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poison for the ears - 21%

odradek, March 21st, 2007

Mediocrity be damned, The Gathering found a way to unite lackluster songwriting with sloppy musicianship to produce this downright abomination of an album. The focus for each song seems to be some kind of quirky artificial sound effect injected into the rhythm guitar melody, repeated every measure ad nauseum. Each such loop is further combined with uninspired drumming and sloppy lead guitar work to form a synthesis of annoying elements sure to disappoint any listener.

But The Gathering didn't stop there! They further pollute the tracks on "Always" with three (!) forms of poorly executed vocals. There's death metal growling, done in an amateurish manner that sounds forced and deliberate. These growls occasionally give way to a male spoken voice, delivering lines in a phony, overly dramatized style. But the worst of them all are the clean female vocal parts, which are so far off key I literally cringe at every syllable. And believe me she hits every foul note with unabashed emphasis and remorseless conviction. I don't want to put too much blame on her, because after all there are six band members pictured on the back of the album, and I can't imagine it escaped the attention of every one of them how dissonant and just plain awful her vocal track is. But then again, each of them has their own clumsy performance to feel shame about.