Anneke van Giersbergen – Symphonized (InsideOut Music)

Tuesday, 20th November 2018
Rating: 8.5/10

Between her time in The Gathering, her many, many guest spots and collaborations, and her own solo work, Anneke van Giersbergen has built up quite an impressive selection of material. In fact, it’s been 25 years since she began this journey, and so decided to celebrate it with two special shows with Residentie Orkest The Hague to perform some orchestral-only tracks that span her extensive career.

The thing that speaks the most volume is the fact that this is an actual collaboration between van Giersbergen and the orchestra. It’s not an ‘Anneke and friends’ type of release, with the orchestra being nearly as important a player here, with re-imagined and astonishingly beautiful renditions of some of her strongest work, be it in more recent years (VUUR) or some bona fide classics (The Gathering). The symphony provides the music with a gentle and warm touch, something that provides an excellent outlet for van Giersbergen’s vocals out front and center. Instead of being mere ‘stripped down’ versions, they provide an equally enjoyable take on the material, pushing it into new directions and emotions. Whether it’s a glorious and bombastic approach with thunderous upbeat energy (“Freedom”) or a gentle and touching rendition (“Two Souls”), the combination of the orchestra and van Giersbergen is enigmatic. The production is so solid that outside of the clapping and cheering, you might even forget this was a live recording to begin with.

Fans looking for a unique way to celebrate Anneke van Giersbergen’s 25 years in music simply can’t go wrong with Symphonized. It gives her material a new perspective for the longtime admirer, as well as giving potential new ones a long back-catalog of hits to check out in their original forms. An engaging performance that fans inside and outside the metal scene should be able to cherish.

Anneke van Giersbergen on Facebook