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Review of the Album "Mandylion" by Dutch Metal Band the Gathering Featuring the Debut of Anneke Van Giersbergen

Updated on March 8, 2020
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Ara is a Journalism graduate from California State University Northridge who is looking to always explore his writing opportunities.

About the Album Mandylion and Its Musical Style

The album Mandylion by Dutch Alternative/progressive metal band The Gathering released in 1995 is another album that must be given a proper review because of the contribution of vocalist Anneke Van Giersbergen. She joined the band after the band’s first two albums and it made a huge difference for them musically! The Gathering can also be classified as a progressive rock band and regardless of the classification, this band was solid when they were active. Since this album came out in 1995, it has more of a progressive sound and feel to it whereas later albums such as 2009’s The West Pole has more of an alternative style and feel to it.

A Photo of the Beautiful Anneke Van Giersbergen


"Strange Machines" Song Analysis

From the first song called Strange Machines, you can hear how Anneke’s voice really fits with the music of this band. The song is about dreaming about flying in these strange machines that enable humans to fly through entire centuries. With the rise in technology, all kinds of advances are possible and the band realized this back then. A Fates Warning influence kicks in this song but the riff is slower than that.

The Album Cover for Mandylion


About the Song "Eleanor"

The song Eleanor is about someone who is wearing disguises to mask who they really are. This person is trying to break others down in order to pursue their own selfish desires. I’m sure that most of us can relate to this sort of situation.


In Motion #1 Is the first of Two Separate Songs

Next comes the song called In Motion #1, the first of two parts of this series of songs. The song is about the fact that our thoughts can become our worst enemy if we leave them unchecked. The main riff is so interesting that even I have not heard a riff quite like this. As the song goes on, we can hear this sort of atmospheric sound.

About the Song Called Leaves

The slower song Leaves has Anneke expanding her voice and sounding a little like Cristina Scabbia and even the music sounds like early Lacuna Coil though it is slower. The Lacuna Coil sound continues into the next song called Fear the Sea. Sometimes the waves of the water can get so high that they have the power to drown humans. When our state of mind is affected, we can “drown” in our make believe thoughts as the song says. The song has this feel of In a Reverie era Lacuna Coil. The title track Mandylion has flute in it and it has a weird sound in it and then the drums start but slowly, like the drums that they play during slow dances.

Leaves (Official Music Video)

"Sand and Mercury" Song Review

Sand and Mercury is a song about a woman who is begging and really asking for her friend to stay by her side for a while. She knows she is sick and that she does not have much time left to live. She is asking for one last embrace before she departs from this world. The song sounds like the kind of music that Fates Warning would use in their 1997 album called A Pleasant Shade of Gray. That happens after the part with the faster riffing as the song really can enable you to relax and forget about all the stress from your day.

In Motion #2 and Final Thoughts

The album ends with In Motion #2 which is a style or kind of song that Norway’s Theatre of Tragedy would use in their earlier albums. So in sense, Mandylion can be classified as a progressive doom metal album. Whatever it is this is a very solid way for Anneke to have begun her career with The Gathering! The best songs in the album are Strange Machines, Eleanor, Leaves, and In Motion #2.

Mandylion vs. The West Pole

Which one of these two The Gathering albums is the better one?

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The Song Strange Machines

© 2017 Ara Vahanian


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