Band Photo: The Gathering (?)
From: Oss, Netherlands
Last Known Status: Active
It all began in 1989. Brothers Hans and René Rutten and Bart Smits got together with the intention of starting a band. Soon enough Hugo Prinsen Geerligs, Jelmer Wiersma and Frank Boeijen joined them… The Gathering was born.
In those days they rehearsed once a week, somewhere outside of the small Dutch city of Oss. Their love for metal music (though certainly not all metal) was the common denominator, but most band members liked other music as well. This, and their will to experiment rather than imitate, would prove a fertile musical basis. In 1990 they recorded the rehearsal tape An Imaginary Symphony, which was sent out to all kinds of magazines. At that time, using keyboards in metal-oriented music was rather unusual, but still, most reactions were positive. Their first gig followed in January of 1991, in a little town called Heesch, near Oss, opening for Deadhead and Invocator. In April 1991, the demo Moonlight Archer was recorded and picked up by several journalists. At the same time other people and bands started noticing The Gathering. Consequently, they were booked to open for bands like Samael, Morbid Angel and Death. The time was right to release an album.
After signing with Foundation 2000, Always… was released in 1992. On this album, Bart’s grunts were accompanied by the female vocals of Marike Groot, who also joined The Gathering on stage for most of the gigs. This gothic/doom album was very well received and earned them many more concerts, including a few in Belgium and Israel. Unfortunately, due to a shady contract, the band would never know how many copies of Always… were sold. On top of that, the band parted with Bart and Marike because they weren’t satisfied with the result and dark times were ahead...
In 1993 Almost a Dance was recorded, also on Foundation 2000. Though musically again a strong album, new vocalist Niels Duffhues and new female counterpart Martine van Loon turned out not to be the right choice for The Gathering. Both voices didn’t really fit the music. So it was key to find a new vocalist that fitted The Gathering’s music and personalities like a glove.
Though enthusiasm was low, anything was possible at that point. They had hit rock bottom and the only way was up. During auditions halfway through 1994, magic came in the form of Anneke van Giersbergen, whose angelic voice fitted the highly atmospheric music perfectly. It also clicked on a personal level and German label Century Media was willing to give the band a contract. The Gathering were back, better than ever before, and proved so with Mandylion (1995). The atmospheric album was highly successful, especially in The Netherlands, where the single “Strange Machines” ended up in the Dutch charts, as did the album. Extensive touring brought them to all corners of their home country, as well as to Belgium and Germany. Expectations were high for a new album.
Nighttime Birds (1997) came into existence, but not without an effort. Writing new songs in between touring (and studying!) wasn’t easy, and neither was recording it. Nevertheless, the album, which was musically quite close to Mandylion, turned out to be another success. Reactions were positive and subsequent touring even more intensive, taking the band to Eastern Europe, France, Italy and several other European countries.
At this time they started to long for something new. Jelmer even decided he didn’t want to tour and play guitar as much anymore, so he left the band in July 1998. The other members wanted to try out new ideas, other instruments and different recording techniques. The result was How To Measure A Planet?, a varied and experimental double-album. It was harder to promote and more difficult to understand for some die-hard metal fans. Still, positive reactions came from all over the world, including the United States, where they played 14 shows during the summer of 1999.
The Gathering were also fed up with the music industry, so they decided to take matters into their own hands and start their own label, Psychonaut Records. Always... was re-released on this label in 1999, followed by Almost a Dance in 2000, both re-mastered and fitted with new artwork. However, since their contract with Century Media hadn’t ended yet, their live album Superheat (2000) was released on this label. Most of the songs on this album are from How To Measure A Planet?, the others from Mandylion and Nighttime Birds and they were recorded in several Dutch venues during 1999.
Another successful chapter in The Gathering’s career followed with the release of if_then_else (2000). The album is filled with diverse, intense and emotional rock songs, more compact than its predecessor. Fifteen months of touring ensued, taking them to virtually every nook and cranny of Europe, with a little sidestep to Mexico, and ending with a small Dutch club tour in October 2001.
After this, the band members took a well-deserved break and attended to their private lives. However, there was no time to be lazy, they ended their contract with Century Media, The Gathering had to run their new born label Psychonaut Records and their 12½-year anniversary was coming up. To celebrate this with their dedicated fans, they released the mini-CD Black Light District on their own label. Writing the songs for this CD as well as for the forthcoming full-length that’s planned for early 2003, started in 2000. The band went through a rough time and this can be heard in the songs. The latter part of 2002 will be used for touring and finishing the upcoming album. That one too will be released through Psychonaut Records with a license deal at a major label.
So The Gathering are finally free to do what they want and do best: make beautiful atmospheric, experimental and emotional music.
Frank Boeijen - keyboards & programming (04/12/73)
Anneke van Giersbergen - vocals (08/03/73)
Hugo Prinsen Geerligs - bass (16/12/73)
Hans Rutten - drums & percussion (03/06/69)
René Rutten - guitars (02/07/72)