Though Holland’s the Gathering are mostly known for the lushly recorded goth metal of albums like 1995’s MANDYLION, the latest version of the two-disc DOWNFALL: THE EARLY YEARS reminds fans of the band’s rugged beginnings. Recorded long before definitive vocalist Anneke van Giersbergen’s arrival, the songs on DOWNFALL feature the Celtic Frost-like guttural growls of Bart Smits. Songs like the title track and “Subzero” still show traces of the symphonic grandeur of later Gathering material, but traffic in rougher guitars and pummeling drums. Culled mostly from pre-1993 demos, the music’s sound is more immediate, but no less powerful.
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AllMusic Review by Tom Forget