4/18/2006
Genre: Atmospheric Rock
Rating: 3.5/5

If you have been following The Gathering since their inception in 1989 then you are well-aware of all the vast and varied musical changes and transformations that their sound has gone through over the years Originally starting as a type of Gothic/Doom outfit, the band became more of a more Gothic Hard Rock presence when singer Anneke van Giersbergen joined them in 1994. They released classics such as “Nighttime Birds” and “Mandylion” but the style changes would continue along with every album they gave us. As far as singers go, Anneke is one of those rare finds and a treat on the listener’s ear. Her voice is quite literally one of the most musically perfect you could hope to hear and as the albums continued to be delivered her abilities would shine ever brighter and the band would morph more and more until eventually becoming the brand of Atmospheric Ambient Rock we get on “Home”. It’s a logical step and one I first felt this happening with the semi-acoustic evening recorded on “Sleepy Buildings”. This was like an episode of MTV Unplugged and while the band shined in this fashion, it seemed as though Anneke was running the band as the whole thing showcased her a lot more than they had in the past.
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“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.
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“Sleepy Buildings: A Semi Acoustic Evening” by The Gathering

Artist: The Gathering
Title: “Sleepy Buildings: A Semi Acoustic Evening”
Label: Century Media Records
Release Date: 3/9/2004
Genre: Atmospheric Rock
Rating: 8/10

The release of “Sleepy Buildings: A Semi Acoustic Evening” by The Gathering is a great piece of music and a perfect introduction to the haunting and beautiful melodies that the band lays down. This was my first exposure to the band in full having only heard samples of the signature release “Mandylion” during random band searches some time ago. I was glad to be able to sit down to fully absorb this album the way it merits and normally a live recording is not really the best means to give oneself an education in a band. Recorded live over a two night span at The Lux Theatre this Dutch sensation brings you into a richly atmospheric and passionate listen that will leave you wanting more when it completes. If you compare her talent to other female singers who perform in the style that she has I can safely say that Anneke Van Giersbergen has one of the most beautiful voices in music. The overall quality of the music and the textures that Hans and Rene Rutten, Frank Boeijen and Hugo Prinsen Geerligs deliver on the album makes you wonder how this band had not captured a larger fan base outside of Europe and the Scandinavian countries. While there are sections on the recording that might seem to lean toward the melancholy this is not standard R&R or Gothic Rock but instead a blend of Atmospheric Rock and an almost Acid Jazz type of sound that can stand on its own very strongly next to female fronted acts on the Alanis Morrissette level. As a matter of fact I found the messages and music on this album to be deeper in thought than anything given to us by Alanis over the last few years. I even detected a little bit of Portishead in the music. The album splits the music into two forms of delivery with some being acoustic based and the rest a little more electronically assisted. The listener will be amazed at how hypnotized the audience at the concert is with this music as you don’t hear a whisper from them during the performance until the song completes. This is a very well-produced recording and it includes a lot of the older material that was never performed by this lineup and they also present a brand new track entitled “Sleepy Buildings” which was prepared for this release exclusively.
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