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 Post subject: The West Pole Reviews
PostPosted: 29 Apr 2009, 03:17 
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Hello!

Since the album is about to be officially released, let's put all the reviews we can find here.

Cheers!

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PostPosted: 29 Apr 2009, 17:25 
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Here's one for you, don't take it too seriously :wink:

http://www.globaldomination.se/reviews/ ... -west-pole
Well, by now you should know that the FUCKING GODDESS Anneke left The Gathering for the greener pastures of Agua de Annique. Incidentally, I got to see her live a while back with that band and she is just as sexy, adorable and talented in person than on video/album. So what do you do when you lose such a kickass vocalist and pretty much face of the band? You pick up the pieces, keep your chin up and keep going, if you’re not a wuss, that is, so major props for The Gathering for having the balls to move on.

So what The Gathering effectively did was get this fine lass called Silje Wergeland, from a band called Octavia Sperati, to fill in those great, gigantic shoes of Anneke’s and pray to heavenly father that they still had it. Do they? Sorry, but not really.

Firstly, no fault can be found in Silje. Naturally she does not have the charisma and superhuman powers of Anneke, but she is a good singer, a damn good singer, and what’s cool is that she sounds nothing like Anneke. She walks her own path, has a pleasant voice and technically is pretty darn spiffy. So what’s wrong, then, love?

I’m just not feeling the songwriting on “The West Pole”. The remaining members of the band had already hinted at this new album being much more rock-driven than previous efforts, and while I thought that might have been a good thing, since “Home” was kind of boring, but, to my surprise, this is, once again, an entirely different band.

Yes, on one side that is admirable, how The Gathering manages to reinvent itself as a rock band/musical group. On the downside, though, while the move to alternative rock and electronica was incredibly fitting and the songwriting that followed was prodigious (mostly), this time they’ve moved towards an indie-brit-rock place which does not please me. At all.

The songs aren’t terribly dull, but they seem commonplace. Nothing makes you grit your teeth, grab your balls, not a hair stands up when that killer chorus comes in. There just isn’t any of that here, and no matter what fault you could find in their discography, there was always at least one song on their albums which made you think “God damn, I wish I had written that”, or “f*ck me, I want to marry Anneke”.

The title-track is a welcome exception, is does have a great vibe, some nice vocal lines, but it isn’t really all that memorable.

So, I fear that maybe when Anneke left, she took The Gathering’s identity with her, something that, no matter what sound the band pursued, would always be there as a rock for the listener. Now, the band sounds uncertain, and it’s only at moments like “No Bird Call” that we get a glimpse of the group that made moving stuff like “In Motion II”, “Shrink”, “Eleanor”, “You Learn About It” and so on.

I, for one, won’t abandon The Gathering just now. I have a feeling they’ve still got some good stuff in them, and for a first album after such a drastic departure, this isn’t that bad. It’s not great, but it could be worse. Maybe with a little more experience and familiarity with the new vocalist, better things shall come to pass. We’ll see.

The cover: A bloke upside-down, which happens to be very fitting. Did you notice I failed to make any pole jokes, though? I’m kinda disappointed with myself for that.

4 Dutch indies and one Norwegian hippie out of 10.


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PostPosted: 29 Apr 2009, 17:37 
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hmm that one is quite harsh and probably comes from someone with the "I love Anneke" syndrome (hmm maybe shouldnt write this, I could get angry mail about that again... 8) )

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PostPosted: 29 Apr 2009, 19:34 
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The Gathering - The West Pole
Psychonaut Records

file under Prog / Sympho metal

The Gathering - The West PoleWinston: Well then…there you are as a band. All of a sudden you hear that your lead singer can’t give anymore. Swallow it and go on, that’s what The Gathering did when they heard this from Anneke van Giersbergen, the bands’ focal point for many years. More about that in this issues’ interview with Hans Rutten.

With ‘The West Pole’ The Gathering reports back for duty in the scene and this in a familiar manner; an album that can’t be grasped from the get go, needs time and attention and is a true challenge. Very important of course; is the new singer Silje Wergeland, from Norway ·nd the band Octavia Sperati capable of bringing a new feel to the band? Or does she fit to the long built atmosphere of the band which would mean taking no risks? At first glimpse I say that both questions would apply evenly after the first couple of spins. The new ‘chapter’ opens after a fierce ‘getting something out of our system’ instrumental ‘When Trust Becomes Sound’ with the text line “We found a stepping stone, over darkest hours”. Kind of says it all I should say. The band sounds eager to continue just like they did when other band members left the fold. Wergeland carries a warm and charming voice, reminiscing van Giersbergen a bit in the higher regions. ‘The West Pole’ reveals itself slowly but surely with accessible pieces as well as heavier songs. The title track carries a ‘How To Measure A Planet?’ feeling as well as even older influences. In other songs I also hear some ‘Souvenirs’ reminders but then again as some new things as well. Don’t startle when I tell you that the guitar sound of Rene Rutten can be compared with the heavier songs of Smashing Pumpkins. The emphasis lies on the rockier sound overall on this album. In the lighter moments vocal assistance is called in by Marcella Bovio (who has a remarkable van Giersbergen timbre) and Anne van den Hoogen.

The Gathering is back on track and can be very proud on this reanimation. Saying this I realize that they had never gone anyway…but still…you know what I mean.

Rating: 89/100 (details)

http://www.lordsofmetal.nl/showreview.p ... 73&lang=en


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PostPosted: 30 Apr 2009, 03:04 
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From Metalreviews.com:

We Metal folk are a conservative old bunch; we simply do not like changes in our favourite bands. Being fair, much of the time we’re right to be cagey – for example: whilst Cryptopsy’s middle period fronted by Mike DiSalvo turned out to be pretty darn good with hindsight, I seriously doubt we’ll look kindly on Matt ‘I turned Cryptopsy into a festering pile of shit’ McGachy in ten years or so. From Bruce Dickinson leaving Maiden in the nineties to David Vincent quitting Morbid Angel, the change of a frontman is rarely a good thing, and so there are few fans of The Gathering out there that won’t have been looking very askance indeed at their favourite Dutch Goth-atmospheric-prog-rockers since the departure of frontwoman par excellence Anneke van Giersbergen in 2007. Every bit of hype you’ve heard about her fantastic voice is correct, and really, there’s little point in pining for what’s been when you can take a walk down memory lane and listen to any of the fantastic albums that she lent her angelic voice to.

Fortunately for us all, Anneke’s replacement, Silje Wergeland of Norwegian Goth-Doomers Octavia Sperati, has a fine voice indeed. Interestingly, she’s quite similar to Anneke in breathy, yearning style – both remind me of a, well, more normal Björk, and whilst free of the Icelandic singer’s uncanny otherness, have an uplifting soulfulness that’s... I suppose the best way to describe it is nice. You couldn’t see either singing anything down and dirty, they’re the air to other singers’ earth. And since a good number of albums now the music seemed to be written around Anneke’s voice, number ten is no different.

From the first moments of opening instrumental track When Trust Becomes Sound, it’s clear that this is a bit noisier than before, but it’s the same style – laid-back Rock that is gently atmospheric and progressive without shoving it in your face. First song proper Treasure is the kind of uplifting ballad that The Gathering do so well, and from then on it’s pretty much a less experimental version of their last album, Home. All You Are is backed by a catchy percussive beat and shimmering strings, No Bird Call is practically ambient, and Pale Traces has strident drumming and the barest hints of Toolish plucking, but there’s nothing particularly outstanding on show, nothing that your average The Gathering listener will stop and stare at.

It’s that which ultimately makes me wary of giving The West Pole a high score. Fine, the songs are pleasant enough listened to one after the other, but The Gathering’s past albums had moments of genuine musical progression, whilst this just seems a decent, atmospheric Rock album that takes no steps from its comfort zone. A few extended instrumental sections aside, this could be from a myriad of bands, lacking that special something which makes offerings from The Gathering so special. After the first couple of songs the tracks here blend together, the album turning into one long piece that touches on dullness several times and doesn’t particularly reward the listener with multiple listens.

Having said that, if you don’t compare this with past efforts from The Gathering then there’s really little wrong with it. The West Pole stands firmly above the average crowd, and newcomers to the band may well love it. Heck, the chances are that fans of the band will enjoy it, it’s hardly bad, but like Home, ultimately the songs don’t stand out enough to make this anything other than a solid effort that will last a few weeks in the playlist before being rejected in favour of How To Measure A Planet? or even the last full-length from Autumn, an album with equal atmosphere and better songwriting. It’s never a good sign when band’s rivals make better albums than the originators, and if I had to choose between the two I’d go for Autumn’s effort without a doubt. If you’ve followed The Gathering slavishly up to this point, then The West Pole is another step along the same path, but when looked at in the wholeness of things, it’s another step down towards mediocrity – a place I never imagined The Gathering visiting. Like the admittedly excellent cover art, this promises another look at a world we’re all familiar with, but the album, alas, fails to deliver.

70/100


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PostPosted: 30 Apr 2009, 20:59 
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Here's another one: http://www.metalireland.com/2009/04/05/the-gathering-the-west-pole/

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PostPosted: 30 Apr 2009, 22:17 
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Geoff Palmer wrote:


The "Anneke is irreplaceable whathever the band could do" syndrome strikes again.

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PostPosted: 01 May 2009, 08:38 
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indeed bladibladibla.... I mean if you start with that idea in mind, you're not going to give the album a chance anyway... so much for open minded...

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PostPosted: 01 May 2009, 09:02 
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Geoff Palmer wrote:


Burn wrote:
indeed bladibladibla.... I mean if you start with that idea in mind, you're not going to give the album a chance anyway... so much for open minded...


Really, this isn't a good review, it's quite subjective and only talks about how great Anneke is. She's great, but she's not with TG anymore. And the guy only wrote about that. He didn't even say why he hated so much the 2nd part of the album.

Tsk tsk bad review.

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PostPosted: 01 May 2009, 10:03 
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something funny
http://2bgrm.blogspot.com/2009/04/gathe ... -pole.html

"This album is indeed a pleasant surprise. I thought it was going to be terrible because Anneke van Giersbergen left to form her own band. Her replacement, Silje Wergeland is a good enough singer but isn’t nearly as hot.[....]
I’ve heard a bunch of Anneke fanboys complaining about how the band is nothing without her and how much this album sucks, but they’re morons." :green:

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PostPosted: 01 May 2009, 15:42 
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hmmm..the I love Anneke syndrom calls for serious trained psychiatrists....Maybe we can set up a clinic for ill reviewers?? 8)

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PostPosted: 01 May 2009, 21:54 
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:lol: hahaha the two last sentences are ace!!

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PostPosted: 02 May 2009, 05:02 
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agnieszek:) wrote:
something funny
http://2bgrm.blogspot.com/2009/04/gathe ... -pole.html

"This album is indeed a pleasant surprise. I thought it was going to be terrible because Anneke van Giersbergen left to form her own band. Her replacement, Silje Wergeland is a good enough singer but isn’t nearly as hot.[....]
I’ve heard a bunch of Anneke fanboys complaining about how the band is nothing without her and how much this album sucks, but they’re morons." :green:


:lol: I like those lads.

Shrink wrote:
hmmm..the I love Anneke syndrom calls for serious trained psychiatrists....Maybe we can set up a clinic for ill reviewers?? 8)


:lol: Some indeed need some psychiatric help. TG is good, Anneke (with Agua de Annique) is good, so what is there to complain about? :D

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PostPosted: 02 May 2009, 16:14 
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Location: Rotterdam, the only real Dutch Metropole.Our biggest tower will be 165 meters: ooooohhhhhh:)
I have to make a statement about that: I watched AdA for around 6 or 7 times now and it get's worse and worse!
Especially when she doesn't bring the whole band.
Last summer I saw her play 5 songs at a high school, where nobody was interested in acoustic music (really not the setting, but that's the organisation to blame for) and out of that 5 songs there were 2 or 3 coversongs! At that moment I thought: damn, she was in the best band ever, now her level is "high school musical"?? So I got dissapointed.
A few weeks ago I gave it another try, also acoustic, with Danny Cavanaugh...it was great to see Danny, but Anneke wasn't that good. AdA is always the same, playing save, never taking taking risks...and I go back home sleeping in my car!


...I guess I will be punished now?? :)

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PostPosted: 02 May 2009, 23:41 
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Yes, you will be ... if you're sleeping while actually at the wheel of your car!

Take a look at the links I've posted tonight in the "Current Playlist" topic. Anneke is clearly having a good time. However, I couldn't bring myself to post either of the YouTube links to an AdA "Breda Barst" thing. I say "thing" because I have no idea what the song is. It's dreadful.

There are a number of complex aspects to this. Anneke, wherever you are, I guess you'd had enough of anything vaguely related to "metal" or any evolution away from metal. In other words, pushing away in one particular direction, or something like that. I respect your decision, whatever it was based on.

I edit complex academic books for a living. It's highly skilled, challenging work. Half the time I'm saying "I'm very privileged to be doing this" and the rest of the time I'd rather be pushing a lawnmower or trimming a hedge, or helping little old ladies cross roads (always assuming that they actually want to cross the road :roll: ). The question is: Which is these options is best? What does "best" mean, compared to having a nice grilled kipper for breakfast, with two rounds of wholemeal toast? Ultimately, it's all about the meaning of life, I guess.

Since the band (TG, that is) has decided to carry on, they have to produce something new. They're on a treadmill of sorts, while Anneke has stepped off the treadmill for the time being. Is that fair? Perhaps not, because I'm sure she's put a lot of work into her own albums so far. But suddenly we're not comparing like with like. For TG to continue, there's a particularly difficult creative challenge - to find a true successor to Anneke as singer, and to produce an album that stands up well compared with those that have gone before. And in that sense, I wish the reviewers would stop making the obvious comparions.

Meanwhile, Anneke can happily sing a Dolly Parton song at somebody's house. My wife and I wish she'd come and sing at our house. And that sentiment no longer has anything to do with TG, or metal, or post-metal something or other. It's just about a nice person we met a few years ago, who happens to be one of the very best singers we've ever had the pleasure to hear.

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PostPosted: 03 May 2009, 18:47 
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Review from metallized.it
http://www.metallized.it/recensione.php?id=2759

begin quick translation:

I confess, i'm not deep into The Gathering. I know that's a big fault as reviewer, but in this case i believe it's an advantage: The West Pole is a greatly awaited album cause the change behind the microphone of the most representative and charismatic member of the dutch band, that is Anneke Van Giersbergen. A member so important to represent the symbol of not the band only, but of an entire movement.
Thus, free of prejudices, i'm going to judge this album for what The Gathering are today, not for what they've been, avoiding useless and counterproductive comparisons with the past (even illustrious and important).

Here we start.
The opening marks his sign, When Trust Becomes Sound is instrumental guitar oriented (a general trend in all The West Pole). It scratches us and strips us of certainties and illusions, leaving us naked, alone with our soul that try to escape from the inexorable comparison with herself. She remains, the music. We have no choice but to abandon ourserves to her.

With the following Treasure, the mood changes: the song is crisp, direct, thoughtless and introduces us the new singer Silje Wergeland, norwegian with a noteworty experience in Octavia Sperati. Her voice fits perfectly in the new course inaugurated by the dutch band: the sound is no more legacy to the so-called trip-rock of last two albums, it takes instead more alternative solutions. The singer proves herself technically very valid, clean and precise in the whispered parts as in the more hard ones.
The only criticism i make is that the norwegian concentrated more in the formal technical perfection of her perfomance than in the emotional side (can i blame her, seen the burden on her?), but anyway her performance is high level.
A distorted arpeggio introduces us to All You Are, song on the line of the previous regarding structure and feeling: probably the most banal and easy in the lot, anyway embellished by high-class arrangement.

The album's central part loses a bit of accessibility compared to the rest. But is there where The Gathering set free their more experimental creativity. From the title track to Pale Traces it becomes more atmospheric and sophisticated, maybe more difficult, but way more satisfactory once assimilated: guitars cease of saturate amplifiers (they'll be back to put the amplifiers on fire in the last two songs) leaving more room to arcs (arrangend with taste and competence, are widespread in the album, but here prevailing), synt and even piano (You Promised Me a Symphony). It's in this aseptic and almost lysergic dimension that the dutch's musical quest comes to fulfilment.
Their aesthetic and creative sense, seeking the supreme Oratian marrige between art and genius (NDT: don't blame the translator!), artifice and inspiration. These songs are little gems full of feeling, magnificent.

The last two tracks bring back the freshness of the first ones, until the wonderful instrumental end of No One Spoke, where a rejoicing of arcs, keyboards and guitars seals with a wonderfully malinconc mood this great return.

Production is almost perfect, superlative in some moments with choice of sounds and effects, cleanliness e attention to details (in this, Pale Traces made me cry to miracle several times). A big note deserve the voice doublings, really great, sign of the great value of the singers (NDT besides Silje): Marcela Bovio (Ayreon, Stream of Passion, Elfonia) and Anne van den Hoogen (dutch singer, of which i don't know the musical career) show themselves behind the micophone respectively in Pale Traces and in Capital of Nowhere.

Unique, light, comforting, graceful in the front, but devastating in the intimate, with The Gathering talent wins for real. The true talent of a superlative group, that stands neat ad quiver in the soul.
The West Pole passes the exam brilliantly. Here there is everything, (NDT dont't blame the translator for the following...) the right-wing bourgeois behaviour, the left-wing torment, the global crisis and the Obama's hope, the clean civilization and the grunge deacy. All those not able or not willing to understang them, let's 'em behind, caged in their past.

end of translation

I apologise for the dirty translation: it was a very convolute italian review.

Hi

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PostPosted: 03 May 2009, 19:42 
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Hahaha that's a review that's nice to read, the chosen words bring smiles in my face, mostly the last part, i love reading creative writers =)

Thanks for sharing

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PostPosted: 04 May 2009, 04:00 
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:lol: funny review.

You missed this part:

VOTO RECENSORE (reviewer)
82


VOTO LETTORI (readers)
65.8 su 5 voti (votes)

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PostPosted: 06 May 2009, 17:35 
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and here is mine

http://www.metalteamuk.net/apr09reviews ... hering.htm


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PostPosted: 06 May 2009, 17:48 
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I love this review.. it is such a smart one!

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