Artist: The Gathering Album: The West Pole Genre(s): Rock Subgenres(s): Post Rock, Trip Rock Released: 2009 Length: 54 minutes Language(s): English Label(s): Psychonaut
01. When Trust Becomes Sound
03. All You Are
04. The West Pole
05. No Bird Call
06. Capital of Nowhere
07. You Promised Me a Symphony
08. Pale Traces
09. No One Spoke
10. A Constant Run
The West Pole is the first Gathering album since the departure of singer Anneke Van Giersbergen in 2007. She has since been replaced by Silje Wergeland (Octavia Sperati) and The Gathering deceptively approached The West Pole with the mentality of “new singer, new sound” with the misleading mammoth opener When Trust Becomes Sound.
The song is an unexpected post rock number that continuously builds on itself before a questionable background megaphone ramble comes out of nowhere courtesy of guest singer Anne van den Hoogen. Thankfully the guitar buries the megaphone in a fashion most favourable and lets you enjoy the rest of the sterling craftsmanship that has gone into writing and performing it.
After The Gathering waste time not introducing Silje Wergeland she makes a powerful introduction for herself on the even-tempered Treasure. Her performance should remove any doubt from long time Gathering fans that are sceptical of her being able to replace Anneke Van Giersbergen. She easily proves to be a suitable replacement while there are some noticeable similarities between them.
The overly noisy side of The Gathering is short-lived and the mid-paced songs become the theme before they manage to take it down a few more notches beginning with the quelled No Bird Call up to and including Pale Traces, which throw back to the sombre ambience of their 2006 album Home.
Unlike their previous trip rock albums, the distortion drenched guitar has been integrated into their sound to give them a new edge to work with, just not in the way you would expect from the opener. It has definitely push them forward and kept them from rehashing their existing sound and while it would have been exciting to hear The Gathering take on the post rock genre and weave their unique vision around it, The West Pole ends on a well-deserved high note.
Artist: The Gathering Album: Home Genre(s): Rock, Ambient Subgenres(s): Trip Rock Released: 2006 Length: 60 minutes Language(s): English, Spanish Label(s): Noise Records, Sanctuary Records (excluding North America), The End Records (North America)
01. Shortest Day
02. In Between
04. Waking Hour
06. A Noise Severe
09. Your Troubles Are Over
11. The Quiet One
13. Forgotten (Reprise)
Home shows yet another face of Dutch band The Gathering as their sound moves in a new but familiar direction where they have changed enough to keep long-time fans interested but not enough to alienate them either. The Gathering relied primarily on the use of textural keyboard playing and low key guitar lines to create a series of introverted songs that are kept grounded by simplistic percussion that works together to create some particularly subdued music.
With the exception of the Spanish spoken word verses on Solace, all of the songs are sung in English by Anneke Van Giersbergen whose dulcet voice is a more than suitable accompaniment for their reserved sound. Sadly, Home is the last album to feature her before she left The Gathering to pursue her solo career.
The songs are often bridged together by subtle interludes that begin at the end of 1 song and run through the start of the next to keep Home flowing while managing to be distinct enough from either song and stops them from blurring together. Unfortunately the flow of Home is shaken up as it draws near to its conclusion. The title track ends with 2 minutes of silence and Forgotten (Reprise) follows on with an unnecessarily dragged out finale that lasts for over half of its 8 minute duration due to an incredibly slow fade out.
The long silence and fade out could only have been included so as to push the album needlessly passed the 60 minute marker. The Gathering doesn’t do themselves any favours by doing this but it definitely isn’t something that should ruin the experience either.
Home isn’t the kind of album that will leap out and captivate most listeners immediately. Instead it will turn into a rewarding experience as it grows on you over the course of a few listens while being the perfect soundtrack for rainy days and quiet nights.