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Heroic Triumph of The Gathering - 99%

HanSathanas, June 17th, 2011

Do fans of The Gathering mourn the departure of Anneke? Does this mark the unexpected (or expected, as some may see it) disintegration of once a great band? Post Mandylion era sees The Gathering moving in a direction that may either appease new and old fans that are slowly embracing their experimental, psychedelic journey, or disappoint many others who insist that they should have retained what was once their glorious triumph. Heroes for Ghosts will tell you quite a few things that may reduce our anxiety for good.

Since the band themselves have made this single available for download, therefore I do not want to miss the chance. FLAC sounds better since to my knowledge, it is by far the best lossless compression format for digital audio reproduction. The song clocks just three minute short to eleven. Not a surprise for The Gathering though because they have recorded something way long – ass than that. ‘Heroes for Ghosts’ slowly unfolds like a roll of cloth; smooth and silky. The silence at the beginning is just as intriguing as the title itself, with effects and instruments slowly gaining a momentum, swaying me on a cradle of hypnosis that seems endless. Silje Wergeland truly makes a nice surprise here; her vocals are equally amazing to that of lovely Anneke. She has that capacity to wade across the oceans of music that her newly acquainted ‘Gatherings’ pull out with angelic precision. It doesn’t annoy, nor does it drown in the background; the voice just stays afloat as if following the ripples and waves that embellished the buoyancy of Silje’s vocals. As mouthful as this may sound, believe me, this single covers everything that the band has done before, especially post Mandylion period up to Home. I am no expert in some other divisions of musical genres (pathetic vocabulary, I know) but I may ascribe some elements of trip hop, downtempo and progressive rock on ‘Heroes for Ghosts.’

Tasting blood in my mouth,
Ancient damp painting ruins,
Feel the rising chill...

Now those lines may sound typical for a band that set sail in this type of musical direction. Even if they have safely anchored to their utopian destination, one may wonder about its significance in terms of literature. My point here is, even if the lyrics are as simple as what you have heard or read, The Gathering attempts to explore theme of solitude and loneliness work very well on this song. Also, there is a sense of longing here that I cannot truly explain. Well, that I leave it to you to interpret. However, it may have something to do the persona described in the story as a spirit that refuses to detach itself from the world of ours. Okay, that is just some random way of looking at it. After all, the title may as well speak for itself.

The least I can say about my experience in listening to this song over time, The Gathering managed to stand victorious in the fields where everyone drops like a fly; where music like this receives less appreciation from diehard, elitist metal community. Anneke departure, in my opinion, remains the greatest shock to me since I still am a big fan of her works with The Gathering. Somehow, the band are able to pull themselves together and this is further cemented with Silje being initiated into the lineup. Now, they are as good as they were before; conquering new areas where primitive thoughts and predisposition dare not to step foot even at the very threshold. This single administers potent doses of mightily formed creativity that will soothe disturbed minds and minds are needed to be opened if one wishes to fully embrace and appreciate The Gathering effort in putting out quality music. If you like this song, then you will know what I’m talking about. Total beauty.