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The memories, the quality - 95%

morbert, October 9th, 2007

Quite a nice release this one. For all those who had gotten into The Gathering at a later time, this was their chance to get their hands on their earliest material. Although The Gathering later achieved worldwide fame with their female vocalist Anneke van Giersbegen. The early line-up when they were still doom-death had made its impact as well on the scene.

The period 1991-1992 was the period when grunter Bart Smits was still in the band. Yes, the Gathering used to have grunts in their early days and in a way resembled Paradise Lost on their ‘Gothic’ album but were far more melodic. Their style back then was nicknamed ‘Efteling Metal’ by fans and mags because The Gathering was one of the first doom metal bands with grunts that dared to use keyboards, fantasy melodies and other long instrumental passages.

The "An Imaginary Symphony" demo (which was called a rehearsal tape back then, not a demo) was still rather sloppy with a bad sound and didn’t show their full potential. Their demo "Moonlight Archer" however was the release that got them a record deal and underground fame. This demo is the highlight of this CD. The addition of the previously unreleased single is a nice touch and I for one think this was never released back in those days because of the production, which was rather thin.

Last but not least we have a disc with an entire concert in Den Bosch in 1991. The quality is not that great since it was ripped directly from an old videotape but the fact that I can see myself standing in front during the whole gig, gives this MPEG video a personal touch and I’m obviously glad I bought it.

If you like their first album ‘Always’ and you don’t have any older stuff, you really should get this release. If you only have your old dusted tapes, here’s the chance to get these recordings digital and with slightly approved sound.