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Tied for Best Gathering Album - 100%

mikeald, April 28th, 2009

Souvenirs, The Gathering’s 7th album picks off where If_Then_Else left off. This time around they decided to embrace more of their trip-hop and jazz influences. Unlike their previous albums, Souvenirs focuses on Frank’s keyboard playing. It is refreshing to hear Frank’s presence in the band, compared to the early days…which he played generic keyboards.

Anneke’s vocals are the best of her career. She displays jazzy vocals on the songs “These Good People” and “Even the Sprits Are Afraid.” Dreamy angelic vocals on “You Learn About It.” There is also an unexpected guest vocalist on the last track by the one and only….Garm of Ulver. The Gathering is not known for guest vocalist but this choice was perfect. Both Garm and Anneke sound top notch, I really don’t want to spoil it for you but if you are a fan of both vocalists, you will approve. Frank’s keyboards add to the high emotion that this song takes this listener through. A perfect way to end the album.

Rene’s guitar tone ranges from clean, jazzy, spacey, to even a distorted post-rock. In the song, “Even the Spirits Are Afraid” there is a section that even has a Sepultura vibe to it just before the build up. Songs such as the self tilted, Rene plays just for the purpose of adding atmosphere with a few simple notes of his guitar...which haunts you for days.

Hans, is a very underrated drummer. No he doesn’t play blast beats or crazy double bass but he knows how to keep a beat. The song “Even the Spirits Are Afraid” starts off with a jazzy drum beat which is soon followed by the rest of the band. But if you listen to just the drums you realize that Hans creates a simple yet effective drum pattern throughout this song and the entire album as well.

Hugo’s bass can be heard throughout the entire album. This is refreshing because bass is an instrument that tends to get buried into the mix. Bass highlights include “Even the Sprits Are Afraid”, “Monsters,” and “A Life All Mine.” Sad to say this was Hugo’s last album with the Gathering but what a way to go.

The production is flawless. Every single instrument can be heard equally. The listener can go weeks picking up new sounds that appear every spin. Personally listening to this album for five years, I still notice little effects that I didn’t notice before. If you are a fan of the bands older material this album might take some getting use to. Usually I’m not a fan of bands changing their sound but there are certain bands such as The Gathering who pull it off with ease. Recommend to people who truly enjoy music that goes beyond the expected clichés.

Album highlights: “Even the Spirits Are Afraid”, “Broken Glass”, “You Learn About It”, “Souvenirs”, “Monsters,” and “A Life All Mine.”