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Review of the Album Souvenirs by Dutch Atmospheric Rock Band The Gathering

Updated on November 17, 2023
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Ara is a journalism graduate from California State University, Northridge, who is always looking to explore his writing opportunities.

This ornament can be a souvenir and it also represents the title of the album that is being reviewed.
This ornament can be a souvenir and it also represents the title of the album that is being reviewed. | Source

Why Should Fans Consider Listening to the Music of The Gathering?

There are times in life when a person needs to hear a metal band that isn't overwhelming on the senses and the mood, yet they provide just the type of atmosphere that a person craves when they have to sit back, relax, and just “chill out” as the saying goes. The band that can do this to a person is the Dutch metal band called The Gathering. I've gotten into this band only after a few tries of trying to listen to their music and although The West Pole is a delightful album, the albums featuring vocalist Anneke Van Giersbergen are worthy of mention as well.

Even the drum sound in the song Even the Spirits Are Afraid is solid. Who needs death metal when you have an album like this? Souvenirs is also the first album for The Gathering being signed to Psychonaut Records.

"Souvenirs" the Title Track

Why Is Souvenirs Such a Soothing Album?

The Gathering's 2003 studio album Souvenirs is one that I was impressed with as soon as I clicked on the first song These Good People. The Gathering know how to play that soft, atmospheric kind of rock that can soothe you. The band definitely sounded more like a metal band in their earliest years before Anneke joined the band but since she did, the band has not been the same. This means that musically they took off like a space shuttle launching itself into the arena of the great bands of the musical industry. There is even a guest appearance by the guy known as Trickster G. or Kristoffer Rygg of the band Ulver and formerly of Arcturus.

For some of us, the albums of The Gathering can provide a sense of being in flow, that is, we have the chance to turn our days into more productive ones. Also, the music of this Dutch band has the power to soothe and calm us if we are having a rough day.

The Gathering Are Like a Mixture of Alternative and Atmospheric Rock

Even though websites such as Wikipedia describe The Gathering as an alternative metal band, such a characterization would be inaccurate. Especially with an album like Souvenirs it is mostly atmospheric rock that would best describe it. Prior to 1995, The Gathering was a death metal band that had two different vocalists for their first two albums. However the beginning of the first song These Good People with that strange, repeating sound or section can be considered somewhat of an alternative feel. But what follows after that is soft, atmospheric rock, similar to what Swedish band Opeth would do with their later albums. Anneke Van Giersbergen is one of those vocalists that can soothe you, relax you and make you feel like listening to her because she's got that angelic charm in her vocals.

The Signiicance of the Song Souvenirs

“Souvenirs” the song is about never disagreeing with our youth. We must also remember our childhood years because those years can tell us about what challenges we faced or will face later on as adults. When we peel off the various layers of our existence, it is then that we truly see that we are more than just this physical body of ours. Our bodies are like energy fields that vibrate every single day but most of us don't have the time to thinks so deeply about our existence or we don't realize that we are much more than just our bodies. The song has a beautiful progressive guitar filled kind of beginning.

Final Thoughts About the Album Souvenirs

Where does the band The Gathering go from here? Souvenirs is a very good atmospheric rock album that lets us know about how life unfolds here on Earth as breathing is a part of life as was mentioned in the title track. Once we do not breathe for even a few minutes, we cannot sustain oxygen to help keep us going. As was said in that song, breathing is what bridges that gap between light and dark, that bridge between life and death. “Monsters” is a song that sounds like something Black Sabbath would have written back in the 1970s as there is a doom metal riffing kind of structure. “Golden Grounds” is a song that basically tells us that when the heat of the sun boils our skin because it can be so hot some days, we must have faith that our higher power will save us when we call on it. Souvenirs isn't as good of an album is 1995's Mandylion but it is a good atmospheric rock album that will soothe you and allow you to relax nd get through the stresses of your day.

© 2020 Ara Vahanian


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