The Gathering
How to Measure a Planet?


5.0
classic

Review

by radianteclipse USER (26 Reviews)
August 26th, 2005 | 67 replies


Release Date: 1999 | Tracklist


HISTORY:

Few bands can pull of what the Gathering can. Few bands can continously reinvent themselves, experiment heavily...and yet somehow keep their core sound intact. Album after album your left wondering what's going to come next? What drastic changes are they going to make now?

They have evolved over the years, evolved into something that has been kept quiet to most of the world somehow. Such beautiful music created by sheer music geniuses..and the one voice that holds it altogether. That voice is none other than the always unique Anneke Van Giersbergen. She joined the band two albums after their introduction to the world, and from that first note she bellowed on "Strange Machines", she put the band on the map.

The Gathering began basically as a doom metal band in the early 90's...putting out their first two albums "Always", and "Almost a Dance" with to different male vocalists. Neither of them truly excelled, and while the music was undeniably good it couldn't compare to what was to come. Anneke Van Giersbergen was later found, and she appeared on the band's third album "Mandylion". This album kept to many of the doom metal roots, but her soaring voice added a whole new dimension to the music. The heavy guitars, beautiful keyboards, and her breathtaking voice created an atmosphere that was indescribable. Later, "Nighttime Birds" was released, again a doom-ish album. A fantastic album it was...but the last one of the era.

REVIEW:
A new Gathering era began with this album, "How to Measure a Planet". A complete departure from everything created before by them. This album led into "If_then_else", the more rock oriented album, and then onto "Souvenirs", which is most frequently described as Trip-Rock.

This is the Gathering at their most experimental. Ditch the heavy doom metal guitars and add odd keyboards, clean guitar, and lots of melody. Slow and beautiful. Trippy and elegant. Epic and progressive. A league of its own. Right from the beginning it is easy to tell this album is going to be something special. It starts with the track "Frail (You Might as Well Be Me). A very slow, beautiful track. A simple guitar part on top of keyboards and a simple drum beat...and then in comes the swooning vocals of Anneke. A calm, soothing song...and a great way to start the album. And from here, it stays that way for the most part...not really picking up in heaviness at all until the 5th track.."Liberty Bell". It does seem somewhat out of place on this album, but that doesn't mean it's not good. A good, upbeat, song...and probably the heaviest on the album.

The beauty in this album is remarkable. I love to listen to it while staring at the stars or driving down a scenic road late at night..because it adds depth to the world around me. The slow pace of it makes it a great album to fall asleep to, or just get lost in thought too. It's a good departure from reality. And in it all, there are some parts that will take your breath away.

"Travel" is this albums, and the band in general's, masterpiece. An epic song that sends chills down my spine. And the ending... as Anneke sings in her magestic voice "I wish you knew, your music was to stay forever, and I hope...". You will not find a more spine-tingling beauty in a song. WHen I first heard it I was completely blown away. The world around me stopped and all I could focus on was that music engulfing my ears. No matter how many times I hear it to this day it still has the same effect. Bands can only hope the create something that amazing. A good closer to the first disc.

The second disc is for the less trippy, more straigh-forward and heavier rock songs. It starts out with a good instrumental in "South American Ghost Ride" which leads into "Illuminating"...a fantastic rock song with a verse and chorus..and the chorus being very loud and showcasing the power of Anneke's voice. Then there is "Locked Away", another great song.

The true highlight of the second disc comes with one of the heavier tracks on the album, "Probably Built in the 50's". A very rockin' song, and another nice break from the trippy/experimental songs. The album then closes out with the 30 minute title track. It's hard to really call this a song. It's more of a half hour experiment, with various sounds thrown together to make a song... It's not bad, but it is hard to listen to the entire track without getting a bit bored. Probably the weakest point of the album.

Overall, this could very well be the Gathering's masterpiece, though they have yet to put something out that I have been dissappointed with. This will stand the test of time, and hardly anyone will even have the pleasure of hearing it, it's a shame.

Stand Out Tracks:
Frail (You Might as Well Be Me)
Great Ocean Road
Rescue Me
Liberty Bell
My Electricity
Red is a Slow Colour
Travel
Probably Built in the Fifties

Pros:
Experimental, Atmospheric, Beautiful, Progressive, Epic...Amazing

Cons:
The Title Track



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user ratings (228)
Chart.
4.2
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
radianteclipse
October 16th 2005


397 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

werd

Shattered_Future
October 16th 2005


1540 Comments


I love The Gathering. Anneke (spelling?) has a great voice...beautiful and powerful at the same time.

radianteclipse
March 14th 2006


397 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

random bump


Oblivioncry
June 12th 2007


601 Comments


they sound like anathema to me, i think i'll check them out

TheGreatD17
April 30th 2008


1141 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

This album finally clicked with me, it took a while for some reason.

This Message Edited On 03.12.09

jrowa001
January 2nd 2009


8750 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

ive been listening to The Gathering most of the day and so far im liking this one the most, but all their albums (except for first 2) are awesome. Nighttime Birds and Mandylion are close second

Willie
Moderator
January 2nd 2009


16019 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

They could have made this a single album with a few songs removed and it would have been bettter.
Have you heard "Almost a Dance".

Digging: Skrew - Universal Immolation

jrowa001
January 2nd 2009


8750 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

no i havent herad their first 2 albums yet. dont plan to since ive heard bad things

Willie
Moderator
January 2nd 2009


16019 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I know most don't agree, but I love their debut, "...Always"

I reviewed their first three albums. If you have any interest in their debut (their second is horrible) let me know.

jrowa001
January 2nd 2009


8750 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

if you like the debut then i guess its worth checking out. ill stay away from their second album.

The Gathering have gotten me back into female fronted gothic metal, since its been a while since ive really listened to anything like this. just checked out Leaves' Eyes, and Flowing Tears. both are pretty good bands

StickmanSouffle
March 12th 2009


286 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

This band is soooooo good. They're kind of like a non-shit version of Evanescence. But yeah, I have How to Measure a Planet?, Nighttime Birds and if_then_else and they're all pretty much amazing.

Disconnected
October 23rd 2009


485 Comments


I agree about the title track. It is dreadfully boring and is what dragged my rating down to a 3.5. It would have been a 4, but since the title track is so long and repeats upon itself, my opinion of the album overall shifted. It's a disgrace of a long song; leave the long songs to bands like Green Carnation (they had the successful 60 minute song Light of Day, Day of Darkness) and Dream Theater (they pull long songs out like food from a bowl).

Anyways, How to Measure a Planet? is at least better than Nighttime Birds, which I didn't seem to like anywhere near as much as Mandylion.

Bullitt
November 23rd 2009


1666 Comments


Album is 16 dollars on itunes, and of course "travel" is album only so I cant check it out without dropping the cash.

Willie
Moderator
November 23rd 2009


16019 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I'd pay $16 for this CD (in fact, I probably did).

Bullitt
November 23rd 2009


1666 Comments


Well, I will take your word for it then.

SirkSakaig
September 26th 2010


57 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

My favourite album of all time.

fish.
Contributing Reviewer
May 11th 2011


21967 Comments


So yeah, I heard Illuminating on last.fm a while ago and I liked it so ima check it out in its entirety.

It's really long though..

Willie
Moderator
May 11th 2011


16019 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

The title track is a 30 minute (or around there) instrumental that is mostly silence and whatever. It's not even worth holding onto... but the rest of the album is cool.

Jarvig
July 28th 2011


168 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Very good album. Goth-metal meets dark ambient prog. Many good songs on this album. Actually all songs but the titletrack are good.

Only reason that its not a 4.5 album is because its not really my style in music. Like that style, but do not love it.

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
July 28th 2011


6147 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

The title track is a 30 minute (or around there) instrumental that is mostly silence and whatever. It's not even worth holding onto...

I was browsing through Jarvig's post, and i accidentally saw this.


I thoroughly disagree.

The title track is the best track of the record by far, along with "Travel" and "Probably Built in the 50's".

A brave tribute to King Crimson and Nothingface-to-The Outer Limits-era Voivod, as the band has stated during the time of the record's release.

Digging: Raven Throne - ???????? ?????????



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