|The Gathering - 'Disclosure' (Psychonaut Records/Soulfood)|
|Written by Ben Hughes|
|Thursday, 10 January 2013 03:00|
This Dutch alternative band have been on the go since 1989, and 'Disclosure' is their 10th studio album. From their atmospheric Doom Metal roots inspired by the likes of Celtic Frost to the modern progressive Trip Rock sound, they continue to evolve with more experimental sounds, and for many years now they have been an established presence on the European metal scene. 'Disclosure' is the second album to feature new vocalist Silje Wergeland who joined following the departure of long time vocalist Anneke Van Giersbergen in 2007. Replacing an established vocalist is never an easy thing to do, but Silje seems to have established herself as the new singer with ease.
What strikes me immediately about The Gathering is that they create epic, yet ambient soundscapes. This is evident from the start on 'Paper Waves', a lush, dramatic and expansive sound emanates from the speakers, the guitar work of Rene Rutten surely inspired by the work of early U2. It makes for a truly epic, yet commercial feel that instantly warms to the soul and is a good introduction.
The following 'Meltdown' is surprising in that it goes in another direction with its Trip Rock drums, it brings a dance element to the sound. The guitars come in nicely here, the underlying distorted riff, again very edge-like fits well and adds a touch of much needed balls. It goes on a bit though, at nearly 8 minutes it's probably twice as long as it needs to be. It's not the longest song here by far, that title goes to the almost balladic sounding 'Heroes For Ghosts' running for an epic 11 minutes, horns and all it is ambitious to say the least.
Silje Wergeland has a sweet voice that verges on classical, part Nina Persson, part Amy Lee; it is rich, warm and faultless throughout this album, a fitting accompaniment to the haunting sounds going on throughout this album. Some of the material has definite gothic elements going on, mixed with a heavy dose of electronica. Take the ambient sounds created in 'Paralized' that give a definite Massive Attack vibe. 'I Can See For Miles' fades in with a massive bass line, it's bathed in lush electronica, strings and haunting eerie vocals, and builds dramatically to an epic finale of drums and nice noise.
Bringing in their various influences and styles 'Disclosure' is not a metal album, I would hardly describe it as a rock album even, but it is an interesting and diverse collection of music for sure. An interesting fact is that they take their name from the film 'Highlander', The Gathering of the Immortals, and funnily enough 'Disclosure' has that cinematic vibe and could easily be an alternative soundtrack to that movie.
To be honest 'Disclosure' is not the sort of album I would normally buy or even listen to, but it offers much to the listener, several songs feel over-long but the playing and the singing especially is faultless here. It's a mostly chilled and laid back affair, experimental and dreamy, it's not a party album that's for sure. But if you like music that you can get lost with, close your eyes and drift away with and relax to then The Gathering maybe have something for you here. Proof that a band can continue and thrive after losing an established singer.