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How to Measure a Planet?
The Gathering
How to Measure a Planet?
Genres: Rock, Metal
  •  Track Listings (9) - Disc #1
  •  Track Listings (5) - Disc #2

1999 and fifth album in 10 years from influential Dutch metal outfit featuring the breathtaking vocals of Anneke VanGiersbergen. 14 tracks. Their swirling sound will also appeal to fans of Pink Floyd, Cocteau Twins and Mas...  more »


CD Details

All Artists: The Gathering
Title: How to Measure a Planet?
Members Wishing: 2
Total Copies: 0
Label: EMI/Century Media
Release Date: 7/17/2006
Album Type: Import
Genres: Rock, Metal
Styles: Progressive, Progressive Metal, Death Metal
Number of Discs: 2
SwapaCD Credits: 2
UPCs: 727701796826, 4006408554004, 5051099726826, 7277017726817, 7277017726824


Album Description
1999 and fifth album in 10 years from influential Dutch metal outfit featuring the breathtaking vocals of Anneke VanGiersbergen. 14 tracks. Their swirling sound will also appeal to fans of Pink Floyd, Cocteau Twins and Massive Attack! 1999 Century Media release.

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CD Reviews

A measure of change.
Lord Chimp | Monkey World | 07/04/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)

"There's a lot of divisiveness found in the reviews for this CD. A lot of reviewers offering a low score dislike the album for its lack of heaviness -- its dissimilarity to Mandylion and Nighttime Birds. The only response I can offer is that it's too bad they think this way. Bands change, except for maybe Stratovarius and AC/DC. And The Gathering has changed, stepping away from the doomy metal of Mandylion and Nighttime Birds and embracing an ethereal pop/rock approach. Haunting emotions, powerful atmospheres, and gorgeous keyboard orchestrations characterize How To Measure A Planet?. Personally, I think The Gathering embraces this new style beautifully: sparse guitars and drums, often mysterious keyboard folds, and the lambent, distinctive voice of Anneke van Giersbergen. When you put it all together, it really seems that there's nothing the band isn't capable of.There is a morose determination in How to Measure a Planet?, evidenced immediately with the sad "Frail", which is borderline dream pop -- haunting chords selections, auspicious atmosphere, seductive production work, and bare vocals. There are traces of Nighttime Birds, but the sharp edges are polished and rounded. Even "Liberty Bell", the hardest track on the 100+ minute album, fits perfectly with its shimmering feedback and reliance on sonic texture. Other songs like "Rescue Me" or "Travel", combine edgy bursts of noise with the production's dolorous glow. On "Red Is A Slow Color", van Giersbergen's vocals are sweet and light with an accompaniment of jittery drums and dramatic keyboards. Other songs are sonically assaultive -- for instance, the dense electronics and percussion of "Probably Built in the Fifties" -- but never really "heavy" in the sense of Mandylion and Nighttime Birds.Alternating between fascinating and bizarre (perhaps intentional in both regards) is the 30-minute title track, an schizophrenic instrumental of ear candy and chaos. Beginning with busy odd-time drum beats and, mounting guitar textures, it deconstructs into walls of sound with some familiar melodies lingering in the background. It's very strange, but I enjoy it -- not necessarily as a song, but as an audio experience. In the dark with headphones, it's a powerful track of music/sound.I've been slow collecting The Gathering's CDs. Finally, I can compare and contrast Manylion through If_Then_Else, and I think How to Measure a Planet? is perhaps the most challenging of the bunch. An excellent album for those willing to follow the band down their new path."
How to Measure up to Nighttime Birds?
Mike | Bloomingdale, NJ | 12/08/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This album is actually the six bajillionth album by our friends The Gathering, but it is the third one that is graced with the unmatched crystalline beauty of Anneke Van Giersbergen's voice. I spoke with her at a concert in New York, she is a very smart and down-to-earth woman. Much like Anneke herself, the music on HTMAP is smart. Soft, subtle grandeur can be found in wistful tales such as "Frail" and "My Electricity" with their smooth drifting guitars and Anneke's awesome voice sailing and soaring through the sound waves. Most of the songs on HTMAP reflect despair. Wistful gems like "Red is a Slow Colour" and the instrumental and wonderfully titled "South American Ghost Ride" bring the listener near to tears. Haunting melodies and a gorgeous trachea breathe sadness and darkness into these tunes. One fault that this album possesses is that many of the songs are slower. They are all wonderful, but listening to the album straight through can bore the listener. The CD is picked up off the floor by the high aural intensity of "Liberty Bell" and the masterpiece of the album, "Great Ocean Road." I took to the song "Great Ocean Road" because it is most reminiscent of NIGHTTIME BIRDS, their best album to date. The album is made up of two discs of material, every single song a treasure except for the what-the-hell-were-they-thinking 33 minute-long title track which closes out the album. Much of the song is not singing or music at all, but speaking. This, however, does not overshadow the brilliance of the other fine tunes. I give this album the top rating and my highest recommendations. I also urge listeners to seek out the other two (Anneke included) The Gathering CDs: NIGHTTIME BIRDS and MANDYLION. The Gathering is probably one of the greatest bands to grace my CD player."
And the air - we all dare, to ride it somehow...
Sugarplumeferry | Pittsburgh | 04/14/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I am quite simply out of words to describe this. It's simply one of those albums that requires a few good listens, not just words to justify buying it. But I'll try my best to get to the point.

The Gathering really outdid theirselves with this 1998 release, their fifth studio album, and third with singer Anneke van Giersbergen (who contributed to Ayreon's Into the Electric Castle that same year). Not even their 2000 follow-up, If_Then_Else could compare. With this masterpiece, they took the sound they had, stretched it out a bit, used a more layered style of songwriting, and experimented with their instruments to make each piece stand out. The concept behind this 2-disc journey encompasses the theme of travel. Meaning we get songs about roads, maps, planets, planes and voyages through space.

Lyrically, the Gathering are at their peak, crafting atmospheric stanzas to create a relaxing mood. This album is a tad more uptempo than previous works, but the results are more than satisfying. Anneke sounds at her best, listen to her calm, low singing on "Frail", or her psychedelic wailing (if you can call it that) on the catchy-as-hell "Liberty Bell". The guitars sound great, and complement each song (especially the slower ones) quite well. Bass is not lost throughout production, and the drumming fits perfectly. One of the things I respect about the Gathering is that, although they are a symphonic band, they never let the keyboards dominate the music like so many others have.

Disc 1 kicks off with the appropriate opener, "Frail (You Might As Well Be Me)", a slow-tempo, moody track that can easily define the songwriting of HtMaP?. Next is the more relaxed-sounding "Great Ocean Road", a personal favorite - Anneke sounds so beautiful on this one ("It is all there - the earth and the ocean - they contain the power of our lives"). She even plays backing guitars on two songs, "My Electricity" and "Locked Away". The former is a comfortable ballad, a song that will stick with you from the moment you hear it and never wear out. The single "Liberty Bell" - damn! Another song to be imprinted in your memory for all eternity. I can never seem to forget the lyric "we are sitting in a chair" - this song refers to a rocket ride into space. "Marooned" is absolutely hypnotizing, and "Travel" does a good job of closing Disc 1. This is by far my favorite of the 2 discs, no weak tracks.

Opening disc 2 is the instrumental "South American Ghost Ride", which I don't listen to all that much but is still good. Then comes "Illuminating", by far my favorite track off of both discs. Again, Anneke really shines on this one ("I will feel great without my weight holding me down"). "Probably Built in the Fifties" is my 2nd favorite ("I trust the speed until I have no need to run anymore"). Definitely not to be overlooked. The only track that isn't all to interesting is the closing instrumental self-titled track. Anneke does some wailing on this, but there are no lyrics. It drags on for a half hour but most of it is filler. It doesn't really ruin anything though. I hear they had originally planned to scrap this disc, but I am most certainly glad they did not.

What more is there to say? How to Measure a Planet is one of the best records I own, it is my favorite album of the Gathering and probably the 2nd or 3rd favorite of my entire CD shelf. A definite must for those seeking a musical journey.