ALBUM REVIEW: Anneke van Giersbergen – Symphonized

So, Anneke van Giersbergen started her vocal career twenty-five minutes ago, who’d have thought it? She is one of the hardest working vocalists that anyone has ever had the pleasure of experiencing. She is well known for fronting Dutch melodic metal band THE GATHERING. After this thirteen-year feat, she decided to strike out on her own. Her solo career consists of album releases that have received high praise from fans and critics. Let’s not forget her iconic collaborations with the likes of DEVIN TOWNSEND and WITHIN TEMPTATION.

To celebrate her twenty-five years on the stage, she is due to release a special record. In May 2018, Annekeperformed two distinct concerts with orchestral arrangements together with Residentie Orkest The Hague. These concerts took place in Dutch venues 013, Tilburg and Paard, The Hague. Those concerts will be available for all to listen and experience as she is set to release Symphonized, an eleven-track live album. It takes material from across her career and the record gives us stunning renditions of these tracks. These include works from VUURTHE GENTLE STORM and THE GATHERING as well as her solo material.

From first impressions of the album, you can hear van Giersbergen’s talent, charisma and honey sweet vocal work instantly. The stunning orchestral arrangements backing her beautiful vocals create a fusion of passion and wonder. The first opening notes of her solo song Feel Alive are enough to entice you in. The rest of the album offers up an eclectic selection of material that will provide a treat for long time fans and new listeners.

Your Glorious Light Will Shine – Helsinki has already been released as a single. This song was originally from VUUR’s debut album. Within the track the intensity from the original is captured perfectly by the orchestra. This mind-blowing rendition will have you mesmerised and will ensure you are not listening to anything else.

That wasn’t the only tracks that the orchestral elements were able to capture the original aspects of the song. Her solo song You Will Never Change is an uplifting and empowering track. The same feelings are given off in this rendition on a much grander scale.

Forgotten is a beautiful ballad from van Giersbergen’s days in THE GATHERING and this rendition with the orchestral elements is simply stunning. Both these and her vocals fuse together incredibly well to create this rendition. This is a track that helps you to stop and appreciate the beauty that is bestowed within the song.

The album ends on a majestic note with a stately rendition Shores Of India. If anyone has heard the original version by THE GENTLE STORM, they will know that this track is explosive and bold. Especially when it comes to the guitar work. The orchestral arrangements capture these aspects excellently. Along with van Giersbergen’s vocals, it makes for a fantastic listening. One can imagine what it was like to experience this beautiful rendition live in concert.

Symphonized is a spectacular treat for the ears. Not just for metalheads but for all music lovers alike. It is the perfect celebration of one of the most talented vocalists and her remarkable career. It’s highly recommended.

Rating: 9/10

Symphonized is out now via InsideOut Music.

Like Anneke van Giersbergen on Facebook.

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