by Octopi Mills

I had heard of the Gathering only through indirect means throughout the years, and as I sit here I take note of the Dutch band's long legacy and transformation by way of different vocalists and styles of music, I can only ascertain they have fulfilled what many musicians could only wish for. Certainly, they have a long history, and one that the reader will be required to look into themselves, due to the rich nature of such a said legacy.

As the music comes through "Paper Waves" I find it to have the old Pink Floyd effect of tranquility, though quite differently, but the same in a certain atmospheric, rock way. The guitars are light and blend with lush electronics and give me the feeling of winding through some Dutch city at night, with bleeding lights and a swirl of colors that are soft and fleeting. Neon signs blur with headlights and the ambience of street lights. The instrumentation has a feeling of oneness and is dreamy, having the ability to take one somewhere, and the strength of the band must lie in this vision. The vocals are feminine, of course, and I would not normally like this sort of singing style that is employed here, and not for the reason it is female vocals, but for the pop sounding nature of the performance. This also comes through in the music, though there are some long, unconventional moments that come through, as for example in the long running "Heroes For Ghosts", which has some good keyboards and feeling throughout. And though I would only rarely find merit in this style of music, I cannot condemn it, as it touches some moods and sentiment not felt in most all other similar styles. There is a comforting aspect in the velveteen sounds of this album, and I can somewhat compare it to the same sort of feeling in modern day Anathema, who also started out their quest with some metal roots and then went another way entirely, as the Gathering has done. Often one cannot help but wonder if the music might break out in some death chords somehow, though this never happens. All in all, it is not a bad release.