The Gathering – If Then Else

Reviewed: September 2000
Released: 2000, Century Media
Rating: 3.0/5
Reviewer: Rick

The Gathering. Why they are considered metal I have no idea. At one point yes they passed but not anymore. Still metalheads just love these guys (and girl). I don’t know what it is. To me they have a real dreamy quality that is very relaxing and almost hypnotic. This is the 7th (if I count right) CD by the band. Anneke van Giersbergen is back to add her songbirdlike vocals to this ethereal soundscape.

The first thing that is noticed upon listening to this CD is that many of the little electronic bleeps and noises are missing. They are going for a much more guitar oriented sound. There are lots of little trippy sounds to add texture but they do not overwhelm the underlying music. I don’t want to leave the impression however that this CD is much different from their last studio release. It’s a bit more rocky in places but overall is still a laid back trip through the angelic vocals of Giersbergen and the almost dreamy music. The disc opens with “Rollercoaster”. This songs signals that the disc will be slight departure for The Gathering. “Shot To Pieces” makes it official that this will be a slightly more guitar oriented disc. This is one of the best songs on the disc and positively rocks compared to the rest of the CD. “Colorado Incident” showcases one of the better vocal performances by Giersbergen on “if then else”. She has such a talent for making her voice just another instrument in the musical tapestry. Other songs of note are “Analog Park” which builds to a dramatic crescendo and then just drops off into dreamland and the sparse yet hypnotic “Morphia’s Waltz”.

If you are already a fan of The Gathering you will most likely enjoy this CD. The thing that always mystifies me is how The Gathering fits into the metal mosaic? It seems that they are embraced to some extent by the metal community though there is not a hint of metal to be found on their last few releases. Whatever it is they appeal to wide variety of musical tastes. If you are looking for music that will make you wreck your neck then this is not the disc. If you want something atmospheric to unwind with after a stressful day then the Gathering might be your cup of tea.


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