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NETHERLANDS, Nijmegen

Date Formed 1989

Categories: Alternative Rock, Gothic Rock

Biography

THE GATHERING have evolved from their 1989 Death Metal inception to more eclectic and diverse influences upon each successive release. THE GATHERING, bolstered by the striking looks of Van Giersbergen, have established themselves as a major force on the European Rock scene and despite veering off into their own territory musically still hold legions of Rock fans as loyal supporters.

The band, hailing from the town of Oss, took their name from the 'Highlander' movie and cut their teeth performing covers by such artists as CELTIC FROST, POSSESSED and CARNIVORE. THE GATHERING's first impact came with the 1990 rehearsal demo session 'An Imaginary Symphony' in 1990. The original membership of the band featured vocalist Bart Smits, guitarist Jelmer Wiersma, bassist Hugo Prinsen Geerligs and keyboard player Frank Boeijen were added to the line-up prior to recording of the 1991 demo 'Moonlight Archer'.

THE GATHERING toured Holland as support to DEATH and MORBID ANGEL before signing to the Foundation 2000 label. Following the release of debut album 'Always' in 1992, Smits quit, founding WISH, to be replaced by two vocalists Martine Van Loon and Niels Duffhues. The former would divide her duties with another Dutch Gothic inclined act ORPHANAGE, a spirit of comradeship existing between the two bands as THE GATHERING keyboard player Frank Boeijen sessioned on ORPHANAGE's 'Druid' demo.

Both Van Loon and Duffhues departed after the second album 'Almost A Dance', Van Loon going on to front LORDS OF THE STONE, and THE GATHERING added Anneke Van Giersbergen for 'Mandylion'. Co- production on 'Mandylion' was credited to GRIP INC. guitarist Waldemar Sorychta. This album saw the band adventurously breaking away from the Gothic Doom fare of previous works. Their bravery in ditching heaviness in favour of varied sound textures worked in the band's favour as album and concert ticket sales rose sharply.

As a diversion Anneke Von Giersbergen featured as a guest vocalist for German 'Country' Metal band THE FARMER BOYS cover version of DEPECHE MODE's 'Never Let Me Down Again' during 1996. The band formed part of the billing for the December 'Dark Winter Nights' touring festival alongside DEPRESSIVE AGE, LACRIMOSA, SENTENCED and DREAMS OF SANITY. The 1997 'Nighttime Birds' album saw THE GATHERING opening up to Progressive elements and the act would find themselves listed as Holland's top Rock draw.

Ambitiously the group stretched their fans loyalty to the limit with the sprawling double album 'How To Measure A Planet?'. European headline shows in April of 1998 had THE GATHERING topping a bill over label mates LACUNA COIL and SIEGMEN. The experiment proved a resounding success and led in turn to the band's inaugural North American dates, including an appearance at the 1999 Milwaukee Metal Fest. Momentum was maintained with the 'Superheat' live album.

The bands early roots were explored on the 2001 retrospective release 'Downfall, The Early Years'. As well as archive material the album included rare live tracks from an early concert

THE GATHERING would apparently part ways with Century Media in early 2002 to set up their own Psychonaut imprint, also announcing future collaborations with ULVER's Trickster G. However, subsequent announcements from their record label revealed the band was still under contract. A projected album, with a provisional title of 'Black Light District' was set to include guest contributions from Denis 'Piggy' D'Amour of esteemed Canadian avant-garde Thrashers VOIVOD.

Festival appearances for THE GATHERING in August included Belgium's 'Eurorock', the Budapest 'Sziget' event, 'M'Era Luna' and 'Summer Breeze' both in Germany, the Greek 'Stagazer' show and 'Long Live Rock n' Roll' in Moscow. Eagerly anticipated new material would be delivered the previous month in the form of the 'Black Light District' single. Clocking in at an epic sixteen minutes long the track featured guest backing vocals from Sarah Jezebel Diva, known for her work with CRADLE OF FILTH. A new full length studio album entitled 'Souvenirs' would be slated for February 2003. Extensive European touring, commencing in mid March, found Norway's PALE FOREST as support on all dates.

Female bassist Marjolein Kooijman superseded Hugo Prinsen Geerligs in October. THE GATHERING then set a January 2004 release for a sem-acoustic live album 'Sleepy Buildings'. This outing would be promoted by Mecican and Chilean shows in February, performing two sets, one electric and one semi acoustic, before a run of North American headline gigs in league with Portland, Oregon's AGALLOCH and Chicago Doomsters NOVEMBERS DOOM folowed up by Dutch shows throughout March. The German leg of the tour saw FLOWING TEARS as support.

THE GATHERING extended their international reach on opposite ends of the earth. Over 3,000 Chilean fans witnessed the group's two concerts at Teatro Providencia in Santiago whilst the 'Liberty Bell' single, backed by daily rotation on Chile's MTV channel, broke into the national single top twenrty chart. The group would also debut in Russia, performing their inaugural gig on 29th May at the Moscow DK Gorbunova venue. To coincide, the Russian label Irond Records combined the 'Black Light District' and 'Monsters' EPs into a single album package.

As concert dates, including a projected North American tour, began being pulled, Anneke van Giersbergen explained in early August the cancellations by announcing that she was three months pregnant with her first child. Anneke gave birth to a healthy 7.5 lb son named Finn on 20th February 2005. Century Media issued the double CD retrospective 'Accessories - Rarities And B-Sides', including deleted singles track and previously unreleased demos, in August.

In November THE GATHERING congregated in a new, home-built studio to record their 9th album, the facility having been constructed inside an old church in the town of Maurik. Atti Bauw aided on the production front once again. The record would be issued under license by Sanctuary Records in Europe and The End Records in North America. THE GATHERING's 2006 tour schedule took shape with an announcement detailing March gigs in Mexico, Chile and Argentina and April concerts in Germany. However, the first few weeks of the European leg were cancelled when Anneke van Giersbergen was found to be suffering from an obstinate bronchial and sinus infection.

THE GATHERING marked their August appearances at the Sziget festival in Budapest, Hungary with a limited edition, split single shared with GREEN LIZARD. 5,000 copies of this single would be given away exclusively at the event.

Anneke van Giersbergen guested on the November 2006 WETTON / DOWNES album 'Rubicon', featuring on the tracks 'To Catch A Thief' and 'Tears Of Joy'.

THE GATHERING was honoured in two categories, 'Outstanding Achievement' and the 'Best Dutch Live Band', at the annual NightLiveXS Awards, held on Sunday, February 11th 2007 at Club Paradiso in Amsterdam. US concerts in May saw the group acting as special guests to LACUNA COIL.

The band was announced as participating in the 'Metal Female Voices Fest V' event on the 20th October in Wieze, Belgium but withdrew, issuing a statement relaying that "On various points, such as our position on the bill, we had too much disagreements with the Metal Female Voices Fest management".

In March 2009 THE GATHERING revealed they had recruited Silje Wergeland from the Norwegian band OCTAVIA SPERATI as its new lead vocalist. New recordings, produced by guitar player René Rutten and mixed and mastered by Zlaya Hadzich, also included two guest singers, Anne van den Hoogen and Mexican Marcela Bovio from STREAM OF PASSION. THE GATHERING's ninth studio album, 'The West Pole', emerged in April in Europe. Season Of Mist gave the album a US release on 2nd June.

THE GATHERING made its live debut with Silje Wergeland with a pair of shows in Holland, on 19th June at De Nieuwe Nor in Heerlen and 20th June at P3 in Purmerend.

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