Monday, September 17, 2012
The Gathering : Disclosure
So by "How to Measure a Planet" we had conceded to the fact the Gathering were no longer a metal band and after initial listens to this one I went looking for my copy of "night time birds" which in hindsight left its fingerprints all over most to the melodramatic female front pop metal bands out now. "disclosure" marks the second album without Anneke van Giersbergen, and I can understand how this might be a sore spot for long time fans, "How to measure a planet" was the last album I remember buying by them , though it was during the drug years so I could have owned others, as I have been fleetingly familiar with their material after that point but have yet to give their new singer ... Who has been in the band now for 5 years so not new at this point ... a chance, so I went in this album pretending it came out after " How to measure...". In that context it still makes sense.
what I do like about it is there's a place in my iPod for melancholy pop music, I'm sure Sarah McLaughlin has put out something recently and I have yet to search for it, her older stuff makes me feel like I'm on an episode of Buffy so not sure why I haven't downloaded her back catalogue yet, and no Sarah is not on this new Gathering album but it sometimes feels like her music, with more emphasis on the band and not an over abundance of balladeer piano. Former Octavia Sperati singer Silje Wergeland, gives a much better nod to the bands legacy than the replacement singers for bands like Kamelot and Nightwish have.
The first song that made me look up from what I was doing and say " oh shit , I like that" was the song " Gemini I". The others tend to have a more subdued continuity to them. I do appreciate the mimickery Silje employs when sliding into her upper register though it has a more delicate pop sensibility to Anneke. In a lot of ways this album feels like " Night time birds" though it lacks distorted guitar and where that album made me think of the winter this feels more like a rainy November, but not in the Guns N roses way. Where "Night Time Birds" is an easier transition for a metal head to make I to this sort of fare and after going back to listen to it I think it's fair to say the album might have influenced Katatonia in some ways, though it has more majestic pre Nightwish moments and is significantly heavier than " disclosure".
Where Anneke once soared, Silje contemplates. Times change and I can see where this flavor of pop might fit on a brooding teen vampire drama. So approaching this as a separate entity, and long time fans are used to the changes so this album won't be a hard swallow.
While the album captures a certain mood through out some of the songs drift aimlessly in the grey clouds while others have more narrative purpose. Dynamically the third and fourth songs, are very similar but of the two " heroes for ghosts" actually goes some where. The subtle use of horn in the songs seconds half gives a different color sonically and when the distorted guitar comes in though hardly metal it creates a good dynamic balance.
Sure the song " missing seasons" is a moody estrogen release , it is a well written one with an endearing melody to it. So if you are writing music for teenage girls who hang out in libraries...you know like Willow from Buffy , then this is the way to do it. Speaking of Sunnydale , most of these songs sound like they would be preformed at the bronze, as they have the late nineties alt rock feel.
The closing melody to "Gemini 2" had to grow on me as on the first few listens I was underwhelms and while it is very Sarah McLaughlin, who is a bigger influence on her than Anneke by far, though not to discredit her for doing the Gathering's legacy justice. Similar approach was made with " paralyzed " whose melody took some time to mesh with my ear drums, the " say my name..." hook stuck but where the point where the song floats off with out the benefit of being anchored by is pointless, but a closer listen to the song kept me from writing it off. So with much weighing the pros and cons of an album so heavily focused on one mood and that mood being decidedly unmetal I resigned my self to giving the album an 8 out of ten points, which I rounded down from a nine due to the flat range of mood button the albums credit the Gathering is very capable of the mood they do weave almost to a fault. I would recommend this album to fans of Katatonia recent non-metal years as well.