The Gathering - Monsters EP
Psychonaut Records
Atmospheric Trip-Rock
5 songs (20'34")
Release year: 2003
The Gathering, Psychonaut Records
Reviewed by Alex

It will be a subject of a long debate whether The Gathering still belongs in Metal. Their old records undoubtedly are Metal, there is a piece about the band in the recent issue of Metal Maniacs, and their latest album is reviewed by many Metal webzines including Metal Reviews. So, do they belong? Let’s be honest here, the last album Souvenirs was not Metal. I personally thought so, and I was glad that interview with Anneke at RCN Rockshow, which is a part of the Monsters EP, confirms it. Quite candidly Anneke states that so many metalheads hated the album, because of what it is, a piece of an atmospheric trip-rock, the genre The Gathering is today. At the same time, there were many people, metalheads and otherwise, who thought The Gathering improved on their new craft and liked the music quite a bit. Even though I am a devoted metalhead, subscribe me into the second category. I thought that Souvenirs had an unbelievable flow about it, the band shaking off the shackles and coming out totally uninhibited with their new found sound. Guitar stylings of Rene Rutten combined with the basswork by Hugo Prinsen Geerligs created a psychedelic effect that went directly through the cranium. Keyboards and synthesizers by Frank Boeijen were rich and effective. Hans Rutten came up with steady, machine-like drumming, which is not very fast, but extremely methodical. And Anneke … What can I say? Her voice is just a marvelous gem. Monsters, along with Even the Spirits Are Afraid, were two of my favorite songs off the album, so I wasn’t displeased the EP is built around this song.

I started my review diving right in, without much of an introduction. I thought that The Gathering doesn’t need it, that this band is familiar to our readers. Briefly, this Dutch band started in doom metal, got rid of their original male vocalist, got a hold of Anneke van Giersbergen and started playing heavy atmospheric metal with a gothic touch. Slowly, the band progressed (or regressed in the minds of many) and started rooting out their metal influences. Their divorce with Century Media label was quite acrimonious, and needing the new haven to release their album, the band founded their own label Psychonaut Records. When you are different, why not be in a business for yourself? I do not know who else is currently signed to Psychonaut, but The Gatheringneed to spin this label, and Monsters EP is pretty much a promotional package, bearing little new musical value, but introducing new bonus videos.

Audio tracks of the EP are five remixes of Monsters. Radio Edit Mix is pretty much what appeared on the Souvenirs album, without an intro, with the band going right into the first verse of the song. Just like on the album what really caught my attention, besides Anneke’s angelic voice, is an awesome basslines. They are so clearly pronounced, and together with the fast guitar strumming, create an unbelievable reverberating effect. Galion and Gauzy Mixes are heavily techno influenced with Galion having a Mideastern motif and being the odd drum beat behind the guitar chord while Gauzy is even more techno and is an odd drum beat ahead of the chord. Synthesizers and programming rule the roost on Galion and Gauzy with sound effects being numerous, and somewhat distracting. What is the vinyl being scratched on a turntable doing in Galion? Going further, the band processes a lot of Anneke’s vocals, but since the vocals carry the melody lines for Monsters the mixes sacrifice melody for techno rhythms and futuristic atmosphere. Monsters Go Deep! Dance Mix is furthest removed from the actual album song. Funky dance beat of a computer drum, this mix can be played in some dance European clubs. The Promo Demo Mix is quite close to the album version, but synthesizers are much more in the forefront, and the previously mentioned awesome bass lines are not so audible. I am glad the band went with the album’s version, and also added heftiness to the drums.

I honestly hope that the band is not seriously thinking about shifting to techno and dance in the future, as these styles do not have the warmth or the atmospherics The Gathering project. But who knows with this band, they do whatever feels right for them at the time.

Video bonus material has the band performing Monsters at Hirsh, Nurnberg and Anneke’s interview with RCN Rockshow. Live at Markthalle, Hamburg, brings another 25 min or so of live footage with Monsters, again, You Learn about It with Kristin Fjellseth from Pale Forest singing duet with Anneke, and Black Light District with Anneke picking up a guitar and jamming along with the rest of the band. The audio quality of the live footage is not best, but this is not a DVD after all (the band probably has something like this in mind for the future).

If you are not a fan of the modern day The Gathering, you will find one catchy song on the EP that you may like, the rest will leave you untouched, so I doubt you will get your value for the money. If you are a fan and collecting everything The Gathering had ever done, The End Records distributes this EP exclusively in the US.

Killing Songs :
You will be singing along the lyrics of Monsters by the time everything is said and done, or you will hate it forever
Alex quoted no quote
Other albums by The Gathering that we have reviewed:
The Gathering - Disclosure reviewed by Goat and quoted 90 / 100
The Gathering - How To Measure A Planet? reviewed by Goat and quoted CLASSIC
The Gathering - Mandylion reviewed by Charles and quoted CLASSIC
The Gathering - The West Pole reviewed by Goat and quoted 70 / 100
The Gathering - Nighttime Birds reviewed by Charles and quoted 91 / 100
To see all 12 reviews click here
0 readers voted
You did not vote yet.
Vote now

There are no replies yet to this review
Be the first one to post a reply!