It sounds so easy: You only have to go to your local record store, grab this album, pay some bucks and then you’re ready to go on a trip, you’ll never forget! But actually, it’s way harder. This trip is really not easy to go; it acts best with your headphones on and your mind should be free for some truly unconventional music. Then you can start to dive into this journey, a journey, which leads you though various landscapes, over hills and down the streets, it drags you left and right, shakes your body and soul, it confuses you so much because there are only a few of that wonderfully, indescribable moments at first and you will ask: “Where will this journey ends???”.
Okay, before I will answer this question, let’s soberly see what this piece of music has to offer. “Home” is the new album of Holland’s premier Trip Rockers THE GATHERING and it’s the follow-up to 2003s masterpiece “Souvenirs”, an album, which cemented the band’s unique psychedelic sound. In between, they released a half-acoustic album and their first official DVD, so fans of the band were always well-provided. But now it was time for some new stuff and surprisingly, “Home” is not so far away from “Souvenirs” as I thought at first. The band itself claimed that “Souvenirs” was too overproduced and the guitars will be again more in the foreground on “Home” and it’s supposed to be a very accessible work. Well, maybe “Home” is a bit more spontaneous and less electronic and there are surely some great, dirty guitars in it but it’s anything but accessible! Honestly, “Souvenirs” had some tracks, which hooked me instantly and made it easier to get into the album, but in my opinion, “Home” has not that kind of catchy hits (though many regard “Waking Hour” as one) and it really took some time for me to dive into the parallel worlds of THE GATHERING. Another reason for this is the strong conceptual character of “Home”, it’s a very coherent album and MUST be listened as a whole. Great art! Another difference to “Souvenirs” is the return to a record label (Sanctuary) but don’t be afraid, THE GATHERING still belong to one of the most individual and incomparable bands of this world.
So, what’s now with the music? Okay, once you are into this album, there’s no way out! Fans of the band should take at least four weeks of vacation or even longer because this album makes so addicted! Their newer groovier side is better than ever before (“Shortest Day”, “In Between”), some rockier notes like in “A Noise Severe” are totally refreshing, with “Forgotten”, they have created again a fantastic song in the tradition of tracks like “Amity” or “Shrink”, consisting mainly of piano and vocals and “Solace” is probably the most outstanding song when you listen to “Home” at first because it has a cool stomping rhythm and there are several multilingual voice samples to hear. Surely not everyone’s taste but listen to it carefully: The actual vocals are catchier than you think at first! But generally, “Home” has a decent dark and gloomy vibe. THE GATHERING made always melancholic music but this one seems to be really, really dark (just listen to the desperate vocals in “A Noise Severe”). But there are still a plenty of wonderful and hopeful moments like in the spicy “Your Troubles Are Over” or in one of the most interesting songs of this album, the title track with its out of this world chorus or when the second chorus of “Box” fades in or… I could go on and describe every single note of this album because every song has its own character but that would take too long. So, if you are at the slightest interested in moody, dreamy, trippy, out of this world atmospheric music… BUY THIS ALBUM!!!
And now, here’s the answer to the question above: You want to know where this journey ends? Just in paradise!!! (Online April 14, 2006)