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A Review of the Album If Then Else by Dutch Metal Band The Gathering

Ara is a journalism graduate from California State University, Northridge, who is always looking to explore his writing opportunities.

The Beautiful Anneke Van Giersbergen


The Song That Drew Me Towards This Album

The Gathering may as well be one of Holland’s best cultural exports and their 2000 studio album called If_Then_Else (that’s the regular spelling of the album but for the purposes of making it simpler we will use the words If Then Else for the rest of this album review. The song that drew me to this album was the song called Shot to Pieces.

What Is the Song Shot to Pieces About?

The song is trying to say that the world would be such a beautiful place if it was not shot to pieces. There is much beauty in this world as well as the chaos, war, and violence in other locations.


If Then Else is a Wonderful, Relaxing Album to Listen to

It may not be totally accurate to call this band alternative metal unless we listen to their 2009 album called The West Pole. I have to admit that for a long time, The Gathering and their music was too weird for me to handle, so the band’s music was an acquired taste for me. For those of you that tire of the really heavy music that is so common in the metal genre, If Then Else is a wonderful alternative to listen to if you want to slow down, take the load off of your shoulders and DE-stress after a long day at work for example. The same is actually accurate to say about “The West Pole” which would be released after the departure of Anneke from this band.

"Shot to Pieces"

Analysis of the First Six Songs of If Then Else

Rollercoaster is the song that begins this album and the tone is a heavy Gothic rock influenced one. “Amity” has this sort of weird sound as the instruments are playing. The song is basically alluding to the fact that this human existence is often associated with torture and suffering. The beginning of this 2000 studio album If Then Else might feel like an alternative metal album to some fans but it can also be thought of as being the border line between alternative metal and heavy metal. ”Bad Movie Scene” is a song that might as well be considered a ballad type song in the beginning until it gets heavy with the electric guitars. The song is about the fact that it may be empty words if someone says that life will go on in a minute. Sometimes it feels like life has hit a standstill and time has stopped. We come upon the first instrumental song of this album called Beautiful War and there’s probably not much to say about this one here.

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The Significance of the Song "Analog Park"

“Analog Park” is a song that is trying to tell us that the mind is both a beautiful and a strange thing. Can the mind actually cause us to see things that are not in front of us? Yes it can and that’s what can make the human mind interesting yet scary at the same time.

All of The Gathering Albums With Anneke Van Giersbergen on Lead Vocals

Year ReleasedAlbum Title 





Nighttime Birds



How to Measure a Planet?



If Then Else





The Significance of Anneke Van Giersbergen's Impact on The Gathering

Anneke Van Giersbergen does not have a powerful voice compared to other female metal vocalists but her voice is relaxing, soothing, and gentle. She made “The Gathering” a better band for sure!

Final Thoughts About the Album If Then Else

I also hear some musical part that would later influence the band Flowing Tears in the song called Saturnine. The song is about a woman that feels like she has been screwed over and been left with too much baggage to handle because her boyfriend left her. She wonders what caused her boyfriend to make such a bad decision. After the first full listen through the album If Then Else, it can be said that this is not the best album from this Dutch metal band but it is one that is good enough to listen to for those of you that want to listen to an album with soothing vocals. If Then Else is a good rock/metal album with such good songs as the catchy atmospheric rock song Shot to Pieces. Saturnine is also a notable song that is good as well.

© 2019 Ara Vahanian

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