The Gathering - Sleepy Buildings
Century Media
Semi acoustic best of live album
14 songs (72'34)
Release year: 2004
The Gathering, Century Media
Reviewed by Jack

This new release from The Gathering isn't a new studio album, but a Century Media best of consisting of a collection of semi-acoustic songs recorded over a couple of live shows last August in the Lux movie theatre and venue in Nijmegen, Holland. As it consists of a best of album for their previous record label, German Century Media, you will find no tracks from their latest Souvenirs album, which quite annoys me because I would love to hear some of the tracks off this album such as You Learn About It or Souvenirs. Anyway, who knows, maybe in the near future... The band's approach for this best of is very remarkable, and I wish some other bands could draw inspiration from this album. Instead of compiling tracks from all their albums and slightly remaster them, the band decided to re-record all of them in front of a passionate crowd (I wish I could have been there myself). They effectively picked up songs from all of their six Century Media albums, even picking songs from they first two albums, before Annecke joined the band. Finally, they also included a unreleased song, Sleepy Buildings.

The Mirror Water and Stonegarden (version 2003) are taken from their first album Always featuring Bart Smits on vocals. Like Fountains is taken from Almost A Dance featuring Niels Duffhues on vocals. For those who read my previous reviews of some of The Gathering material, they know I don't own and listen to these albums since I consider Mandylion as their first album, so those three songs are to me as unreleased songs. Of those three songs, Stonegarden made the greatest impression on me and is definitely great on this acoustic version. The Mirror Water and Like Fountains are closer to the material on Mandylion and Nighttime Birds than the rest of their discography. They are enjoyable songs, due of course of the vocal performance of Annecke.

Eleanor and In Motion part 2 are both off Madylion, the first album featuring Annecke on vocals. Those are two good songs, although not my favourite. I wonder how Sand And Mercury or Leaves would have sounded. Eleanor is my favourite and the acoustic result is very impressive and deserves to be on this acoustic best of.

Shrink is the first and only song off Nighttime Birds, which is quite a deception for me as I would have loved to hear Kevin's Telescope on this semi-acoustic live album. The May Song and Nighttime Birds were recorded to appear on this record, but unfortunately they didn't make their way through. Nighttime Birds was already in more or less the same version available on their Superheat live album while The May Song sounded simply not all that well. Shrink is an excellent song but this semi acoustic live version isn't worthy compared to what the other songs I have just mentioned may have sounded.

Off How To Measure A Planet?, which is probably my least favourite The Gathering album, unfortunately yields five songs for this album. Locked Away (on the second CD of the limited edition) didn't really convince me as an opening song, and as an acoustic song either. Travel, which I didn't remember being such a long song, fits this album perfectly. My Electricity is probably the best excerpt from How To Measure A Planet?, especially in this acoustic version, while Marooned remains a decent song. Red Is A Slow Color , I remember reading this somewhere, is one of Annecke's favourite tracks, so there's no surprise to find this one on this somewhat best of album. It's another of those songs where Annecke uses her voice as another instrument to strengthen the music.

Saturnine and Amity are both from the last Century Media album If Then Else which was a big surprise to me since I hadn't been convinced by How To Measure A Planet?. Saturnine is probably their best success on this semi-acoustic live album. Annecke's voice revealing itself as relaxing and soothing as the best pot (weed) one could ever smoke... the result is a pure jewel. Amity is also a good choice as this song is as good on its acoustic form as it is on its studio version.

Sleepy Buildings is a real unreleased song. I had a hard time finding this song on one of their album until I checked out their internet page to find out it was never released before. It's a short song, under three minutes that reminds me alot of the piano version of Broken Glass. I wonder how this song would sound in an electric version.

As you may have guessed it, I am not completely satisfied with the track listing of this semi-acoustic live album, but could one be fully satisfied ? After all, we all have different tastes... fortunately. I consider this album as a gift to the fans, especially those who couldn't attend the two acoustic live shows and those who will not be able to attend the acoustic live shows from their forthcoming European tour. And although I am not completely satisfied with the album, especially the track listing, I still want to take this opportunity to thank the band for this release.

Killing Songs :
Saturnine, Amity, Eleanor, Stonegarden, Red Is A Slow Colour
Jack 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
1 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!