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There's a new singer? Really? - 87%

caspian, July 15th, 2009

Those expecting some sort of change to happen with the introduction of the new vocalist are going to be disappointed (I wasn't, and I'm not), as this follows the usual Gathering formula, that being atmospheric rock that's a bit mellower then the album that came before. Really, there's not a great difference between this and Home, the new singer's maybe a bit more restrained and dreamier then Anneke but that's pretty much it.

As with most Gathering albums things are best when the band get relatively unconventional. Some of the rockier songs- Treasure, No One Spoke- are great, catchy, really dreamy rock tunes that make you want to run around in the sunshine like someone with Down's Syndrome, but definitely the highlights are to be found in songs like the title track and the really excellent No Bird Call, where e-bow. strings, organs combine to make something spectacularly dreary and beautiful. Quite the tear-jerker! It's definitely tracks like this that remind you that Gathering are great because they know their instruments and songwriting; you could put Tarja as the singer and they'd still come up with something good (maybe?).

Honestly, I wish they wrote more stuff like this; stuff like "A Noise Severe" from their previous album was similarly excellent in it's epic depressing ballad type way, and it's a really unique sound. A shame then that these guys are still writing fairly average (albeit rather catchy) rock tunes; All You Are really didn't need to be on this album, same with most of Capital of Nowhere (although props for them writing a song about my hometown). It's also a shame we've got one closing the album. I dunno, these songs are definitely quality and would be great if a random radio rock band was playing them, but it just seems like these guys are capable of a fair bit more. On a plus side they're more up-tempo and interesting then The Gathering's usual rock-ier tunes, which is great; overall this album certainly has less filler then most albums by these guys.

Overall this is pretty good (very good, even), but like most Gathering albums it leaves me a bit dissatisfied and wanting a bit more from these guys. They just need to get weirder, I guess. (And they need to drop the piano ballads, "You Promised Me a Symphony" is really horrible). Mix the vocals down a bit. Write more long songs. So on and so forth. Having said that for the most part this is a rather killer album, their best for a while, and it'd be well worth checking this out.