The Gathering - If_Then_Else review

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Band: The Gathering
Album: If_Then_Else
Release date: 2000

01. Rollercoaster
02. Shot To Pieces
03. Amity
04. Bad Movie Scene
05. Colorado Incident
06. Beautiful War
07. Analog Park
08. Herbal Movement
09. Saturnine
10. Morphia's Waltz
11. Pathfinder

The Gathering is a Dutch band with the most colourful musical background and history. Here's "if_then_else," their effort after the release of the major opus "How To Measure A Planet" which marked a shift from the Gothic-oriented style to a wider plane of alternative and experimental metal.

"If_then_else" is like an amalgam of the characteristics from their smooth and more melancholic "Nighttime Birds" and of the more experimental "How To Measure A Planet." The band have not quit using their original atmosphere they created already in the form of their early works but have retained it in it's basic form and now have woven the new discoveries, patterns and effects into the music. The album starts with a wonderful song, "Rollercoaster," a true ride into the environment of the art and poetry of the band. The lyrics, the melodies, the effects, everything lies on its place and forms a most enjoyable composition.

Anneke Van Giersbergen, still rising and evolving to ever higher levels as the lead singer of the band, gives a splendid performance on the album. Her smoky misty voice brings remembrances of the vocals of several good singers of both metal and other genres. One can sense the subtle edgyness and vigour of Lotta Höglin, the strength and aggression of Cristina Scabbia and the caressing stroking sound of Norah Jones appearing and disappearing in Anneke's voice as these different timbres emerge from the smooth vapour of her singing. So many colours and timbres coated in the veils of her voice and yet they all belong to her, it's Anneke and no one else. A wonderful singer who is able to give life to songs by giving a different passionate touch to every line, every song.

All in all the album itself has a more serious and calmer approach than its predecessor but, on the other hand, it's faster and catchier than "Nighttime Birds." All songs bear different characteristics but all share the same musical concepts and atmosphere. The catchiest tracks are the aforementioned energetic (and a bit sad and a bit joyous) "Rollercoaster," the aggressive and fast "Shot To Pieces" and the serious "Amity." There are also plenty of calm, slow songs such as "Bad Movie Scene" and "Morphia's Waltz." A track worth special mentioning is, for sure, "Saturnine" being neither a slow ballad nor a fast metal song but just a strong and passionate contemplation. This album is another fine work of The Gathering, another chapter in their interesting tale. Even if one could find fillers or less attractive tracks then (inevitably even the biggest fan finds) they are still wonderful songs with passion inside. This music suits so many moods, calms and fills with energy, whenever needed. This is what good music should be able to do and that is what this band manages perfectly.

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

Written by Ernis | 02.01.2009


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

Guest review by
It took me a long time to really get into The Gathering, but once I did, I was never too sure why it took so long. I was probably so preoccupied with all of the music out there that this gem of metal lay undiscovered amongst my collection for almost five years. I bought the album second hand in 2003, enjoying the odd song on it now and again for years. Then one night while driving between Sydney and Armidale about a six hour drive I put it in the CD player and listened to the album on repeat for some unknown reason. With each listen of this masterpiece of music I became more and more captured and amazed by the songs, lyrics, music and of course the amazing voice of Anneke Van Giersbergen. Needless to say that once I arrived home I had the usual craving for more.

published 25.01.2010 | Comments (1)


Comments: 1   Visited by: 65 users
03.01.2009 - 15:17
Angel of Lust
Very good album IMO, one of my favourite Gathering albums, though my rating would be a bit lower... Good review anyway!

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