Gathering, The - Sleepy Buildings (A Semi Acoustic Evening)

Year of Release: 2004
Label: Century Media
Catalog Number: 7768-2(EU)/8168-2(NA)
Format: CD
Total Time: 00:00:00

New albums from The Gathering come with high expectations. Remember - they are the band that practically invented the melodic form of goth-metal, and who shaped the sounds of so many successful followers. Well Sleepy Buildings is a very, very nice record. But it is nothing special.

Some "unplugged" recordings have been very good, but many have not - and Sleepy Buildings is an aptly named sleepy CD. As its subtitle suggests, it's a primarily acoustic piece in which each song revolves around the angelic voice of Anneke van Giersbergen. These are pretty songs, sung to delicate accompaniment of piano, acoustic guitar and carefully toned-down rhythm and percussion.

The instrumentals are restrained and elegant, and these live recordings are a good showcase for the band's musicianship. It is clear that these musicians are versatile beyond the garden-variety "distort it to hell and crank up the volume" metal. Still - there's little to separate one track from the other. 73 Minutes of sameness makes for wonderful background music for a romantic setting - but there's nothing progressive, gothic or metallic about it, and other than Anneke's vocals, it's hard to believe that this is really The Gathering.

The fourteen songs on Sleepy Buildings were recorded live over two nights in August 2003, before a live audience at the Lux theatre in Nijmegen, The Netherlands. It contains the highlights from most of their studio albums as well as a new track "Sleepy Buildings." For contractual reasons, as we understand it, this Century Media release could not include any tracks from some of the prior albums recorded on the band's Psychonaut Records label.

As with so many live recordings the sound quality is sub-par, and the production is disappointing, although the intimate smoky-club atmosphere comes through very well.

I'm predicting that this interesting acoustic experiment will be a one-off. Dyed-in-the-wool fans will love the little imperfections in this live recording that bring you closer to the artists, making this CD a more human experience than the studio albums. But first timers are advised to explore The Gathering's excellent studio albums. Unlike Sleepy Buildings, they do offer something special.

Locked Away (3:35) / Saturnine (4:54) / Amity (5:52) / The Mirror Water (6:41) / Red Is A Slow Colour (5:38) / Sleepy Buildings (2:55) / Travel (9:08) / Shrink (2:58) / In Motion Part Ii (4:30) / Stonegarden (V.2003) (5:11) / My Electricity (3:23) / Elenaor (5:32) / Marooned (5:31) / Like Fountains (6:46)

Frank Boeijen - keyboards & programming
Anneke van Giersbergen - vocals
Hugo Prinsen Geerligs - bass
Hans Rutten - drums & percussion
Ren? Rutten - guitars

An Imaginary Symphony (rehersal tape) (1990)
Moonlight Archer (demo) (1991)
Always... (1992/1999)
Almost A Dance (1993/2000)
Mandylion (1995)
Nighttime Birds (1997)
How To Measure A Planet? (1998)
Superheat - A Live Album (2000)
If_Then_Else (2000)
Downfall - The Early Years (2001)
Black Light District (EP) (2002)
Souvenirs (2003)
Sleepy Buildings (A Semi Acoustic Evening) (2004)
Accessories (2005)
Home (2006)
A Noise Severe (2007)
Rise Up (2007)
Sand And Mercury (box set) (2008)
City From Above (EP) (2009)
The West Pole (2009)
A Sound Relief (EP) (2010)
Startled By The Familiar (2011)
Disclosure (2012)
Afterlights (2012)
Afterwords (2013)
TG25: Diving Into The Unknown (2015)
TG25: Live At Doornroosje (2015)
Blueprints (2017)

In Motion (DVD) (2002)
A Sound Relief (DVD) (2005)
A Noise Severe (DVD) (2007)

Genre: Progressive Rock

Origin NL

Added: February 9th 2004
Reviewer: Duncan N Glenday
Artist website:
Hits: 1263
Language: english


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