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The Gathering - Mandylion CD (album) cover


The Gathering


Experimental/Post Metal

3.88 | 196 ratings

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5 stars Although "Mandylion" is the third studio album from The Gathering, it is the first album with vocalist Anneke van Giersbergen and so it can be fairly seen as the "real" debut of The Gathering as we know them.

By the time it came out, "Mandylion" was quite a unique effort in its combination of heavy rock / metal and a female singer just singing, rather than screaming or growling. It's not exactly gothic metal, but it clearly has some roots in gothic and even more clearly it's a highly influential album on the whole female-dominated gothic metal wave that would come a few years later (Nightwish et. al.).

More relevant than its historic importance is the quality of the music and yes, the music is excellent. From the opener 'Strange machines', which as a single even saw some minor commercial success and the heavy 'Eléanor' (still my favourite Gathering-song) to more dreamy songs like 'Leaves' and the epic 'Sand and mercury', the album plays as one long masterpiece, even though one slightly minor track is present ('Fear the sea') and even though the instrumental title track is really different in style from the other songs.

The Gathering would develop themselves further with every next album (only two albums to go and the label 'metal' would no longer be appropriate), which is a main reason why I like them as much as I do. Still, this Anneke-debut is my favourite.

Casartelli | 5/5 |


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