The Gathering - _Souvenirs_
(Psychonaut, 2003)
by: Pedro Azevedo (8 out of 10)
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 indifferent ones.


(article published 29/5/2003)

1/16/1999 D Rocher The Gathering: A Gathering in Perpetual Motion
1/20/2005 J Slone 9 The Gathering - Sleepy Buildings: A Semi-Acoustic Evening
8/12/2000 A Bromley 9.5 The Gathering - if_then_else
1/16/1999 P Azevedo 7 The Gathering - How to Measure a Planet?
8/12/1997 A Wasylyk 8 The Gathering - Nighttime Birds
6/7/1997 P Azevedo 9 The Gathering - Nighttime Birds
2/9/1996 G Filicetti 8 The Gathering - Mandylion
3/13/2001 C Flaaten The Gathering / Pale Forest Sirens Singing Soothing Songs
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