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THE WEST POLE

The Gathering

Experimental/Post Metal


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The Gathering The West Pole album cover
3.38 | 50 ratings | 3 reviews | 2% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential


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Studio Album, released in 2009

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. When Trust Becomes Sound (3:53)
2. Treasure (4:06)
3. All You Are (4:34)
4. The West Pole (6:35)
5. No Bird Call (5:38)
6. Capital of Nowhere (6:35)
7. You Promised Me A Symphony (3:54)
8. Pale Traces (7:46)
9. No One Spoke (4:32)
10. A Constant Run (7:43)

Total Time (53:16)

Lyrics

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Music tabs (tablatures)

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Line-up / Musicians

- Silje Wergeland/vocals
- Marjolein Kooijman/bass
- Frank Boeijen/kyboards
- Hans Rutten/ drums
- René Rutten/guitars

Guests
- Anne van den Hoogen/vocals
- Marcela Bovio/vocals

Releases information

Released on Psychonaut/Suburban

Thanks to sleeper for the addition
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THE GATHERING The West Pole ratings distribution


3.38
(50 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(2%)
2%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(48%)
48%
Good, but non-essential (44%)
44%
Collectors/fans only (4%)
4%
Poor. Only for completionists (2%)
2%

THE GATHERING The West Pole reviews


Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by ClemofNazareth
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog Folk Researcher
3 stars Well I’ve never been a huge fan of the Gathering, and when ‘Home’ released it was apparent the group had played itself out, at least with the existing lineup. While Anneke was a much beloved dominating presence for the band, she also seemed to me to be too much the heart and soul of it as well, weaning the rest of the members away from their heavier neo-post-metal roots and toward a sort of boring, adult-contemporary sound. Lyrically (and to a certain extent musically) ‘Home’ reminded me an awful lot of Kate Bush’s ‘Aerial’; a bucolic portrait of a nesting young mother whose interest in music was being supplanting by that of family and other concerns. Good for her, but not at all good for the band or their music.

Well, best wishes to her in her new endeavors; the band hasn’t missed a beat as far as their front-woman or her lyrics & vocals. Silje Wergeland has proven more than capable of carrying on with aplomb. In addition, the rest of the band seem to have rediscovered heavy riffs, more dynamic arrangements than the sometimes rather than pastoral ones on ‘Home’, and most importantly an aura of creative exploration for the first time in at least half a decade. The persistent and heavy riffs and rhythm on the opening “When Trust Becomes Sound” and “Treasure” prove the group more than capable of ratcheting up the tempo while maintaining the better characteristics of their trademark sound.

Wergeland wrote or co-wrote the majority of this album, which also indicates the degree to which she has adjusted to her new role as the band’s voice and not just Anneke’s replacement. On the other hand, the extent of her hand in this album also calls into question how much creative input the rest of the longstanding members have (or ever had) in the group’s musical direction. One has to wonder.

To this point, at times the music seems to lack any concrete focus or direction, despite the tempo and energy being quite good for a group in the midst of such a significant transition. The title track especially, as well as the unnecessarily long “Pale Traces” seem to languish at times, caught as much in their own tedious riffs as in any epiphanic inspiration.

There aren’t any standout tracks really, and the one strong bright spot (“You Promised Me a Symphony”) is also a bit concerning simply because it reinforces the concern about Wergeland’s dominance – she wrote this mellow vignette and is also the featured performer. And don’t get me wrong – I love strong and personable women fronting bands; heck, I’m the guy who spent half of the eighties and much of the nineties collecting everything from Lone Justice to SSQ, not to mention Renaissance to Dead Can Dance. But this is supposed to be a full-on band, not Martha & the Muffins or something.

One can only hope the group continues to gel and finds their new muse with the next album. This one is certainly not a masterpiece, but it may be a step in the right direction if only all five members manage to place their mark on whatever comes next; otherwise, this lineup runs the risk of becoming just another soundtrack to an evolving femme fatale (albeit a charming one) on her own personal journey. Three stars (just barely) for showing some promise and a glimmer of former glory, but only mildly recommended.

peace

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Send comments to ClemofNazareth (BETA) | Report this review (#224777) | Review Permalink
Posted Monday, July 06, 2009

Review by Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Well i've decided I like this album (haha). You have to understand that as a die hard Anneke fan I really wasn't even planning on getting this album. There's only one person I could see replacing her and that's Marcela Bovio and that didn't happen. Crazy thing is that Marcela does guest on one track which just sends shivers down my back to hear her sing for THE GATHERING. Like a dream come true really. There's also another guest singer in Anne Van Den Hoonegen (great name) who sings on one track.There's one instrumental (the opener) so that leaves seven songs on which we hear new vocalist Silje Wergeland a Norwegien girl with an excellent voice. I kind of accepted her after seeing a video of the song "All You Are" where she won me over. Certainly this album sounds completely different from the past few THE GATHERING albums. Gone are the trippy, electronic sounds and "in" are the more uptempo guitar driven tunes. A nice variety graces this album though.

Interesting that they begin with an instrumental as if to ease us in gently to the fact Anneke is gone.This is a fantastic song though, a song that's been playing in my head."When Trust Becomes Sound" opens with some feedback before that driving rhythm comes in led by the guitar.Hell ya ! Kicking ass ! Sorry but this is great stuff. "Treasure" is a good mid-paced tune with the ever-present guitars out in front. Vocals for the first time and I think i'm ok. Actually this is good. In fact there's something very uplifting about her vocals and this tune. Sije wrote the lyrics here. I tell you if this song doesn't make you like Sije nothing will. I'm touched by her here. "All You Are" is fun and when it kicks in after a minute i'm rocking out. Contrasts continue. Silje wrote this one too. Maybe she is very talented (haha). "The West Pole" was written by Silje (surprise). Check out the words though, i'm impressed. This is mid-paced with some bottom end but it sort of drifts along especially after 5 minutes. I tell you this is moving stuff. "No Bird Call" might be my favourite. Spacey with reserved vocals after a minute. I can't get over the thick atmosphere here, like layers of sound. Gulp.

"Capital Of Nowhere" is sung by Anne Van Den Hoonegen and she also wrote it. Acoustic guitar as vocals then drums and keys join in. Love her higher pitched vocals. Bass joins in and lots of atmosphere. Great sound 4 minutes in when the vocals stop and the electric guitar arrives. A thick layered sound here. "You Promised Me A Symphony" is my least favourite but it's still pretty good. It's simply Silje and keys throughout. It is the shortest track though at 3 minutes even. "Pale Traces" is where Marcela Bovio comes in.Tada ! Hey she wrote this one too.This is the longest track at 8 1/2 minutes. It's sad early then picks up a minute in. It continues to build as Marcela sings beautifully. Some violin before 6 minutes and when Marcela starts to sing it's so moving. "No One Spoke" is a Silje written track. Heck she wrote all seven tracks she sings on. A good beat here with keys and Silje's beautiful vocals. A calm before 2 1/2 minutes with some deep bass before kicking back in. "A Constant Run" is a great driving tune with drums out in front. Waves of sound in the background like mellotron, especially 5 minutes in where it's so uplifting.

I'm completely won over. I tip my hat to the Rutten brothers and Frank Boeijin. And of course the ladies involved who I think i've complimented enough.

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Send comments to Mellotron Storm (BETA) | Report this review (#228137) | Review Permalink
Posted Thursday, July 23, 2009

Review by Guillermo
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars This album was recommended to me by a nephew who was born in the late seventies and whose musical tastes are very different from mine. He also recomended to me two Katatonia albums. The three albums are good.

This is a Dutch band and their musical style sounds to me more closer to the Gothic Rock / Alternative Rock musical styles with some "dark" atmospheres. In fact, for me this album is very "atmospheric", and this is the main thing in this album, with "atmospheric" guitars and "atmospheric" keyboards. But most of all, it has very good female vocals by Silje Wergeland (plus two ohter female singers as guests in two tracks: Anne van den Hoogen and Marcela Bovio, this last singer is from Mexico). There are not really guitar or keyboard solos, and the music is most focused on the vocals and in the lyrics, and this is a very big difference between this band and the "old" Prog Rock bands on which the virtuosity of the musicians was the main focus. So, the musical instruments are more focused in creating an "atmospheric vehicle" for the vocals and lyrics, with good arrangements which are more in the background. The lead singer and the vocals arrangements are so good that one forgets the presence of the other musicians in some parts. The music for the most part reflect an apparent tranquility, but in some places there are a few distorted guitars and a few heavy moments.The recording and the mixing are very good, very "atmospheric" too. And I also like the cover design.

In conclusion: this is a good band and this is a good album , even if their musical style is not one of my favourites. I think that this band is more for the "New Generation" than for some of the "Old Prog Rock Listeners" like me.

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Send comments to Guillermo (BETA) | Report this review (#1064844) | Review Permalink
Posted Tuesday, October 22, 2013

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