The Gathering: Disclosure

Wistful, emotional odysseys from the Dutch/Nordic hinterlands

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Much in the way that modern metalcore bears little, and diminished, relation to the music that originally bore its name, so the the Netherlands’ The Gathering laid out a lush, expressive blueprint for what might have been female-fronted gothic metal but was overlooked by hordes of frocked, off-key shower-warblers driving the ship into the dunes.

Having drawn the awe of quality-loving doom, goth and metal fans, they lost one sublime, time-stopping singer – and now Devin Townsend collaborator – Anneke van Giersbergen in 2007 and gained a new one with Silje Wergeland, and if The Gathering are an airier proposition these days, Disclosure proves they can be no less affecting.

Less low-key, more electronics-infused than 2009’s The West Pole, it’s still at the mercy of melancholic driftwinds, Silje’s rich, ruffled Arctic floe able to bear devastation with haunting, soul-cleansing grace. If you’re fond of frill-free, fragile emotional hinterlands that don’t dissolve under scrutiny, Disclosure will reach down deep.

Jonathan Selzer

Having freelanced regularly for the Melody Maker and Kerrang!, and edited the extreme metal monthly, Terrorizer, for seven years, Jonathan is now the overseer of all the album and live reviews in Metal Hammer. Bemoans his obsolete superpower of being invisible to Routemaster bus conductors, finds men without sideburns slightly circumspect, and thinks songs that aren’t about Satan, swords or witches are a bit silly.