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The Gathering - Nighttime Birds CD (album) cover


The Gathering


Experimental/Post Metal

3.94 | 152 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer
2 stars 'Nighttime Birds' - The Gathering (5/10)

Having been introduced to me through the works of Ayreon, the beautiful and unique voice of Anneke van Giersbergen ranks among being one of my favourites among the hundreds of cookie-cut symphonic and gothic metal female vocalists out there. Having set the standard high with some gorgeous vocal work on '0101101' and the earlier 'Into The Electric Castle' from Ayreon, I was excited to take a look at her flagship band, The Gathering. While her talent is still clearly evident in her performance here however, 'Nighttime Birds' feels subdued and dry, almost to the point of being mundane.

Though there are hints of strong songwriting throughout the record, The Gathering's fourth record 'Nighttime Birds' dissapoints by delivering a relatively conventional, by-the-numbers piece of music that while boasting good production standards and competent performances from all musicians involved, rarely ever grabs ahold of one's attention and even renders itself irritating at moments.

While pop-tendencies and a more conventional style of songwriting certainly does not mean that a record won't be great, many of the better pop records out there have a level of dynamic and warmth to them. Here, the adherence to strict convention doesn't lend much catchiness; instead feeling boring at parts, as if the band was trying too hard. However, there is certainly great music in doses here. The first three songs and the soft closer 'Shrink' are all quite good songs that are interesting enough to merit a few listens. Some powerful melodies and atmospheric work at the hands of the instrumentalists lend a measure of beauty here. However, the musicianship is never capivating; once again feeling very by-the-numbers and constrained. While everything is competent and some songs even enjoy some interesting arrangements, the music feels like a backing track behind Anneke's overwhelming voice.

'Nighttime Birds' has certainly not excited me about the rest of this band's work. However, if anything, the album has proven that The Gathering certainly has talent and a good ability to choose proper tones and timbres for any particular song they might be doing. In any case, this one fails to satisfy, but I am not completely turned off from looking farther into what this band has to offer.

Conor Fynes | 2/5 |


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