The title of Dutch singer-songwriter Anneke van Giersbergen‘s latest offering is pretty apt. In the years since she left The Gathering, one of the pioneering gothic-metal-turned-alt-rock bands without whom there would be no Nightwish or any other so-called female fronted metal bands (probably), a lot has changed, and Anneke has certainly been keeping busy. She’s lent her heavenly voice to the likes of Moonspell, Anathema and Devin Townsend, as well as duetting with Sharon den Adel of Within Temptation live at their Black Symphony show (coincidentally, three of those bands mentioned are my favourites – how does she know?!). All this in addition to fronting her own band, formerly known as Agua de Annique, now just Anneke van Giersbergen.
‘Everything is Changing’ is Anneke‘s fifth solo album, and her third album of original material. A far cry from the days of “Mandylion” and dreadlocked hair, she now makes hooky, accessible guitar-driven rock with plenty of poppy synths, not to mention that voice. Honestly, I could go on forever about Anneke‘s voice (and since there’s no one here to stop me, that’s what I’m going to do). With that gorgeous warm tone and distinctive vibrato I’m convinced she could melt even the coldest of hearts. There’s no denying that metal is a man’s world, but just from talking to other metal fans I’ve discovered that Anneke is seemingly one of the few female singers to have gained the respect and admiration of her male peers for the right reasons, i.e. her incredible talent.
Musically, ‘Everything is Changing’ is upbeat and catchy, with plenty of riffs and big choruses. For all the years spent as the flame-haired angst-queen of The Gathering, Anneke‘s sunny personality always shines through, and the lyrical content of her solo efforts reflects this. It’s still melancholic and at times angry, but with a glimmer of hope and optimism. It feels a little like Anneke is still trying to find her niche on this album: ‘Feel Alive’ and ‘Take Me Home’ are infectious, seductive and danceable, while the title track is sleepy and introspective and the excellent ‘Too Late’ is groovy and heavy. The standout track on the album, however, has to be the delicately beautiful ballad ‘Circles’, which features a haunting piano and simplistic yet powerful lyrics.
Okay, I’ll admit it: Anneke can do no wrong in my eyes. This album is a must if you’re a fan of her solo stuff, and Gathering fans should definitely check it out as well, but if you’re unfamiliar with either than I would recommend you first listen to her album ‘Air’, under the Agua de Annique moniker, as it’s a overall bit darker and heavier than this. Luckily Anneke‘s cast her net so wide that you can still enjoy her in metal-mode on the superb Devin Townsend Project album ‘Addicted!’, as well as the upcoming ‘Epicloud’. Anathema fans can hear her singing with Danny Cavanagh on their acoustic live album ‘In Parallel’ and the Anathema album ‘Falling Deeper’, and if you’re as obsessed as I am, there are tons of videos online of her singing operatic arias and covers of songs by Lana Del Rey and Evanescence. Basically you’ve got no excuse not to totally love her. Okay okay, I’m done gushing now – I’ll get back to my YouTube surfing…