The Gathering - Nighttime Birds review

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Band: The Gathering
Album: Nighttime Birds
Release date: May 1997

Disc I
01. On Most Surfaces (Inuït)
02. Confusion
03. The May Song
04. The Earth Is My Witness
05. New Moon, Different Day
06. Third Chance
07. Kevin's Telescope
08. Nighttime Birds
09. Shrink
10. The May Song [radio edit] [2007 Re-release bonus]
11. The Earth Is My Witness [edit] [2007 Re-release bonus]
12. Confusion [Live in Krakow] [2007 Re-release bonus]
13. The May Song [Live in Krakow] [2007 Re-release bonus]
14. New Moon, Different Day [Live in Krakow] [2007 Re-release bonus]
15. Adrenaline [Live in Krakow] [2007 Re-release bonus]

Disc II [2007 Re-release]
01. New Moon, Different Day
02. Kevin's Telescope [instrumental version]
03. Shrink
04. The Earth Is My Witness
05. Diamond Box [instrumental version]
06. Nighttime Birds
07. On Most Surfaces
08. Hjelmar's [instrumental version]
09. In Power We Trust The Love Advocated [Dead Can Dance cover]
10. When The Sun Hits [Slowdive cover]
11. Confusion [Demo]
12. Shrink [alternative version]
13. Adrenaline
14. Third Chance [alternative version]

"Nighttime Birds" is another beautiful chapter in the story of The Gathering. After the slight downfall with the "Almost A Dance" period the band found themselves again and discovered the beautiful voice of Anneke Van Giersbergen to carry on the sounds of the group's creation. After "Mandylion" which was still similar to the doom style of "Always", Nighttime Birds, their second album to feature Anneke as lead vocalist is a step closer to atmospheric Gothic metal.

The album starts with the dark and passionate track "On Most Surfaces". It has sharp guitar rhythms and wandering wailing melodies in the beginning and the voice of Anneke entering the music and performing the poetry of the music in a most expressive way. Her voice is aggressive in some moments and sometimes calming as well. This difference can be seen when comparing the first track to the rest of the album. The style can be compared to the slow ballads of Beseech. A plus of the album and of the whole work of the band is Anneke serving as the main author of the lyrics. Her poetic verses and calming approach to the listener make The Gathering one of the most atmospheric bands.

The most distinguished songs of Nighttime Birds are "Kevin's Telescope", a slightly sad but very beautiful ballad with sincere hope in it and the title track, a simple and profound poem about birds who silently and unnoticeably fly to some place they long for. The two faster and catchier tracks of the album are the aforementioned On Most Surfaces and the more energetic "Third Chance". To sum up, it's a very beautiful album although not recommended to people who wish to pump themselves up to the music. Nighttime Birds is as the title of the album says, a contemplation, simplest and calmest music for the time when sun has sunk beyond the horizon when one needs to clean their head of unnecessary and negative thoughts. This music gives the soul a chance to fly away to rest for some time.

Rating breakdown
Performance: 9
Songwriting: 10
Originality: 9
Production: 9

Written by Ernis | 21.02.2008


Guest review disclaimer:
This is a guest review, which means it does not necessarily represent the point of view of the MS Staff.


Comments: 2   Visited by: 139 users
21.02.2008 - 19:16
Angel of Lust
Great album indeed, amazing songs and Anneke's vocals... though I prefer Mandylion... Good review!

"The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear,
and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown."
Howard Phillips Lovecraft
25.03.2008 - 21:05
Account deleted
This was my favorite TG album...until they released Accessories compilation album, which IMO includes much better versions of the songs "Third Chance", "The Earth Is My Witness", "New Moon, Different Day" and "Shrink", as well as evenly good versions of almost every other track of this album...

After listening to Accessories, I felt like this album had lost its reason to excist. There's no real reason to listen to it any more, except for the track "Nighttime Birds" which I still prefer over other versions.

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