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Anneke Van Giersbergen - "Drive" (CD)

Anneke Van Giersbergen - "Drive" CD cover image

"Drive" track listing:

1. We Live On
2. Treat Me Like A Lady
3. She
4. Drive
5. My Mother Said
6. Forgive Me
7. You Will Never Change
8. Mental Jungle
9. Shooting For The Stars
10. The Best Is Yet To Come

Reviewed by on May 13, 2014

"This is the lighter side of Anneke and shouldn't be missed by those who are already fans of her previous work."

One of the most visible of metal's sweethearts in recent years, Dutch singer Anneke Van Giersbergen has been expanding her horizons over the last decade to cover more ground in music. Formerly the lead singer of The Gathering, Anneke's quest for musical fulfillment has taken her to Within Temptation, Anathema, Devin Townsend, and further to Arjen Lucassen. More recently, she has also begun sailing the seas of a solo career, striking treasure with her first album, “Everything Is Changing,” in 2012. Like the raging sea herself, Anneke's creative fever led her to churn onward to 2013's “Drive.”

Admittedly more rock than metal, “Drive” sees Anneke's syrup-smooth voice paired with her capable live band and Arno Krabman's pop-conscious songwriting and production contributions. The type of person who cannot enjoy hooks, big choruses, and compact songs with all clean singing should immediately ditch this release, lest it gets them thinking, "oh god, this makes me feel GOOD about myself." This is the lighter side of Anneke and shouldn't be missed by those who are already fans of her previous work.

Her trademark vibrato is at its fullest, assisted by luscious delay and reverb for a stadium-size sound, especially on lead track "We Live On" and "Shooting For The Stars." "She" quickens its pace for its chorus, showing the elevating emotion within the lyrics. "The Best Is Yet To Come" and "You Will Never Change" both sizzle and turn into stomping hyper-rock anthems dripping with passion. "Mental Jungle" brings in Turkish vocalist Hayko Cepkin's ethnic tenor for a dramatic duet reminiscent of the music of Myrath and Orphaned Land at times.

Throughout the album, Anneke's lyrics revolve around struggles, affirmations, and intimacy, hinting at a large emotional lexicon. Thankfully, the album manages to be concise at 38 minutes while still retaining considerable depth, especially in the warm and mature centerpiece, "My Mother Said." With “Drive,” Anneke says to the world, "I've got no brakes, I'm flying, never losing control, moving at the speed of light... Because I am in control and I will never stop." You can believe it: She's more pop-conscious than Tarja, with less outright sex in her voice than Delain's Charlotte Wessels and as sweet as strawberries, making her a vocalist like no other in rock.

Highs: Her blend of rock legitimacy and pop-consciousness paired with her stadium-sized voice.

Lows: The pop rock vibe may be overbearing for fans of her metal-based work.

Bottom line: A different taste of girl power: intense, sweet, and hyper-rocking.

Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls
3.5 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)