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Review of the album called "Nighttime Birds" by Dutch Metal Band The Gathering

Updated on March 4, 2018

The Front Album Cover for Nighttime Birds

The album cover shows a field totally covered in snow while a barren tree is in the background. Snow can be beautiful to look at but it can sometimes be dangerous as well.
The album cover shows a field totally covered in snow while a barren tree is in the background. Snow can be beautiful to look at but it can sometimes be dangerous as well. | Source

The Song Called On Most Surfaces Is the Best Song In This Album

Dutch heavy metal band The Gathering must have taken a page out of the band Agalloch’s book because they start addressing the idea of frost and snowfall. That’s radically different from the lyrical concepts of the previous album Mandylion’s first song Strange Machines. In the song On Most Surfaces is where we the listeners hear the reference made to snowfall and frost hitting a person’s face. Some winters are so harsh and blurry that we cannot see very far in front of us and this creates a very dangerous situation. The Flowing Tears influence can be heard in the guitar work (think about the Razorbliss era with beautiful Helen Vogt)! I had to include that phrase in there to make people laugh. Humor is especially important in 2017. Nighttime Birds is an album that was released in 1997 but this writer is just listening to it now.

The Gathering and Their Contributions to the Rock Music Scene

The Gathering has always been one of my favorite Dutch bands along with Elegy. The Gathering is on hold since 2014 but their contribution to the rock music scene has been that of essential. Later on, they would have a very memorable song called Shot to Pieces which is in my head as a memory partially because of Anneke Van Giersbergen's vocals.

Confusion and The May Song are Other Songs Worth Listening to

Confusion is a song about being confronted with eyes that meet ours yet we see that there is a false look in those eyes. Sometimes it is better to just lay low as Anneke says in the song. The May Song represents the greening of the grass and the return of warmer temperatures as a woman is looking forward to the return of the person that she loves.

How Good Is Nighttime Birds?

Nighttime Birds may have slightly better vocals by Anneke but it is not as good musically as Mandylion. The Gathering is a band that can impress you, they can leave you in awe or they can relax you as is the case with their later album called The West Pole.

On Most Surfaces

A Photo of the CD Nighttime Birds

Nighttime Birds Songs Mother Earth, New Moon Different Day, and Third Chance

The Earth Is My Witness has that Gothic guitar sound that Lacuna Coil would use in the early 2000’s. The song is about a powerful witness, a powerful force known as Mother Earth that is closely watching all of her babies. She refuses to give up even if she knows that there will be tough times ahead. New Moon, Different Day is a symbolic song about breaking through the clouds, passing through the storm and being on the other side as time passes. Even if the raindrops hit our heads, as long as we pass through the storm (the rough times), we know that we will feel good once the sun (the good times) return. Speaking of good times, the song Third Chance is about someone not getting a second chance but a third chance at reconciliation as the partner that we were waiting for will be back in our life and they will stay in our life this time! In the meantime. One of the partners is still panicking as her knees hit the floor. If you are patient enough and just wait it out, it will be worth it as that person will make their return.

The Earth Is My Witness

The Songs Nighttime Birds and Shrink

The title track is a song about some birds hoping to fly through the air on a warm night. In their feeling, if the air is warm enough that warm air will carry them through what is supposed to be beautiful. The last song called Shrink is dominated by piano play and it is a song about someone having lost the one they love because that other person has betrayed them.

The May Song Performed LIVE In Poland

Overall, Anneke's Vocals Make Nighttime Birds a Good Album

Overall, even though Nighttime Birds is a nice album by these Dutch veterans, it is the weakest album of the three that I have heard so far. However, the vocals of Anneke Van Giersbergen are strong enough to give this album credit for being pretty good!

© 2017 Ara Vahanian

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