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The Gathering Biography

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The Gathering In-depth Biography

Creative, classy and highly refined "symphonic metal" outfit from Holland. First album (Always}, 1993) was a fairly straightforward death metal album, although heavy use of keyboards made it stand out a bit from other such albums at the time. Followed by Almost A Dance} (1994), an album which saw the departure of "growling" vocalist Bart Smits}. Smits} was replaced primarily by Niels Duffhues}, a strange choice for the band; Duffhues'} punk-ish tone was decidedly out of step with the music, and the album was largely written off as a result. A shame, because many of the songs on Almost A Dance} are quite well written. The album also featured occasional vocals by Martine van Loon}, a low-key singer with a pretty tone but one that seldom took to the forefront of a composition. It would appear that the seed had been planted in the band's head to try their uniquely compelling songwriting style with a passionate female vocalist; the result was the addition of the incomparable Anneke van Giersbergen}, an incredible singer capable of stretching miles of emotion out of each and every syllable. The next album, 1995's Mandylion}, remains one of the very best heavy metal albums ever recorded. van Giersbergen's} poetic and haunting lyrics, paired with the band's orchestral ruminations, resulted in darkly important songs that seamlessly blend from one to the next. The follow-up, 1997's Nighttime Birds}, acts as a companion piece to Mandylion}: similar in tone and delivery, Birds} is filled with the melodic and adventurous play that has become the trademark of this very important band. Superheat} and If-Then-Else} followed in early 2000. After a break with Century Media following the release of If_Then_Else}, the band took time off before going into the studio to work on the 2003-released followup Souvenirs}. The Gathering} will be of interest to more than just heavy metal fans: they have the potential to appeal to countless different audiences, from metal to progressive rock to anyone who values excellent songwriting and powerful female vocalists. ~ James Bickers, All Music Guide

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