This past Sunday, November 9th, 2014, THE GATHERING celebrated their 25th anniversary with two very special shows (matinee and evening) called “25 Years of Diving Into the Unknown” at Doornroosje, Nijmegen, The Netherlands. Almost every past and present member of the band performed songs from the pioneering band’s entire catalogue. Needless to say, it was a very special night.
The progenitors of female lead vocalists in metal, Liv Kristine (LEAVES’ EYES, ex-THEATRE OF TRAGEDY), Anneke Van Giersbergen (ex-THE GATHERING) and Kari Rueslåtten (ex-3RD AND THE MORTAL), have teamed up for a new project, THE SIRENS.
Two songs have been posted online:
THE SIRENS are also hitting the road in Europe this month. As a special treat for fans, they will be performing classics from their former bands.
Devin Townsend‘s last record, Deconstruction, was the soundtrack for a man going through many life changes and a total reconfiguration of himself going forward. Now that Devin has been reborn, Epicloud is a return to the familiar euphoric sound and style that fans have come to love. The songs seemingly run the whole spectrum of his solo career.
First things first, Epicloud can only be fully enjoyed and appreciated in its full form, the 2-CD version. While the songs have been sequenced on the first disc or single disc version to be more cohesive or singular, the songs on the second disc display more of the excellent diversity of Devin.
Perhaps the coolest thing about Epicloud is the return of Anneke Van Giersbergen (AQUA DE ANNIQUE/ex-THE GATHERING). Once the hilarious lyrics sung by a choir on “Effervescent!” are complete, Anneke‘s beautiful vocals come in with, “I love you. I need you…,” and you’re instantly in heaven. She appears throughout the record and is utilized in different degrees rather than as a “co-vocalist.” Her first appearance with Devin on Addicted worked out so well and the results are just as good here.
Epicloud represents what everything that is pure and honest about great music. There is so much content here like the fun and funny songs like “Lucky Animals,” the soulful “Where We Belong” and “Divine,” the offkilter “The Mind Wasp,” and the godly “Save Our Now.” Longtime fans will recognize PHYSICIST‘s “Kingdom” in re-recorded yet unchanged. STRAPPING YOUNG LAD fans will be happy to hear the closest thing to STRAPPING in the blasting “Socialization.” “Little Pig” closes out the record in style with acoustic guitars, pure soul, and a feel good tone.
The bottom line is that Epicloud is one of the greatest records of Devin Townsend‘s career. The indisputable, beautiful level of musicality and emotion will make this a favorite for decades to come. (Inside Out Music/Century Media Records)
The tenth studio full-length from Dutch atmospheric pioneers THE GATHERING, entitled Disclosure, is nearing release, with a confirmed North American street date of September 25th via Psychonaut Records.
Now in their twenty-third year as a band, and having sold over a million records worldwide to date, this next step in the band’s process was produced by founding member René Rutten, mainly taking place in the THE GATHERING’s own home studio, with segments recorded at additional studios abroad, the final product then mixed by Guido Aalbers. This is the worldwide renowned outfit’s second album with Norwegian vocalist Silje Wergeland — who debuted her talents on their The West Pole LP released in 2009. The handcrafted cover art was created by Chilean artist Carlos Vergara Rivera.
“Disclosure is the most personal soundscape the band has ever made, both lyrically and musically,” stated keyboardist Frank Boeijen, who presents himself vocally for the first time on Disclosure. “The album is a great marriage between electronic and organic sounds, and has a wide range of colorful songs. With long, epic songs, we stayed close to ourselves. We are incredibly proud of this album which is a reflection of what we do best, and our urge for experimentation. Every band says the same thing about their new album, but we think we’ve made our best album yet.”
Few artists in metal have been as single-handedly influential and prolific in the late 90’s/2000’s as DEVIN TOWNSEND. Despite amassing a diehard fanbase and the high praise and respect of his peers, Devin‘s personal life was suffering. After taking a self-imposed sabbatical in conjunction with the end of STRAPPING YOUNG LAD, Devin went through a soul searching journey and a reevaluation of his life.
APESHIT spoke to the mad scientist of metal before his show in LA earlier this year. We’re happy to report that not only is Devin back with a renewed sense of purpose and inspiration, he’s here to be bigger and stronger than ever. Continue reading →
Metal god Devin Townsend bestows upon us album number two in his four part “THE DEVIN TOWNSEND PROJECT” entitled Addicted. The album is most reminiscent of his Infinity album but with a lot more of everything. The album is built upon beautiful upon beautiful layer of synthesizers, fantastic hooks, and those familiar guitar tones in that famous Devin “metal pop” style. If you thought Infinity sounded futuristic, Addicted is light years ahead of that album.
To add to this musicial orgasm is another underground metal pioneer, Anneke Van Giersbergen (AGUA DE ANNIQUE/ex-THE GATHERING), who shares vocals duties on Addicted. To have her sing on Devin‘s songs is not only extremely interesting but it fits so perfectly. Both vocalists write catchy vocal lines and also hold out those long notes with ease. It’s a joy to hear two vocalists who can really sing their asses off throughout an entire album.
Songwise, you’ve got the songs with the gigantic cascades of lush synthesizers, driving tempos, and “big” vocals. One pleasant surprise is “Ih-Ah!” which is an acoustic guitar/piano driven song that is easily one of Devin‘s most accessible to date and least “abrasive.” Album closer, “Awake!!,” is the most bombastic track and features some fantastic vocals from Anneke and Devin.
Devin Townsend justifies his godly status with Addicted being yet another great work. The album would’ve been superb without Anneke Van Giersbergen. However, her part in Addicted really puts it over the top in the echelon of Devin Townsend albums. Few albums released in 2009 can match the pure listening pleasure and feelings of euphoria that is Addicted. (Inside Out Music)
Having suffered the departure of singer Anneke van Giersbergen, who decided to pursue her own musical endeavors, THE GATHERING wasted no time finding a replacement in Silje Wergeland (ex-OCATVIA SPERATI). But would THE GATHERING stay their course or surpise everyone with a stylistic change or development (like they did in the past)?
Merely two tracks into The West Pole, it’s clear that THE GATHERING have found comfort in their stripped-down, indie-like sound versus the dark, looming, gothic atmospheres of their past. While associations with bands like LACUNA COIL and EVANESCENCE will never die, it’s important to note that THE GATHERING have more in common with indie/post-rock outfits like MOGWAI than said female-fronted dark metal bands. The West Pole largely picks up from where 2006’s Home left off. It’s another pleasant and enjoyable album where textures and breathy melodies shape the songs. The guitar tone this go-around are equipped with a grittier vintage edge that help give their sound a touch more character. But dont’t take that to mean that THE GATHERING are once again a “guitar” oriented band. For fans of THE GATHERING, Wergeland’s vocals are not far off the mark from van Giersbergen. Plus (very) subtle differences in her vocal patterns, provide a refreshing “newness” to THE GATHERING’s sound. To be critical, though, that makes the vocal component largely interchangable between Wergeland‘s and van Giersbergen.
The West Pole is a solid effort that proves THE GATHERING do have life after van Giersbergen. But despite the solid effort and the addition of new singer Wergeland, The West Pole won’t change anyone’s opinion of THE GATHERING. For these veteran musicmakers, let’s hope their next album will knock some socks off. (Season of Mist)
The West Pole is the band’s ninth studio album and first to feature new vocalist Silje Wergeland (OCTAVIA SPERATI). The album, which is already out in Europe through the band’s own Psychonaut Records, is scheduled for a June 2nd release in North America via Season of Mist.
Here’s the album track list:
1. “When Trust Becomes Sound”
3. “All You Are”
4. “The West Pole”
5. “No Bird Call”
6. “Capital Of Nowhere”
7. “You Promised Me A Symphony”
8. “Pale Traces”
9. “No One Spoke”
10. “A Constant Run“
Footage from Anneke van Giersbergen‘s recent in-store appearance at Plato in Utrecht, Netherlands on April 3rd has been posted on YouTube for viewing. The fan-filmed videos of former THE GATHERING and current AGUA DE ANNIQUE vocalist was provided by dastardmusic. Check out the performance below: