The Gathering: Anneke Van Giersbergen (vocals); Rene Rutten, Jelmer Wiersma (guitar); Frank Boeijen (piano, synthesizer); Hugo Prinsen Geerligs (bass);
Hans Rutten (drums).
Recorded at Woodhouse Studios, Hagen, Germany on February 17-March 15, 1997.
The most immediately striking aspect of Nighttime Birds is that the Gathering does not have an ordinary singer or death metal growler; instead, they have metal diva Anneke Van Giersbergen, whose voice often recalls Bj”rk and may range from a powerful, throaty wail to a sweetly tuneful caress that belies her deliberate, crunching musical accompaniment. As with Mandylion, the Gathering no longer really sounds like a traditional death metal band; the music is mostly melodic (yet tinged with sorrow), slow to mid-tempo progressive metal, with Van Giersbergen's distinctive voice soaring above the band's nicely varied textures. It's a fine effort, one that marks the Gathering as a band that bears watching, especially if they vary the tempo and mood a bit more. ~ Steve Huey