THE GATHERING - "SUPERHEAT" (CENTURY MEDIA)
To say that The Gathering's latest studio release, "How to Measure a Planet", was a letdown would strike the nail squarely, triangularly and even rhombododecaederally on the head. No focus, no balls, basically no nothing.
Then why the heck did I get myself coaxed into buying "Superheat", the live album that largely consists of songs from that very latest album?
For starters, The Gathering are quite a bit heavier on stage than they are in the studio. I read a review where it said that the tracks from "How to Measure..." had heavier performances on here. Also, and this is what finally got me to get the album, blindly even, the album contained four songs from their excellent "Mandylion" and "Nighttime Birds" songs. Coaxed I was.
The songs from their latest studio album are indeed heavier than the originals, though not so much. Unfortunately, none of the tracks that to me qualified as "any good" on that album have been picked for this live set. Too bad. That is made up, most of it anyway, by the four earlier tracks. They sound good, well-sung, pretty heavy, and are just good. Excellent, even.
The climax of the album, however, is the CD ROM bonus track. Usually, with other bands, these are tracks that you play once or, if you're feeling particularly up to it, twice. Not so with this one. What we have here is a 7+ minute video performance of "Eléanor" taken from a professionally shot video made during the "Nighttime Birds" tour. Yes, my friends, before the band turned too soft, before the lovely Anneke cut a lot of her hair and turned crusty. In fact, what we have here is a very well shot video of a very good song showing Anneke at her loveliest, and that includes all the bits that either make people hate her or love her: the hopping, the coy glances, the smiles, and her banging that lovely long dark red hair of hers. Yes, indeed, the very qualities in her that made me fall head over heels in love with her every time I saw her during either the "Mandylion" or "Nighttime Birds" tours. I will definitely be slipping this CD in the CD ROM player more than once....70+ Mb of pure joy, flowery thoughts entering my head, a swooning feeling of bliss gnawing at my guts... Very, very nice.
(and that's not just because of the CD ROM bonus track)
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Written February 2000
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