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Hidden Gem - 89%

mikeald, February 26th, 2009

Its 1992 and a young band called the Gathering would release their only death/doom album thus far. Yes, most fans might be turned off by this release since the majority of vocals are death metal growls. Yet fans of early death/doom metal will dig this up. The problem…fans of death/doom might not know of this release, leaving Always sitting on the shelves in many CD stores.

Like all Gathering albums, the music is simple yet effective. The songs are mid to slow pace similar to Amorphis’ “Tales of the Thousand Lakes” except longer. Franks’ keyboards are hidden in the background for atmosphere rather than the dominate role they play in newer releases. Some cheesy keyboard sections such as the intro on “In Sickness and Health” could have been taken out completely.

Rene and Jelmer’s guitars are slow and simple, yet catchy. There are few thrash like solos scattered throughout the album…which are pretty funny knowing how out of character they are with this band. Hugo’s bass is present like all Gathering albums. Nothing to complicated but that doesn’t mean its bad.

Bart’s vocals are similar to early Amorphis, guttural yet understandable. Marike’s female vocals are one of the biggest problems, awkward and off key. Thankfully she isn’t used that often. The lyrics are your typical Gothic romanticism subject matter… no Cannibal Corpse subject matter here.

All in all, Always.. is a hidden gem in this bands amazing catalogue. If you’re not into death/doom metal but love the Gathering buy this album for the amusement of your favorite band doing death metal. If you’re into old Amorphis, My Dying Bride, Katatonia, & Anathema buy this now!