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THE GATHERING - Mandylion cover
4.17 | 38 ratings | 4 reviews
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Album · 1995


1. Strange Machines (6:04)
2. Eléanor (6:41)
3. In Motion #1 (6:56)
4. Leaves (6:01)
5. Fear the Sea (5:49)
6. Mandylion (5:01)
7. Sand and Mercury (9:57)
8. In Motion #2 (6:07)

Total Time: 52:39

Bonus disc: Demos
1. In Motion #1 (7:27)
2. Mandylion (4:41)
3. Solar Glider (instrumental) (4:35)
4. Eléanor (6:38)
5. In Motion #2 (7:18)
6. Third Chance (5:53)
7. Fear the Sea (6:29)

Total Time: 43:04


- Anneke van Giersbergen / Vocals
- René Rutten / Guitars, flute
- Jelmer Wiersma / Guitar
- Frank Boeijen / Synthesizer
- Hugo Prinsen Geerligs / Bass
- Hans Rutten / Drums

About this release

Label: Century Media Records
Release Date: August 22, 1995

2 CD version released by Century Media in 2005. It consists of demo recordings and the music video for "Leaves".

Thanks to Stooge, adg211288 for the updates


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Specialists/collaborators reviews

"Mandylion" is the 3rd full-length studio album by Dutch doom/goth metal act The Gathering. The album was released through Century Media Records in August 1995. There´s been a very important change in the lineup since the release of The Gathering´s second full-length studio album "Almost A Dance (1993)" as male lead vocalist Niels Duffhues has been replaced by female lead vocalist Anneke van Giersbergen. This would have a major impact on the band´s future sound and consequently also on their popularity. The addition of Anneke van Giersbergen to the lineup meant that The Gathering suddenly sounded very original for the time. You won´t find many doom/death metal releases from 1995 featuring a female lead vocalist. For the most part female vocals were used for effect by the band´s contemporaries, and only in short sections or on specific tracks on an album. So instead of being reduced to a footnote in the history of the early nineties doom/death metal scene, forever being overshadowed by acts such as Paradise Lost and My Dying Bride, The Gathering branched out and tried something different. And they succeeded.

The instrumental part of the music on "Mandylion" has changed quite a bit since "Almost A Dance (1993)" too and has become much more accessible, memorable and melodic. Anneke van Giersbergen´s distinct, powerful and emotional vocal style brings a much needed improvement to the sound of the The Gathering. She is arguably one of the most unique sounding female vocalists in metal. The music is heavy and doomy at times but always with melodic vocal lines and dominant melodic keyboards courtesy of the very skilled keyboard player Frank Boeijen. The song structures are fairly simple for the most part, but the band almost always have a little section or detail up their sleeve to spice things up.

The sound production is grand and suits the music well, the musicianship are on a high level, and the songwriting is memorable, so all in all "Mandylion" is a quality release. The first part of the album with tracks like "Strange Machines", "Eléanor" and "In Motion #1", is especially strong, while the last part of the album is slightly less interesting, but still entertaining. Overall a 3.5 - 4 star (75%) rating isn´t all wrong.
Now, this is gothic metal I can get behind. On the one hand you have the vocals of Anneke van Giersbergen, whose approach on this album is quite reminiscent of Julianne Regan's work in the great All About Eve, and on the other hand, you have a musical backing which often attains the same sort of wistful atmosphere as All About Eve - but through chunky, doomy riffs instead of hippified goth rock.

Put them together, and you create an intriguing blend which steers away from straight-ahead doom metal by virtue of its alternative rock and goth rock influences. As far as gothic metal goes, Mandylion is the first album I ever heard which really succeeded at fusing what I enjoy about goth rock - the brooding romanticism and emotional rawness - with a metal approach which supports and nurtures those factors. Great stuff.
Time Signature
In motion...

Genre: doom metal

I think the music on this album is no less than beautiful. Of course, a lot of this has to do with Anneke Van Giersbergen's amazing vocals, but the music itself, while simple, is very emotionally loaded and expresses a type of unique melancholy and desperation. Part of this is achieved through semi-slow tempos and doomy guitar riffs combined with melodies and synthesizer effect - and of course the vocals. If anything, "Mandylion" shows that music does not have to be complex to be a pleasure to listen to (I guess U2's older records show that same thing).

Highlight tracks for me are "Strange Machines", "Eleanor" and the title track, but there is really something special about all the tracks on this melodic doom metal classic.

I think the album will appeal mostly to fans of doom metal and gothic metal, but perhaps fans of melodic rock and alternative rock might like it too.
Mandylion is an album that has been a true and trusty companion from the moment it was released. I often return to it, not only because it moves me every time, but also because it serves as a touchstone that can be used to test many styles of rock music against.

Let’s start with the vocals, the most obvious asset of this Dutch doom metal outfit. For me, Anneke Van Giersbergen vocals are the most expressive, commanding and beautiful vocals ever to grace a rock music. On later albums she would become more versatile but here she is in full epic glory. Yet she sings so gracefully and spontaneous, never straining her voice, never overdoing it. She’s pure emotion and melody. Her vocals are the benchmark for any vocalist attempting this style.

The playing skills of the rest of the band are often criticized. Obviously they do not attempt anything that demands advanced studies in musical proficiency, but that is not the issue I’d say. The point these guys are making here is how their instruments can be applied to maximize the perfection of the songs.

Don’t get me wrong. Most of the music I listen to has a high musical complexity, but for me the emphasis on serving musicianship here gives a refreshing view that will filter out all self-important bragging from my CD collection. Not only that. It also works in the opposite direction. Not much ‘easy’ rock music works for me, so whoever wants to impress me with basic chord progressions will have Mandylion’s standard to live up to.

The Gathering surpassed this album with their later and more diverse album If Then Else from 2000. But this one will be most appealing to (doom) metal-heads.

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