The Gathering - How To Measure A Planet? review
|Album:||How To Measure A Planet?|
|Release date:||November 1998|
01. Frail (You Might As Well Be Me)
02. Great Ocean Road
03. Rescue Me
04. My Electricity
05. Liberty Bell
06. Red Is A Slow Colour
07. The Big Sleep
01. South American Ghost Ride
03. Locked Away
04. Probably Built In The Fifties
05. How To Measure A Planet?
Bands can sometimes make painful sounds akin to nails on a black board when transitioning between styles. Especially if the band members aren't sure in which direction they want to go. However, for The Gathering, they make it seem as easy as breathing with their seamless transition and seemingly effortless excursion into some pretty experimental territory on "How To Measure a Planet?". It isn't such a far fetched idea that all the members of the Gathering have been blessed with ESP since an album of this magnitude must've taken perfect chemistry between all members to make.
For all the credit heaped upon Anneke after joining The Gathering, she can sleep well knowing that she has earned every ounce of it. There shouldn't be any doubt about her strong influence over the band since she joined on Mandylion and, thankfully, gave a lot of life to this once forgettable band. Although "How to Measure a Planet?" shows the band stepping out of their metal roots a bit, the heaviness of the past albums are very well intact. While René Rutten is keen on throwing some dirt and crunch into his distorted guitar riffs along with some modern influences, Anneke's voice and some ambient keyboard work is juxtaposed very well into this scheme. This is the album where I realized how great of a vocalist and asset Anneke really is, with her infectious vocal melodies soaring above the distortion. Liberty Bell (along with being one of the best and most energetic Gathering songs ever penned) is a perfect example of this.
At the risk of sounding pretentious I'm going to say that tracks such as 'Great Ocean Road', 'Red Is A Slow Colour', and 'Marooned' aren't so much songs as they are steps into rapture. I'm pretty much saying that this is one of the most moving pieces of music I've ever heard. And although this album is their masterpiece, and strongest statement in the music world. You can only get the full effect of it by checking out their previous albums starting with 'Mandylion', and then easing your way to their creative peak. Every track on here shows what the band has been culminating towards and continues to give the listener something new to hear every time. Although there is a problem with the title track being too over-the-top in experimentation; it lasts a bit too long to hold one's attention past fifteen minutes.
It is pretty nice to go back and hear this monster of an album seeing as how they kept easing their sound down this path, but subsequently lost all their hard edges on later releases. Making this their last album before the turning point, and a good mixture of everything that's great about The Gathering.
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