Label : Psychonaut Records

Review By Tony Cannella

It’s always a risky proposition when an established band decide to change singers after having a long successful run with their previous one. Sometimes it works out, other times it is an unmitigated disaster. That is exactly the situation that Dutch rock/metal legends The Gathering find themselves in. Out is Anneke van Giersbergen – she left to concentrate on her new project Agua de Annique. In is former Octavia Sperati front-woman Silje Wergeland. She has the toughest job of all to win over the loyal fan base, but after only a few listens to the bands much anticipated new CD “The West Pole”, it appears that the band has made a solid choice. Silje fits the band like the proverbial glove.The CD opens with the instrumental track “When Trust Becomes Sound”. It’s rare for a 4-minute instrumental to start an album, so you have to give the band some credit for trying something a little bit different. Our first introduction to Silje Wergeland comes on the second track “Treasure”. It is a song that has a heavy avant-garde pop flavor to it, but it has a definite edge and attitude to it as well. My first impression of Silje is that she reminds me a bit of Shirley Manson of Garbage at times, her vocals are actually quite sweet and passionate. She is certainly no Anneke clone, she really has her own thing going. “All You Are” is next and it starts off with a sweet sounding intro before speeding up and becoming more straight forward in approach, this is one of my favorite songs on this disc, Silje‘s vocals are just soaring on this one and they really push this tune over-the-top. The next track is the title song “The West Pole”. This song has a bit of a “Nighttime Birds” feel to it. Complete with hypnotic rhythms and a sensitive vocal performance, this track is another favorite. Other highlights include: “No Bird Call”, “Capital of Nowhere” and “You Promised Me a Symphony”. The final three songs “Pale Traces”, “No One Spoke” and the 8-minute “A Constant Run” all conclude this CD in style. The Gathering sound like a band reborn. The songs boast a confidence and assurance that is undeniable and quite impressive. The Gathering have been hugely successful over the past 20 years or so and it remains to be seen if they can continue with the same level of success with their new singer. For better or worse, this is a step in a positive direction. The band have not rested on past laurels and recorded an album that is unmistakably The Gathering. It has all of the ingredients that made this band such a treasure with a few new twists and turns along the way. I have to admit, the 10-songs and 55-minutes worth of material that is found on “The West Pole” far exceeded my expectations.

Rating – 90/100

 

Tracklist

  1. When Trust Becomes Sound
  2. Treasure
  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

 

Line Up

  • Silje Wergeland – Vocals
  • René Rutten – Guitars
  • Frank Boeijen – Keyboards
  • Marjolein Kooijman – Bass
  • Hans Rutten – Drums

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