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The Gathering - Downfall (CD)

The Gathering
Downfall
by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos at 29 October 2008, 1:21 PM

Although I am a THE GATHERING fan their early works were msucially unknown to me. Well, I did know that they used to play a mixture of Doom/Death Metal but I had never the chance to take a dive into the music itself.
To my mind THE GATHERING's story started after the addition of Anneke van Giersbergen in the vocals marking the beginning of a totally new era for the band's music history. So, while the band is searching/planning the next move without
Anneke, Vic Records put together a really interesting compilation that covers the before Anneke era. Indeed Downfall includes everything that THE GATHERING have released from promos and EPs to rehearsal tapes prior to their impressive Always release.
The double CD is literally packed with music counting twenty six tracks. Mike Wead known for his MERCYFUL FATE and KING DIAMOND works is responsible for the sound retouch of the originals through the mastering process. The first CD reveals the old THE GATHERING sound with down tuned guitars, slow tempos and a mix of clean and growling vocals. The underlying keyboard melodies bring in an almost Gothic atmosphere in the vein of the legendary SISTERS OF MERCY in songs like On A Wave and Passage To Desire. I was more than happy to discover the TIAMAT influences  from their second period that started with the excellent Wildhoney album. Sickness And Health, Gaya's Dream and Second Sunrise carry the aforementioned influences with the latter song touching the Clouds era.
The second CD starts with a surprise; the band pays respect to the mighty CELTIC FROST by covering Dethroned Emperor from the deeply influential Emperor's Return release. The track has a hearty underground and totally forgotten feeling bringing to mind bands that made their first Black Metal steps by doing covers on classic songs. The songs in this CD are faster and a little bit heavier justifying the band's Death Metal with a touch of Black past. Don't expect a fancy production since most of the songs are from raw recordings with little or no overdubs. This CD closes with sic live recorded tracks from the band's live activity between 1990 and 1993.
To wrap this up I can say that this is an excellent epitome of THE GATHERING's early days that reveals their identity prior to the success of the Anneke days. So, while waiting for.THE GATHERING's next step lets take a dive into their past and enjoy the prime Death/Doom sound treat.

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Tracklist:
Disc 1

Heartbeat Amplifier
Her Last Flight
On A Wave
The Illusionist
Passage To Desire
Of Pavilions And Fountains
In Sickness And Health
Gaya's Dream
Always…
Second Sunrise
Six Dead, Three To Go
Downfall
Another Day
Share The Wisdom

Disc 2

Dethroned Emperor
Subzero
Anthology In Black
Second Sunrise
Downfall
In Sickness And Health
Anthology In Black
Downfall
Subzero
Second Sunrise
Gaya's Dream
Stonegarden
Heartbeat Amplifier
Lineup:
Brat Smits - Vocals, Guitar
Niels Duffhues - Vocals
Martine Van Loon - Vocals
René Rutten - Guitar
Jelmer Wiersma - Guitar
Hugo Prinsen Geerligs - Bass
Frank Boeijen - Keyboards
Hans Rutten - Drums
Record Label: Vic Records
     


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