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Review of the Album "How to Measure a Planet?" by Dutch Metal Band The Gathering

Updated on March 27, 2023
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Ara is a journalism graduate from California State University, Northridge, who is always looking to explore his writing opportunities.


How To Measure a Planet Provides Us With Some Solid Atmospheric Metal Music

“How to Measure a Planet?” is the 5th studio album by Dutch metal band The Gathering and this one was released way back in 1998 but since I felt that former vocalist of this band Anneke Van Giersbergen needed to be given more credit for the work that she has done in the music industry, there will also be a review of this album. The Gathering for some reason is classified as a metal band but it seems to me that they should be classified as alternative metal but regardless of the classification, this is a band that with Anneke provided some solid atmospheric music.

Anneke Van Giersbergen Was a Good Fit for The Gathering

This album however is two discs and almost 2 hours long so if you want to get through this album, patience is especially important. Anneke Van Giersbergen does not have the towering kind of vocal range that you would hear from singers such as Cristina Scabbia or Tarja Turunen but rather she has one of those pleasant voices that you can easily listen along with and her pitch is just right. She does not try to overdo it when she sings. Let’s give credit where it is due. Anneke was the right vocalist for this band and this band wasn’t fit to be a death metal band their whole career.

"Liberty Bell"

About the Musical Style Of How to Measure a Planet?

This album is pretty much of an atmospheric metal type with some feel of doom metal but thankfully when Anneke came along, she made these guys better as a group too. Liberty Bell has some distorted guitar in it and then the chanting style vocals by Anneke which can be heard in the background. And is it just me or is Anneke really that gorgeous? She is really quite attractive and her pleasant voice adds to her appeal.

What Does the Album "How to Measure a Planet?" Demonstrate Musically?

The Netherlands has more than just death metal music or even thrash metal. They have also had metal bands with female singers such as Within Temptation. Although this is an album review, I like to take analytical approach to these album reviews. How can we measure the success level of “The Gathering” as a band? It is decent to say that by this time in their career, the band had a great singer and musically, everything was starting to flow. Regarding that flow concept, we can be in the state of flow listening to this album because of its soft nature. Similarly, their album “The West Pole” which would be released many years later after Anneke’s departure offers the same kind of quality that allows you to just sit back and listen to the music and to de-stress after a long day at work for instance.

Final Thoughts About How to Measure a Planet? (First Listen Through)

There is even an instrumental song in this album called South American Ghost Ride. It took me a while to get into the music of this band because they just felt like they were a little too weird for my tastes but they certainly give your ears a wonderful break from all of the heavy, pounding of thrash metal bands for instance. Illuminating tells the story of exploring stars and other planets. When we are in space, we will weigh less than on Planet Earth. Will we ever discover life on other planets such as Mars? Probably Built in the Fifties is a song that I heard the LIVE version of a long time ago. Lyrically it is about going on a long run until we have done all we can. In this search for our higher self, it is imagination that can take us anywhere instead of logic. Logic will only take us from A to B but imagination has the power to take us anywhere we want to go to. Musically, this album is a very good atmospheric rock album and it probably isn’t as good as Mandylion as of this first listen but the album’s music is an indication that this band needed to have someone like Anneke there not just for her excellent pitch of vocals but also for the fact that she soothes music listeners like me worldwide!

"South American Ghost Ride"

© 2019 Ara Vahanian


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