|The Gathering - The West Pole|
|Written by Liu|
|Sunday, 23 August 2009 16:43|
The Gathering without Anneke van Giersbergen. It's an idea I still can't quite wrap my head around. My adoration for the band's former angelic songstress is such that I haven't even bothered to check out the two albums The Gathering released prior to Anneke joining the band. But Anneke's split in 2007 forced my hand, realizing that sooner rather than later, the band will have to find a replacement for someone who I still think is irreplaceable. Now in 2009 they have done just that, recruiting former Octavia Sperati vocalist Silje Wergeland into the vacant spot and The West Pole is the band's long awaited return.
The West Pole furthers the ongoing musical evolution of The Gathering. If you're still hoping that the band will go back to their earlier doomy metal sound, then you'll just be disappointed again. The Gathering is long past the point of catering to those who wish to pigeonhole them into any narrow definition and in my opinion, they weren't ever all that "metal" to begin with. Sure, they had their heaviness, but their nuances, atmosphere and emotion really elevated them from everyone else in that genre. The Gathering is a rock band and always have been.
The album starts with When Trust Becomes Sound. This instrumental sounds like something right off of How To Measure A Planet? and is a smart way to acclimate their fans back into the fold. Treasure is the first proper track that features Silje. Its a melodic rock track not unlike what the band was doing on Home. On first listen, one gets the impression that while Silje has a nice pleasant voice, she doesn't have the range of the band's former singer. This ends up being quite deceptive because some of the songs that show up later in the album gives her more to work with and indeed, Silje does has a formidable range. She's actually quite good once you stop comparing her directly to Anneke. Songs like the title track, Pale Traces and the impressive A Constant Run all allow Silje to show everyone what she is capable of. Frank Boeijen helps her out in creating dreamy soundscapes on his keyboard that give freedom for Silje's voice to swim through. A Constant Run gets my nod for best song on the album, a great song that could had easily been on How To Measure A Planet? or Souvenirs. After a while, one actually forgets that it isn't Anneke singing on these songs, and higher praise than that I couldn't possibly give.
Despite my initial concerns, The West Pole is the beginning of a new chapter for the band. Anneke left some big shoes to fill, but Silje is more than up to the challenge.
01. When Trust Becomes Sound
03. All You Are
04. The West Pole
05. No Bird Call
06. Capital Of Nowhere
07. You Promised Me A Symphony
08. Pale Traces
09. No One Spoke
10. A Constant Run
|Last Updated on Sunday, 23 August 2009 17:49|