The Gathering – Disclosure (Psychonaut Records)

Tuesday, 26th March 2013
Rating: 9/10

When Anneke Van Giersbergen left The Gathering in 2007, fans were unsure what would happen to the band. Would they crumble without the voice and presence that had come to define them or would they rise to the occasion and blow everyone away? With the introduction of Silge Wergeland and 2009’sThe West Pole, the answer was…neither, really. Continuing along the ethereal and progressive path that had marked their releases for the decade preceding it, it was a very strong album that featured vocals that were in large part a direct continuation. This isn’t to slight Silge in any way as her voice is nothing short of spectacular and a core component of the sound on Disclosure, a release seeing the band continuing its serpentine navigation of trippy and fragile waters, ever expanding on this tremendous and ephemeral sound they’ve come to embody.

From almost the outset of “Paper Waves” the warm and enveloping voice of Silge is absolutely everywhere, washing over every aspect of the album that isn’t an extended jam, and she fucking kills it! At times retaining pieces of the trip-hop sound that came to define the later stages of the Giersbergen era of the band, the remainder of the time (the majority here) sees the band striking out into songs that are open and expansive. Monster cuts “Meltdown” and “Heroes for Ghosts” each feature a variety of interlocking movements and lengthy instrumental sections where the atmosphere blankets everything and soaks up everything non-beautiful in the world, leaving only warm light and sound.

It’s not all super expansive though as the longer songs are balanced with smaller, often more tightly packed (mostly, only “Missing Seasons” doesn’t encroach upon or surpass the 5-minute mark) numbers. The two part “Gemini” glides and glides, the haunting Silge a gorgeous spectre at the head of the eternally glistening sound. “Paralyzed” draws deepends on the intangible and exists on the razor’s edge of a whisper, ready to collapse at the slightest touch or recognition. On Disclosure the band is alive and well and pushing all kinds of gorgeous limits, only getting better with age. Stunning throughout.

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