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Album Review: "Always..." by Dutch Metal Band The Gathering

Updated on April 14, 2023
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Ara is a journalism graduate from California State University, Northridge, who is always looking to explore his writing opportunities.

Musical Style of the Album Always... and Its Various Influences

Dutch band The Gathering and death metal are two parts of a sentence that don’t really match do they? That’s because this band is not mostly known for being a doom and death metal band but that’s what they played in the early part of their career. The debut album of The Gathering is called "Always…" released in 1992. The style is described as doom and death metal. There are definite traces of the influence of Swedish band Opeth as well as a touch of Theatre of Tragedy and some traces of riffs that resemble Acid Reign.

A Photo of the CD Always


Who Does the Vocals on the Album Always... and Who Joins Him?

The vocalist for this album is Bart Smits whose death metal growls are so obvious. For the avid writer regardless of the season there are ample opportunities to cover bands from anywhere on the globe. This means that there are bands from pretty much any country that reviewers can cover. Joining Smits in the vocal department and providing strong operatic vocals is Marike Groot.

The Mirror Waters, Subzero and In Sickness and Health

The album begins with The Mirror Waters which is a song about the aging process which no human can escape from. From youth human beings make the transition into old age just like spring follows winter. There is a BIG paradise lost influence in this song. Subzero is a song that lyrically talks about emotions being like a lake. They can either be calm or stormy. In Sickness and Health is a song about how marriage is a contract that unites two people together but in death, the couples must depart from this world. In that instance, life can be thought of as cruel. Are dreams really an illusion for others to see? Marriage if pursued for the right and just reasons is a wonderful way for two people to share their lives with each other. Although two people may enter a union such as this with the intention of having eternal love, many marriages end in divorce.

About the Significance of the Song King for a Day

King for a Day might as well be the story of what happens to most of us in life. Each one of us will come to our end one day even if we are kings of our world. We all have our own dragons or monsters to slay so in this perspective, reality is not that far away from the fantasy tales that many read about. The song in the middle part of it has some female chanting as well as sounds that sound like a human’s heart that beats.

The Songs Second Sunrise, and Stonegarden as Well as Further Thoughts on the Song King for a Day

If we don’t encounter adversity or our own dragons to face, then we cannot be human because life itself is not always going to be this smooth sail through the waters.Second Sunrise is a song that questions where peace is that it has escaped the world. Living life is not just about living but really thinking about what we can do to restore some semblance of normal life in an often times stressful world. Some politicians and countries seem to have a thirst for war which will only lead to the opposite of what we must seek and try to use. Although there might be thoughts of a perfect world, such a scenario is pretty much unattainable but we can try to use our hearts instead of our ego filled minds to create more peace in this life. Stonegarden is a song that discusses a person that sets sail out to sea in an attempt to catch the moon but he seems to fail at this. What is not a failure is the band The Gathering which is one of the best Dutch bands in the history of heavy metal. In 2003, there was a version that was done again with then vocalist Anneke Van Giersbergen.

"Stonegarden" 2003 Version With Anneke Van Giersbergen

Final Thoughts About the Album Always...

Always… is an instrumental song that has chanting vocals in it as well as the waves of the ocean in it. "Always…" is a decent doom and death metal album but it cannot compare to albums such as Mandylion and what would come after it. Listen to this album only after you have listened to anything released by this band in 1995 and later.

© 2018 Ara Vahanian


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