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Great Doom fun! - 100%

grimdoom, July 28th, 2008

The Gathering crafted (either by accident or design) one of the best Doom Metal albums of all time with their release 'Mandylion'. For the first time since their first debut they had a good singer, however unlike the previous singer, this one is female with golden pipes.

Shaking off the ashes of the horrific foray that was 'Almost a Dance' The Gathering soldiered on with the cute as a button Anneke van Giersbergen taking their music a step further than they had on the prior release in terms of quality and craftsmanship.

The production is alright but could have been stepped up. The guitars are heavy and melodic. There are a fare amount of leads that interweave with the keyboards in various places. There is sufficient crunch to open chorded parts. The music here is epic, ponderous, beautiful and sad all at the same time. The musicianship is highly original as are the songs.

The bass does a pretty good job of doing its own thing. It’s interesting, especially given the time period, for a bass player to not follow the guitars constantly. The drums are very creative as well. They, along with the bass, solidify the slow and precise backbone of the album.

The keyboards add extra atmosphere to the guitar parts. They add to the depressing mood as well as open a few of the songs. The instruments are brilliant on this release. The musicians are very comfortable in their new(er) direction which adds a laid back feeling to the downtrodden vibe.

As stated above, Anneke van Giersbergen is without a doubt the true star of the band. Her interesting lyrics and soul saving voice take the listener on an astral journey that sadly, is only about 45 minutes long. This is the one The Gathering album that everyone should own as its succors are less heavy and eventually non-metallic.