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The Gathering - Souvenirs CD (album) cover


The Gathering


Experimental/Post Metal

3.54 | 104 ratings

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3 stars By the time of Souvenirs, the seventh album from The Gathering they had just about abandoned the Metal moments that prevailed heavily on earlier releases. It was a gradual transition however via How To Measure a Planet and If Then Else to a far more experimental and ambient sound. Souvenirs is certainly not an immediate album, you have to dig deep to find it's secrets but repeated plays reveal an album that is enjoyable though without being in the same league as the previous 3 or 4 albums.

Fortunately Anneke Van Giersbergen's beautiful voice remains as lovely as ever and sings like an angel, look no further than You Learn About It here as proof, one of the bands most sublime moments on this or for that matter any of their albums. With simple and restrained instrumentation, as she does on so many of the bands songs, she leaves the listener captivated as she expertly weaves a beautiful melody.

The Gathering are not about complex arrangements as most the instrumentation is fairly simple. All band members play their parts well however, playing for the song rather than to show off their musical prowess but without Anneke's voice much of the material would struggle to rise above the mundane which makes it all the more a shame that she is no longer in the band.

Apart from the already mentioned You Learn About It the other stronger moments are Opening track These Good People. Much of the time Anneke is sparsely backed by simple drums, piano and ambient sounds though it rises to a more full chorus. Even The Spirits Are Afraid follows and after a drum/vocal only start a few signs of the old Gathering sound are evident with the nearest they get to a metal riff on the album. Monsters is one of the most immediate songs with an instantly catchy vocal melody which once again pretty much makes the track.

In fact, overall most of the album is pretty good without being staggering though even Anneke struggles to drag a couple of the tracks out of mediocrity like We Just Stopped Breathing and A Life All Mine. If you enjoy The Gathering then Souvenirs is certainly worth hearing or adding to your collection but not the best place to start for the uninitiated. For that I would recommend the previous 4 albums but particularly How To Measure a Planet and If Then Else.

Nightfly | 3/5 |


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