The Gathering – Black Light District

The Gathering
Black Light District

Twelve and a half years ago, The Gathering played heavy metal in a small town in the Netherlands. Apparently the sound struck the small Dutch town like an abdominal cramp, in a good way. The Gathering became a big thing in the Netherlands, and through travail and travel they were able to build themselves a wide fan base, even amidst genre metamorphosis and cycling band members. Today, The Gathering plays experimental and atmospheric rock led by a slow, depressed piano and the ethereal voice of Anneke van Glersberger.
The title track, which at 16+ minutes rivals the total length of many punk albums, starts with the piano lethargically plotting out notes and chords. Then, in come the soft cymbals after two minutes of keyboards. Cold, female, spoken vocals follow shortly thereafter. The music then turns heavier with an overly distorted keyboard and an electric guitar over the now aggressive drums. It culminates for a few minutes; then you hear the piano softly playing a melody under the chugging instruments as they diligently work towards a climax. The electric guitar fizzles out and the keyboard continues playing softly to the light cymbals. In comes the tired vocals, “The narrow street / Never ending narrow / Clogs my throat” and the keyboard reverts back to its original lethargic tune before the music finally fades out.
“Debris” is the track that reminds me a lot of Poe. This song is obviously influenced more by their heavy metal days than the other two on this mini-CD. With a heavier sound throughout and no trace of the pretty piano from the first track, The Gathering produces a well-pieced together track that sounds something like a late 90s alternative hit. The final song, “Broken Glass,” returns back to their slowed-down, piano-oriented style, which I personally prefer. The keyboards are alone with the vocals on this track playing chords mezzo forte over the floating vocals. This track creates a very slow and melancholy atmosphere: I fell asleep to it twice.
On top of almost 30 minutes of music, The Gathering tosses in four movie files and other media for your computer. Just imagining how much content will be on their full-length release in 2003 is mind-boggling. This release is certainly worth purchasing, and I’m sure they are selling like crazy in the Netherlands.