The Gathering (band)
Budapest concert, 31 January 2010
|Origin||Oss, the Netherlands|
|Genres||Progressive rock, alternative rock, trip hop, death-doom (early), gothic metal (early)|
|Years active||1989–2014 (currently on hiatus)|
|Labels||Century Media, Psychonaut, Hammerheart, Sanctuary, The End, Foundation 2000|
|Associated acts||Agua de Annique|
|Past members||Hugo Prinsen Geerligs
Martine van Loon
Anneke van Giersbergen
The Gathering earliest releases were categorized as atmospheric death/doom metal, inspired by such underground acts like Celtic Frost and Hellhammer. In 1998 with the release of their 5th studio album, How to measure a planet?, they had a major shift in musical style, with the group acknowledging the growing influence of shoegaze, post rock, experimental rock and the more ethereal sounds of 4AD bands, such as Dead Can Dance, Cocteau Twins, as well as Pink Floyd and Massive Attack; they expanded their sound, which acquired characteristics of progressive, alternative, and trip rock and gained success and recognition beyond the European borders. The group continue to expand upon the experimental nature of their music.
In August 2007 Anneke van Giersbergen left the group to focus on her solo project Agua de Annique. On 12 March 2009, The Gathering announced that their replacement vocalist was Silje Wergeland (Octavia Sperati). Their most recent album, Disclosure, was released on 12 September 2012.
On 17 January 2014, the band announced on their Facebook page that they decided to take a break from recording and touring, and also that Marjolein Kooijman left the band. To celebrate the band's 25th anniversary, a show featuring all the current and past members in the band's history took place on 9 November 2014.
Early years (1989 – 1994)
Founded by brothers Hans and René Rutten and vocalist Bart Smits, The Gathering formed in the city of Oss, North Brabant, Netherlands in 1989. Soon after they were joined by Hugo Prinsen Geerligs, Jelmer Wiersma and Frank Boeijen to complete their first line-up. The Gathering's earliest recordings were categorized as atmospheric death/doom metal, inspired by such underground acts like Celtic Frost and Hellhammer.
In 1990 they recorded a demo tape entitled An Imaginary Symphony which met some positive reactions from the underground metal scene due to their unusual use of keyboards in metal-oriented music. A second demo, "Moonlight Archer" was recorded in April 1991, was picked up by several music journalists. Both demos suffered from poor production; however they did help establish the band's name on the live circuit opening for bands such as Deadhead, Invocator, Samael, Morbid Angel and Death.
After signing with Foundation 2000, the group released their debut album Always... in 1992. On this album, Bart Smits was accompanied by Marike Groot on vocals, who also joined The Gathering on stage for most of the gigs. the album was a minor success on the European continent, where it went on to shift nearly 20,000 units over the next few of years. In 1992 both Bart Smits and Marike Groot decided to leave the group due to musical differences; the other members wanted to change direction towards a lighter, more progressive sound. Smits went on to form his own project, called Wish, to explore a darker, heavier sound.
In 1993 the group recruited two new vocalists, Niels Duffhues and female counterpart Martine van Loon. A second album, Almost a Dance, was recorded and released in 1993 by Foundation 2000. The album was met with much criticism aimed at Duffhues' punk-ish tone being decidedly out of step with the music, and the album was largely written off as a result. The group collectively acknowledged their disappointments with Almost a Dance and decided to start writing new material and start the search for a new vocalist.
Century Media years (1995 – 2001)
The Gathering released their third album (and first to feature Anneke van Giersbergen) Mandylion in 1995 through Century Media; proving to be their breakthrough and selling over 130,000 copies in Europe. Two singles were released from Mandylion, "Adrenaline/Leaves" and "Strange Machines" (which charted in the Netherlands) further helped raise the group's popularity in Europe and the United States. Tours of Belgium and Germany, as well as appearances at the Dynamo Open Air and Pinkpop Festivals further established the bands presence in the European metal scene. 1997's Nighttime Birds was stylistically and musically a companion piece to Mandylion sold over 90,000 copies and saw the group tour throughout Europe.
In 1998 the group acknowledged their growing influences and their need to experiment with a double-album How to Measure a Planet?. Produced by Attie Bauw, the album is a radical departure from the group's established sound, characteristically experimental alternative, trip rock. Upon release, the album received excellent reviews from critics who appreciated the band's absorption of new styles such as shoegaze and trip hop into its sound. Positive reactions came from all over the world, including the United States, where they played 14 shows during the summer of 1999.
In 1999 the band formed their own record label, Psychonaut Records, with the view of releasing their own music and taking creative control over how their music is marketed and distributed. Always... was re-released in 1999, followed by Almost a Dance in 2000, both re-mastered and fitted with new artwork. However, the band were still under contract with Century Media, they released a live album Superheat (2000) which was recorded in several Dutch venues during 1999.
Another successful chapter in The Gathering's career followed with the release of if then else (2000). The album is filled with diverse, intense and emotional rock songs, more compact than its predecessor. Fifteen months of touring ensued, taking them to virtually every nook and cranny of Europe, with a little sidestep to Mexico, and ending with a small Dutch club tour in October 2001.
Independent years (2002–2008)
In 2002 the band members took a break and tended to their private lives. During this period, they ended their contract with Century Media. The Gathering had to run their new born label Psychonaut Records and their 12½-year anniversary was coming up. To celebrate this with their fans, they released the mini-CD Black Light District on their own label.
In early 2003, Souvenirs was released. Sleepy Buildings, a semi-acoustic live album, followed in 2004. This album was the last one featuring Hugo Prinsen Geerligs as the bass player. He was later replaced by Marjolein Kooijman.
In 2005, The Gathering provided the music for a CD-ROM titled "Passengers in Time: The Musical History Tour". This CD accompanied a history study book written by Professor Wim Kratsborn and the band did not consider it to be an official release of theirs.
The band released a DVD in 2005, entitled A Sound Relief. This contained more gentle semi-acoustic songs. But this is not their first DVD. Century Media had released In Motion without band permission at 2001. Nevertheless In Motion had an acceptable success. The next plan was to release in 2007 a second DVD (recognized for the band) A Noise Severe which features the more hard rock sound of The Gathering. This DVD was recorded in Santiago, Chile at 24 March 2007 at the Caupolicán Theatre.
In April 2006 they released their eighth studio album called Home. They had toured in March in North and South America and, after a brief pause to let van Giersbergen treat a laryngitis problem, they continued their touring schedule with European dates and music festivals throughout 2006.
The Gathering toured throughout the U.S. and Canada with Lacuna Coil in the spring of 2007. On 5 June 2007, it was announced that Anneke was leaving The Gathering to spend more time with her family and her own band, Agua de Annique. The band scheduled a final tour stop on 4–5 August 2007 at the Ankkarock Festival, Finland. The Ankkarock Festival was announced as the final performance with Anneke as vocalist.
Post-Anneke van Giersbergen years (2007–present)
In February 2008, The Gathering released a boxed set entitled Sand and Mercury - The Complete Century Media Years. This boxed set was limited to 3000 copies worldwide, and contained 10 discs including a selection of studio, live and compilation albums. The set also contained the audio from the In Motion DVD as a new live album, also entitled in Motion.
In September 2008, The Gathering released a collection of all their old material from 1989 to 1993 on a double CD. The album contains the demos, the never released promo 1992, live tracks and the Celtic Frost cover of "Dethroned Emperor". The songs were from the period of the first line-up with singer Bart Smits. All songs were restored and mastered by Mike Wead (King Diamond / Mercyful Fate) and was released by small Dutch independent label Vic Records.
In 2009, drummer Hans Rutten posted a statement on their forum giving details of what to expect later that year. "Yes, we are working on a new album! Or actually, two new albums! Many of our new songs are very rock and guitar orientated and will end up on a heavy rock album for sure. The second album will be filled with more ’shoe gaze’, dreamy tracks." Hans also mentioned they have been working with three singers, although only one appeared on the final album.
On 20 December 2008, the title of The Gathering's ninth studio album was announced as The West Pole.
|“||12/20/2008 The Gathering strikes back: new album The West Pole
The waiting is over. Well ... almost!
We are very happy and proud to announce the release of our 9th studio album in April 2009! The album will be called The West Pole. You probably are curious who is singing on our new record. We have found a new [female] vocalist, and we will have two [also female] guest singers on The West Pole.
We can imagine people are anxious to hear some of our new music. However, we will not make it to put new songs online this year. The reason is that some of our [many] guest musicians still need to be recorded and we prefer to present only complete version of the songs. As soon as we have mixed and mastered the album we will put some tracks on the web and of course you will be informed with all possible details. We believe, after hearing the new songs, you will agree the waiting was worthwhile!
We are very, very proud and we feel we made something really special. The album is produced by René Rutten, it will contain 9 tracks and will be released on our own imprint Psychonaut Records. It will be a very extravert, rock orientated, alive album. Typically the Gathering, but with many new elements. This time it's absolutely guitar driven. For sure.
The West Pole will be available via our own webshop one month before the actual release date. Like our DVD A Noise Severe we will make special packages. More news will follow soon.
We wish you a very nice Christmas and a superb New Year!
Cheers, On behalf of the Gathering Hans Rutten
From September 2008 there had been much speculation that Octavia Sperati singer Silje Wergeland would be the new lead singer of the band; a picture was forwarded by the band onto their official forum site that looked like her. On 7 January 2009, an article in a local Dutch publication stated that new singer would not be Dutch. Speculation shifted to the new singer being Norwegian after conversations with René Rutten.
The Gathering celebrated their 25th birthday as a band with two sold-out reunion concerts at Doornroosje, in Nijmegen (Netherlands), on 9 November 2014. It was the first time that four of their singers (Bart Smits, Marike Groot, Anneke van Giersbergen and Silje Wergeland) performed together, and the band's first performance with van Giersbergen since her departure in 2007.
Frank Boeijen on the origins of the name of the band:
"The name the Gathering has been made like eleven years ago when we started this band. We were all between 15 and 17. We were watching a lot of movies those days. One of the movies spoke about immortality and that you could kill the immortals with cutting their head off [it's the first Highlander Frank is speaking about]. In the first part of the movie, they speak a lot about the gathering. There will be a gathering once with all the immortals. We thought it was a nice name for a band, and that's how we created this name. And you can feel it's a cool name for five people who come together to make fine music." (sic)
- Always... (1992)
- Almost a Dance (1993)
- Mandylion (1995)
- Nighttime Birds (1997)
- How to Measure a Planet? (1998)
- if_then_else (2000)
- Souvenirs (2003)
- Home (2006)
- The West Pole (2009)
- Disclosure (2012)
- Afterwords (2013)
- "Former The Gathering Singer Launches Agua De Annique". Roadrunnerrecords.com. Retrieved 2012-02-19.
- "theGathering - Dear friends, With some great shows and the...". Facebook.com. Retrieved 2015-05-20.
- "Special Anniversary Show". Facebook.com. Retrieved 2015-05-20.
- "Vic Records". Vicrecords.com. Retrieved 2012-02-19.
- "Interview with Bart Smits, ex-vocalist of THE GATHERING van Albert DiBenedetto (Kreavis B. Gribble) op Myspace". Myspace.com. 31 August 2010. Retrieved 2012-02-19.
- Bickers, James. "The Gathering". AllMusic. Retrieved 2012-02-19.
- "Nieuwe kopvrouw". Huisseling.kliknieuws.nl. Retrieved 2012-02-19.
- "THE GATHERING Offer New 'Heroes Of Ghosts' Track For Free Download". Bravewords.com. Retrieved 2015-05-20.
- "The Gathering". Gathering.nl. Retrieved 2012-02-19.
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