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The Gathering - Nighttime Birds CD (album) cover

NIGHTTIME BIRDS

The Gathering

 

Experimental/Post Metal

3.96 | 107 ratings

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Bonnek
Special Collaborator
Prog Metal Team
4 stars For reasons that defy all laws of common sense, I completely discarded this album on its release in 1997. After 2 years with Mandylion I had probably hoped for a noticeable departure from a sound that I had grown a bit tired of. My statistic reports tell me I only obtained about 25 albums a year in those days, of which only 10 noteworthy. No wonder I got a bit weary of some stuff...

Anyways, water under the bridge now. I got back into the Gathering from 2001 onwards and this album was a pleasant treat. The sound hasn't changed all that much from the preceding album but the songs are easily as good and the band had learned not to overdo their instrumental sections anymore (which was an obvious flaw on Mandylion). The Gathering isn't a band with exceptional musicianship, so their power has to come from smart song writing and emotional vocals; and their progginess has to be earned by sonic experimentation and their genre defying attitude.

On Most Surfaces is one of the most astounding doom metal songs ever, it has a very strange structure, almost as if it starts with the chorus instead of the verses. It's an overwhelming start. Confusion lets go of all things metal; it's a slightly gothic mood rock track that knows to avoid the frequent exaggeration and pose in that style of music. The Gathering have a much more subtle and suggestive approach. The May Song strays even further away from metal and follows the emotive modern rock path that Radiohead had carved with The Bends.

After the rather weak The Earth Is My Witness, the album has a next chilling piece of laid back rock music on New Moon Different Day. The verses have a decided Pink Floyd flavour and Anneke Van Giersbergen vocals are simply gorgeous. Well, she's my Goddess for some reason, only contested by Kate Bush and Tori Amos. More amazing music follows on Nighttime Birds and Shrink.

Nighttime Birds is an album that I shouldn't have overlooked. So in order to purge me from my initial blasphemy, I got me the lavish 2 CD edition, which comes highly recommended for a diverse range of music lovers, going from Floyd and Radio-heads to Bush/Amos fans and melodic doom metal bangers.

Bonnek | 4/5 |

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