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)

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THE GATHERING Announce New Singer, Album Details for The West Pole

THE GATHERING have finally announced their new singer, Silje Wergeland (OCTAVIA SPERATI). She will make her debut on the band’s new album, The West Pole. The album is set for an April 2009 release via the band’s Psychonaut Records.

Here is official word from the band:

“The waiting is over!!.

“The highly acclaimed and influential Dutch band THE GATHERING is finally back releasing their 9th studio album: The West Pole.

“The band set their sails for a fresh new era. During their past 8 studio albums THE GATHERING (celebrating their 20th anniversary this year) has showed that they have never been afraid of changing and evolving their musical style. The West Pole shows that The Gathering still stands amongst the pioneers of alternative rock music as they always have!

“After van Giersbergen leaving, the band started working on new songs and finding a new singer. Finally vocalist Silje Wergeland from Norway completed the band’s line up. Silje has been the singer of the Norwegian band OCTAVIA SPERATI for 8 years including several other projects.

The West Pole also includes two very talented guest singers: the Dutch Anne van den Hoogen and Mexican Marcela Bovio (from STREAM OF PASSION). The West Pole is a very vital, atmospheric and extravert rock orientated album, with all the quality and power THE GATHERING is so famous for, also with many new elements. The sound is guitar driven, alive and urgent; a strong and beautifully coloured album with haunting female vocals. It’s produced by guitar player René Rutten and mixed & mastered by Zlaya Hadzich, who also did the production of Souvenirs. The West Pole is nothing less than a piece of masterwork!”