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The Gathering

Experimental/Post Metal

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The Gathering If_Then_Else album cover
4.00 | 152 ratings | 9 reviews | 30% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 2000

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Rollercoaster (4:45)
2. Shot To Pieces (4:10)
3. Amity (5:57)
4. Bad Movie Scene (3:49)
5. Colorado Incident (4:53)
6. Beautiful War (2:32)
7. Analog Park (6:05)
8. Herbal Movement (4:10)
9. Saturnine (5:11)
10. Morphia's Waltz (6:37)
11. Pathfinder (4:38)

Total Time: 52:41

Line-up / Musicians

- Anneke van Giersbergen / vocals
- RenÚ Rutten / electric & acoustic (9,10) guitars, vibes (8)
- Frank Boeijen / keyboards, Hammond (5,10,11), piano (6,9,10), Fender Rhodes (7), Wurlitzer (10), drum loops (1,2,8,9), string & brass arrangements
- Hugo Prinsen Geerligs / bass, vibes (11)
- Hans Rutten / drums, percussion, loops (2,3,9)

- Bart Van Vegchel / French horn (1,6,11)
- Ad Verspaandonk / trombone (6,11)
- Emmeke Bressers / oboe (6)
- Jiska Ter Bals / violin (3,9,10)
- Marthe Kalkhoven / cello (9,10)
- Jasper Slotboom / cello (11)
- "Zap the Killer" / loops (8)

Releases information

Artwork: Carsten Drescher

CD Century Media ‎- 77298-2 (2000, Germany)

LP Century Media ‎- 77298-1 (2000, Europe)

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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Buy THE GATHERING If_Then_Else Music

THE GATHERING If_Then_Else ratings distribution

(152 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(30%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(46%)
Good, but non-essential (20%)
Collectors/fans only (4%)
Poor. Only for completionists (1%)

THE GATHERING If_Then_Else reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Mellotron Storm
4 stars Another fantastic release from THE GATHERING. After the atmospheric and experimental "How To Measure A Planet ?" the band blends the sounds of that double record with the heaviness of "Nighttime Birds" and "Mandylion".The results are amazing ! I'm not sure if I like the more metal tracks or the atmospheric ones because both are so well done.

"Rollercoaster" opens with an atmospheric soundscape that is blown away 30 seconds in by the heavy riffs in this mid-paced tune.There is some orchestration on this one as well as double tracked vocals. "Shot To Pieces" opens with some distorted guitar as heavy drums and bass come into this uptempo song. "Amity" is all about the vocals as the drums beat slowly and steadily. "Bad Movie Scene" is fairly mellow for 90 seconds when the same melody gets much more intense. "Colorado Incident" opens with heavy drums and guitars.There is a tasteful guitar solo after 2 minutes. Great vocals again as well as hammond organ.

"Beautiful War" is an instrumental that is quite heavy and like the other instrumental "Pathfinder" there are french horns and trombone. This one also has aboe and cello. "Analog Park" features fender rhodes piano, drums and vocals, with some riffing later. "Herbal Movement" is a lazy, dreamy song as one might imagine given it's title. Also in keeping with this theme there is a sample from the movie "Alice In Wonderland". The song does get passionate before it ends. "Saturnine" is my favourite song on this record.The vocals are heartbreaking and the riffs come and go throughout the song. Violin is added as well. "Morphia's Waltz" has a waltz-like melody. This is a real toe tapper.

I still prefer "How To Measure A Planet ?" to this one but I highly recommend this recording. Anneke as usual can soften the hardest heart with her warm, angelic vocals.

Review by Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars If_Then_Else is my favourite Gathering pick, it rocks, it has atmosphere, gorgeous vocals, rich sounds and above all excellent songs. The album title could have been better though, I don't like being reminded of work when I'm enjoying music!

Each individual track is an adventure. It starts with the stately pounding Rollercoaster, where the Gathering continues the sonic experimentations of the previous How To Measure A Planet, which was a crucial album in their development from melodic doom flavoured metal to something we will call trip-rock, a rocking marriage of trip-hop and space-rock. The dramatic tone and sophisticated arrangement of Rollercoaster is an exemplary achievement in that development.

Shot To Pieces picks up some speed and is one of the most rocking songs they ever did. It is followed by the tender Amity, one of the most beautiful songs in their catalogue. Anneke Van Giersbergen spins her stunning and sensual vocals around a Massive Attack trip-hop beat. There are some occasional vibes, a spacey guitar loop and a blanket of strings in the middle. It's all very minimal but deadly effective.

The Gathering has come a long way since their first album with Anneke Van Giersbergen. The band has converted themselves from a modest doom metal workout into a highly inventive team. Also Anneke's vocals have matured a lot, she uses her powerful chords only scarcely now, only to lay a dramatic accent within songs, such as halfway in Bad Movies Scene and Colorado Incident. Mostly she sings very dynamically, melodious and sensitive. The most spine-chilling moments come in the cleverly sequenced tracks Analog Park and Herbal Movement, both offering textured rock with a delightful balance of experimentalism and catchiness. Also the three last tracks count among their best work.

This album doesn't offer classic proggy features, so you shouldn't visit it on those terms. It's rock with sophisticated sonic experimentations, touching melodic melancholy and a genre challenging stance. Tempted?

Besides, who wouldn't want to hear Tori Amos fronting a space-trip version of Radiohead? Now what are you waiting for?

Review by BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR Heavy Prog & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
4 stars What a way to open the 21st century! What an album! What unexpected variety! From heavy ("Shot to Pieces," "Colorado Incident") to dreamy ("Herbal Movement," "Morphias Waltz," and "Pathfinder"), loud to subtle soft (often within the same song!)--and so EMOTIONAL! Such beautiful vocals! In my opinion, this is the best of THE GATHERING's contributions to the music world. Superlatives are necessary to describe the likes of "Rollercoaster" (9/10) "Amity" (10/10) "Beautiful War" (9/10), "Analog Park" (10/10), "Saturnine" (10/10) and especially my favorite Gathering song of all-time, "Herbal Movement" ("makes everything hazy"--and gives me the feeling that I, too, had taken the hookah.) Can't say enough about the inclusion of synths, classical acoustic instruments, and alternating heavy-yet-subtle and sublime-yet-heart-wrenching themes within individual songs (like "Rollercoaster," "Beautiful War," and "Saturnine"). I love this album. A prog masterpiece? I guess not--it's progginess is in question. As BONNEK said, lots of experimentation with sound but not truly an effort that challenges musical form and constructs.

4.5 stars--adventurous, mature and consistently high, just not innovative "progressive" enough.

Still: Highly Recommended!

Review by Warthur
3 stars To my ears, The Gathering's If_Then_Else is a retrograde step when compared to the wonderful How to Measure a Planet? Where the preceding album was an adventurous exploration of the very limits of the gothic metal genre with heaps of influence from other musical tradition besides, If_Then_Else seems to be an attempt to creep back towards the band's comfort zone with a few embellishments from the genres they dabbled in earlier retained. It's a pleasant enough listen, but The Gathering can and have done so much better than this fairly unambitious work. Get it if you can't get enough of the Anneke-fronted incarnation of the band.
Review by kev rowland
4 stars The album title may sound as if it had come from one of my Rexx programs, but the music is much more interesting than that. In Anneke, they have one of the most interesting female rock vocalists, and they use her range to provide superb counterpoint to what is happening beneath. This is a strange album in many ways, and while all of the songs would fit under the banner 'rock', these are much more than the antics of five people from Holland left alone with amplification. Even though they sound nothing like Bj÷rk, I could see her adapting some of these songs. "Bad Movie Scene" is a case in point. It may be under four minutes long, but it is full of melodrama and passion, and Thom Yorke would love it.

They use distortion to good effect, and the impression at the end of the album is that of not fully having understood all that is going on. It means that the only course of action is to play it again, in the hope of gaining the full meaning of the music. Do that six or seven times in succession then possibly, just possibly, you may get your head inside the music. Compelling and wonderful ? not an album to be taken lightly or after a big meal.

Originally appeared in Feedback #61, Feb 01

Latest members reviews

4 stars After the rather toned-down How To Measure A Planet? If_Then_Else is a return to a heavier sound. However this means in no way that the band returns to the sound of Mandylion and Nighttime Birds, instead they mix some modern rock influences (Smashing Pumpkins?) in the music, particularly in th ... (read more)

Report this review (#120883) | Posted by Casartelli | Sunday, May 6, 2007 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Please allow me to quickly just list my ratings for the previous album they did, it might help intruducing my review: ALWAYS & ALMOST A DANCE = (1), MANDYLION & NIGHTIME BIRDS = (4), HOW TO MEASUE A PLANET = (3 ... 4 for disc 1 of HTMAP) I do understand whoever calls IF THEN ELSE the peak of THE ... (read more)

Report this review (#88170) | Posted by Waylander | Friday, August 25, 2006 | Review Permanlink

4 stars With this album, The Gathering finally settled their sound. More instruments are used here and the result is a mix of rock and electronic music. I'd say I prefer the Mandylion/Nighttime Birds era for the voice of Anneke van Giersbergen has lost a bit of power. My highlights on this album woul ... (read more)

Report this review (#65554) | Posted by zaxx | Thursday, January 19, 2006 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I'm a bit surprised no one reviewed this one yet, for it's an excellent addition to any progrock-collection. If Then Else may not be their best album, but it shows more confidence and direction than the meandering How To Measure A Planet? (which I actually and strangely enough like more for th ... (read more)

Report this review (#51425) | Posted by sunhillow | Wednesday, October 12, 2005 | Review Permanlink

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