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. Continue reading “Home” by The Gathering→
If you enjoy the brooding and atmospheric vibe of Gothic Metal then you should really be listening to The Gathering because they are leaders in the field when it comes to stuff like this. Tonight would mark my second time seeing the band and label mates Tub Ring would open up the show. To see our thoughts and images from the gig, just click the logo below to be brought to our item on the main PiercingMetal.com site.
Artist: The Gathering Venue: Club Rebel (New York, NY) Opener: Tub Ring Date: 5/15/2007 Label: The End Records
It was around this time last year that New York was first able to enjoy the music of The Gathering, and the Knitting Factory venue was where they stopped in for the visit. It was a great way to catch them in a quasi-intimate setting. When they announced that they would be returning once again I was very pleased that they were now under the guidance of The End Records who enabled this to happen the first time as well. For the show tonight they would be supported by their label mates Tub Ring and be performing at the semi-new venue called Club Rebel. The place was formerly The Downtime and since I had never been inside the club before tonight it would also be a new experience for me as a music journalist. In that I was looking forward to bringing you the highlights and any lowlights that we would experience during the night. Here’s our take on the evening as a whole.
Tub Ring: The band Tub Ring is probably one of the most entertaining and visually erratic bands that I have seen in a long time and I’m sure everyone around me agreed with this perception. Their sound is a mixture of various Rock styles and given the way they mix things up it’s best to label this as Experimental or Avant-garde. The lead singer is one of those madmen that is able to get you going at every second of the set and to be honest I could pretty much say the same about their keyboardist. At times he would climb atop them and jump down to better accentuate his notes and cause for music. Their debut release on The End Records is called “The Great Filter” and while material from it would be focused on they would also treat the crowd to other stuff as they have a number of other albums. They were really worth seeing and I look forward to another chance at this. I recommend these guys for fans of music that hangs precariously off the edge and if the aspects of Mister Bungle or Sleepytime Gorilla Museum appeal to you then please give these dudes a shot as well.
The Gathering: Since their association with The End Records, The Gathering has issued two studio recordings and one performance DVD entitled “A Sound Relief”. The amount of product has been great as the label seeks to multiply the number of fans that exist in their demographic in this region and so far as I can guess this is working out very well. The interesting thing about this band is that they are not quite the Gothic Metal sounding group that they once were and are now more along the lines of a trippy Atmospheric enterprise. The venue tonight had a sizable crowd and it looked to me about as large as the first time that they came around. This was nice, but there can always be more people if you ask me and especially when it is for a band that does not make the rounds all that often. I was happy to find them hitting the stage very quickly after Tub Ring, because the venue was growing uncomfortable based on the temperature inside the place. Summer was close to beginning and to be honest it was hotter inside than it was outside. As they launched into “Shortest Day” you immediately realized just how good a voice Anneke has in her possession. I find her one of the most hypnotic vocally and also one of the most expressive performers that I have seen in a long time. As the music plays she dances and bops to every note with a beaming smile on her face at all times. It’s clear to everyone in attendance that she loves doing what she does and we are really appreciative of this from down in the audience. I’m tired of those performers who look like they hate being onstage and this is a welcome sight to me as someone who strives to get to as many shows as possible.
They continued on in their sets with some of my own favorites like “Even The Spirits Are Afraid”, “Eleanor” and “Saturnine” and as you glanced around the audience you could see many people singing along with her. Clearly there were more original fans as opposed to those who were curious and while that’s cool, it is also a shame that more newcomers were not here to see what they are all about. After some long initial sound discrepancies you were able to indulge in the rich and moody guitar sounds of Rene Rutten who seemed drowned out by the drums and bass this evening for the larger part of the set’s beginning. This did not seem to be their sound persons fault but instead the way the venue was handling the sound. There is an open floor area and an overhang and it seemed to me that this section was sucking all the sound away at points. There is not a lot of chatter from the band or audience during a Gathering set, as instead everyone just allows them to be taken away by the sound scapes and tonight this was really proving difficult. Despite the couple of venue shortcomings the band played a very tight set of some classics and some newer material but when it came down to the time for encore they would not return which resulted in a very disappointed crowd. Either way, we still got a great bunch of songs from the group and I hope they return soon but that they hit a different club.
I had lined out that there were lowlights to the night and I am sad to bring them to the table since it was mainly on the part of the venue and no fault of the band. The room was sizable for a few hundred fans and there was some sort of upstairs lounge to kick back in but from this area you could not see the stage which was one downside. As far as the performance area itself, well it only seemed to have one air conditioner on and this was near the back bar. The general standing area by the stage was incredibly hot and the heat was everywhere and literally making the surroundings both dangerous to ones health and comfort. It was to the point of causing people to flow back and forth to where the air was actually coming from during the bands set instead of allowing them the chance to enjoy the show they had paid decent money for. Topping it all off was inconsistency in the sound the venue afforded the group with too much bottom end where it was not needed and your needing to be dead center to even appreciate the group. I can’t see myself attending another show here and hope for their own sake that these issues are worked out if they are to compete with the newly opened Gramercy Theatre and Highline Ballroom venues.
Update 6/5/2007: We are saddened to report that just under three weeks after this performance that lead singer Anneke Van Giersbergen had decided to leave The Gathering and pursue personal musical adventures of her own. She and the band each shared a statement to the world regarding this via the Internet and each explained that life and music will continue on for them. For 13 years Anneke served in this role giving memorable music to everyone while the band kept the creativity and atmosphere interesting. Those who attended this New York show reviewed above witnessed history as the last time this configuration of players would be on the same stage in this region. We wish each side the best of success and look forward to more music sooner rather than later. The Gathering is currently auditioning new singers and Anneke’s material is being prepared for release.
1. Shortest Day
2. In Between
3. Liberty Bell
4. Probably Built in the 50’s
5. Even the Spirits Are Afraid
10. In Motion #1
11. Waking Hour
12. Strange Machines
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. Continue reading “A Sound Relief” 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. Continue reading “Sleepy Buildings: A Semi Acoustic Evening” by The Gathering→