The Gathering If_Then_Else

Not wasting any time after the release of their live album, Superheat, earlier this year, the masters of moody and depressing music are back. "Metal" might be a stretch here, with the Gathering crawling further into the Pink Floyd-isms they've always done so well, particularly on the instrumental "Beautiful War" and the torturously sad sounding "Bad Movie Scene," both sounding like outtakes from The Wall. Although it never really gets "heavy," the more upbeat songs such as "Shot to Pieces" help to keep spirits up during the disc. While songs like "Amity" keep the razor close to the wrist, the band also touch on social issues, most apparent on "Colorado Incident" and "Morphia's Waltz," which is indeed rather touching. This is why the Gathering succeed where others fail: by writing intense music that touches on many different emotions and sounds very honest to boot. A classy and mature album that will appeal to many people, not just metal heads. (Century Media)