The Gathering - _Souvenirs_
by: Pedro Azevedo (
First and foremost, _Souvenirs_ proves that The Gathering anno 2003 is
increasingly Anneke van Giersbergen's band. I don't mean this in a
negative way, as if the band's talented vocalist was forcefully
dominating the other band members -- I've no idea what happens in
their rehearsal room. What I mean is that the music seems increasingly
written around her vocals, concerned with suiting her voice and giving
it a leading role. While I do miss the heavier _Mandylion_ days, this
is not necessarily a bad decision by the band. I'll have to use the
old cliche "this is not a metal album" here, as this is in fact a much
more atmospheric, electronic affair than its entertaining predecessor
_if_then_else_. _Souvenirs_ tends to have a pleasantly sombre mood,
and opens particularly well in that respect with "These Good People".
"Golden Grounds", "Jelena" and the first half of "Monsters" provide
some more good examples of the same kind of atmosphere. A few other
tracks are more upbeat, however, and in the (excessively) sweet "You
Learn About It" The Gathering have a potential chartbreaker -- or at
least a very radio-friendly song that could see a lot of mainstream
airplay if certain people happen to notice it. There is also an Ulver
connection in _Souvenirs_, brought about by Anneke's duet with
Trickster G (a.k.a. Garm) near the end of the album on "A Life All
Mine" -- an interesting prospect for many music fans out there,
surely, and a worthy result. The unobtrusive beats, subtle electronic
elements and pleasant melodies are kept at a high quality level
throughout by this experienced band, although the result is not always
overly interesting. Nevertheless, _Souvenirs_ remains a very playable
album with a few really good tracks and several nice if mostly
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