The West Pole is certainly a step away from the style of Home and is perhaps a look back to the melodic goth that was more evident in earlier albums. However, this isn’t just a walk through safe territory, this represents the start of a whole new, and if anything crisper, sounding era.
The trademark power arrives amid the characteristic textures of light and colour in an album brimming with atmosphere and purpose. This whole kick start opens out with the instrumental “When Trust Becomes Sound”. If anything, it adds to the tension surrounding the arrival of the new vocalist as the band cleverly keep us waiting.
Any fears are brushed aside when “Treasure” finally kicks in. It acts as a positive statement and sets the scene nicely for the rest of the album. “All We Are” leads easily towards the lusciously melodic six and half minute atmospheric triumph that is the title track. It is at this point that you realise that, like most of their albums, this one is sure to further divide opinion.
Silje’s often delicately soft vocals are perfectly suited for tracks such as “No Bird Calls”, and the smooth as silk, yet slow burning, “Capital Of Nowhere”. “You Promised Me A Symphony” and “Pale Traces” take us even deeper into the hauntingly melancholic. The album ends with the drive of “No One Spoke”, and the impressive “Constant Run”.
You never know which version of the band is going to appear on their albums. Suffice it to say that, once again, this latest manifestation will delight some whilst leaving others scratching their heads and checking the cover to make sure they have actually bought an album by The Gathering.
Let’s face it, any attempts by Silje to sound like Anneke would have met with a few raised eyebrows. Instead she asserts her own impressive presence and character alongside that of the revitalized band.
The title of the album, The West Pole, says it all. It’s yet another direction for The Gathering.