Gathering, The - Souvenirs


Year of Release: 2003
Label: The End Records
Catalog Number: n/a
Format: CD
Total Time: 61:35:00

Souvenirs is not metal, nor is it commercial. It contains dynamism, complexity, beauty, and a multitude of textures. With every song, Souvenirs explores a different sonic landscape, which parallels nothing from The Gathering's heavier, more metal era (Mandylion, Nighttime Birds) and finally "perfects" the trip rock style of their latter two releases (How To Measure A Planet and If Then Else). Each melody line, keyboard layer, and vocal harmony locks in like a puzzle, leading to overall flow, movement, progression, especially on the tracks mentioned below. And, after listening to the album for the twentieth time or so, its originality and freshness consistently shines through. With this effort, The Gathering have separated themselves from every band and even from their own catalogue - a fact that I love.

Vocalist Anneke van Giersbergen's voice is actually just one of the many positive aspects regarding Souvenirs. Her voice is like no other. It's beautifully breathtaking. After many years, she still stands alone as my favourite female vocalist. But, Anneke being awesome is always a given. What makes this album flow and reach amazement is the musicianship. Hans Rutten puts in his best performance ever on the drum kit, and his work is clear and up front in the mix, which fits perfectly. The guitar and bass work are not as outstanding, but the riffs and melodies are compact, emotional, and extremely rhythmic and percussive, keeping the album memorable. There is no section or part on Souvenirs that can be labeled exclusively catchy, even the chorus to the lighter "You Learn About It" can be debated on, but everything forms together cohesively, almost drawing the listener in by sheer enchantment. I'm talking about a listening experience that will be different for each and every individual. Frank Boeijen's keyboard and programming ability is wonderfully exhibited on Souvenirs. Much of the music focuses on atmosphere and darker subtle melodies, and Frank turns in a magnificent performance containing both feeling and structure (just listen to "A Life All Mine"), a balance which is found on albums like Pain of Salvation's Remedy Lane (courtesy of Fredrik Hermansson). The Gathering have taken a leap forward as a band on this album. Souvenirs is subtle and sinuous songwriting at its best.

I really don't have much more to say except that Souvenirs is worth purchasing, especially if you are looking for something different, progressive, and beautiful. And, just to mention to all the older The Gathering fans - this is my favourite since Mandylion. This is, without a doubt, in my top ten for 2003. Every listen to Souvenirs is a musical journey, and you can't compete with that.

Released in conjunction with Psychonaut Records

[This review originally appeared June 2003 at the ProgPower Online review site -ed.]
Tracklisting:
These Good People / Even The Spirits Are Afraid / Broken Glass / You Learn About It / Souvenirs / Monsters / We Just Stopped Breathing / Golden Grounds / Jelena / A Life All Mine

Argentine version incl. bonus track: Debris

Musicians:
Anneke van Giersbergen - vocals Hans Rutten - drums, percussions, loops
Ren? Rutten - guitars
Hugo Prinsen Geerligs - bass
Frank Boeijen - keyboards, programming

Guests:

Trickster G. - lyrics & vocals (10)
Dorothy - backing vocals (4)
Wouter Planteijdt - electric & acoustic guitar on (1,4)
Mathias Eick - trumpet (6)
Kid Sublime - beats (6)
Michael Buyens - bass (4, 7)

Discography:
An Imaginary Symphony (1990) (rehearsal tape)
Moonlight Archer (1991) (demo)
Always? (1992/1999)
Almost A Dance (1993/2000)
Mandylion (1995)
Strange Machines (ep) (1996)
Adrenaline / Leaves (ep) (1996)
The May Song (1997)
Nighttime Birds (1997)
Kevin's Telescope (ep) (1997)
Liberty Bell (ep) (1998)
How To Measure A Planet? (1998)
Superheat - A Live Album (2000)
Rollercoaster (ep) (2000)
If_Then_Else (2000)
Amity (ep) (2001)
Downfall - The Early Years (2001)
Black Light District (ep) (2002)
Souvenirs (2003)
Sleepy Buildings (A Semi Acoustic Evening) (2004)

Genre: Progressive-Power Metal

Origin NL

Added: December 18th 2004
Reviewer: Shawn "Zero Hour" Lakhani
Score:
Artist website: www.gathering.nl
Hits: 1396
Language: english

  

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