The Gathering – Mandylion – Review

The Gathering

Mandylion (Century Media)
by Scott Hefflon

Majestic and glorious, The Gathering soars through time, space, and the human experience. While I’m an admitted sucker for moody, melodic metal, the haunting vocals of Anneke van Giersbergen are the icing on an already tasty cake. Filled with sweet notes laced with pain, her voice drifts like a translucent siren atop the plodding Gothic metal. Tastefully roaring guitars lay down a foundation, which the subtle keyboards landscape and upon which Anneke dances and sings like a pagan goddess. Produced by Grip Inc. guitarist and master producer Waldemar Sorychta, each reverberation of the tribal drums reaches inside the listener, searching for the inner savage, and each tinkling of cymbals and windchimes chills the spine like the breeze off an iced-over lake.

While some of the songs may be too long for commercial radio play, they’re the perfect length for long, wordless, candle-lit conversations on both internal and external affairs. The CD booklet comes with artfully laid-out lyrics, but by now I’ve learned to listen to emotion rather than read lyrics. Each epic traverses great distances and transcends time, each a facet of the whole experience. Loneliness, loss, and regret are countered by glimpses of a new dawn on the horizon – all in a chord progression, all with a vocal melody. Let the angels weep and demons mutter beneath their breath. Mandylion is beautiful – spend some time with it.