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July 13, 2024

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The Gathering
How To Measure A Planet 2xCD (Century Media)

By: Jeb Branin

Nobody, least of all THE GATHERING themselves, can argue that the addition of Anneke van Giersbergen to their ranks was the genesis of something special. Now three CDs into the Anneke era the band have made the ultimate metamorphosis from a metal band with a tremendously talented female vocalist in Anneke to a band whose primary function is as a vehicle for the talents of that vocalist. Gone almost entirely are the heavy roots of THE GATHERING and in its stead is a dreamy and soaring quasi-psychedelica. Anneke's voice is the alpha and the omega of the compositions on "How To Measure A Planet" and it is without question to her credit that they work so exquisitely. It is, however, a great credit to the band that as songwriters they have recognized the goldmine in their midst and have capably risen to the challenge of reworking their sound from scratch . Anneke's provocative voice possesses emotional breadth and depth nearly unparalleled in pop music. She wraps her silken vocals around the listener in an erotic embrace of otherworldly sound. She is seductive. She is a siren. She is passion personified in sound. And the music is not bad either. Without losing an overriding theme of etherealism, the tunes on "How To Measure A Planet" range from romantic, to poppy, to esoteric. The band experiments, especially on disc two, and it pays off. Even the title track which is at heart a noise soundscape in stellar. THE GATHERING are destined to leave the underground behind. Let's hope the underground is wise enough to wish them luck.
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