Album review: ANNEKE VAN GIERSBERGEN – Drive

Inside Out – Out Now

I have always been a strong supporter of the idea that the boundaries which separate the average musician from the real artist are strict and always clearly defined. Those who belong in the former category often restrict their artistic urges in the hope of commercial success and/or the ongoing acceptance and support from their loyal fans.

Others follow their musical vision, regardless of the consequences. Apart from being possibly the most influential singer of her generation, mainly through her work with the Dutch atmospheric metallers The Gathering, Anneke Van Giersbergen has also, in recent years, become the personification of artistic freedom and no album showcases this better than her ten-track offering “Drive”.

Pop and Rock have been equally prominent and influential on Anneke’s musical output throughout her career, but this interesting musical symbiosis acquires a brand new meaning in “Drive” – an album whose quality, variety and passion will surprise and shock the unsuspecting listener in equal terms.

As always, Anneke’s ethereal and emotionally-charged vocals are the focal point, but where this album’s real success lies is in blurring the line between Pop and Rock to such an extent that even the most hardened Rock fan might just be drawn towards a melodic interlude or a catchy chorus you might find on a Tori Amos album. Something for everybody then? That definitely is the case here, and it is all performed with both passion and gusto.

I am sure that most old-school fans will agree with me in saying how reminiscent the guitar harmonies in the opener “We Live On” are to those used by Progressive/Atmospheric metallers in the mid to late 90s and how amazing Anneke’s high register vocals still sound in  2013.

Far more commercial in its appeal and structure, “Treat Me Like A Lady” is a four minute Pop Rock anthem that features a highly addictive refrain while “She” is a simply-crafted melodic piece with a Rock edge. The second Pop anthem to truly impress me was “Drive” as I found its groovy bass lines and…dance beat(!) impossible to resist.

Having said that, it was the piano-led acoustic guitar ballad “My Mother Said”, with the possibly autobiographical lyrics, which truly stole my heart – one of the most heartfelt songs ever recorded by the Dutch singer.

The second part of the album portrays a similar approach to song-writing, with melodic little gems such as “Forgive Me” and “You Will Never Change” paving the way for the oriental-themed “Mental Jungle” – a three and a half minute composition whose main feature is an interplay between Anneke’s soulful vocals and those of a male singer.

More The Gathering influences can be found in the guitar harmonies of “Shooting For The Starts”, while the groovy drum beats of “The Best Is Yet To Come” conclude this album in celebratory and party-style fashion.

Pop is far from my chosen style of music, but there are a handful of Rock artists who can pull it off, in my opinion. Anneke Van Giersbergen is one such artist and “Drive” is the perfect example of how successful this unholy union can really become in the right hands.

With an average duration of three and a half minutes, these ten compositions will impress both with their immediacy and the quality of their melodies– all you have to do is stop any unnecessary preconceptions from clouding your judgement and what you will gain in return is a delightful musical ride.

John Stefanis

Rating: **** (4.0/5.0)

Interview (October 2013)

Josh Taerk’s latest Sunday Session was streamed on Sunday 17 July.

Check out previous videos here:

David Randall presents a weekly show on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio, Sundays at 22:00 GMT, repeated on Mondays and Fridays), when he invites listeners to ‘Assume The Position’. This show was first broadcast on 31 July 2022.

UK Blues Broadcaster of the Year (2020 and 2021 Finalist) Pete Feenstra presents his weekly Rock & Blues Show on Tuesday at 19:00 GMT as part of a five hour blues rock marathon “Tuesday is Bluesday at GRTR!”. The show is repeated on Wednesdays at 22:00, Fridays at 20:00). This show was first broadcast 2 August 2022.

How to Listen Live?

Click the programming image at the top of the page (top right of page if using desktop)

Listen via Windows Media Player. Click or tap here and “open file”
Listen via other media player (eg. VLC) Click or tap here and “open file”

Get Ready to ROCK! Radio is also in iTunes under Internet Radio/Classic Rock
Listen in via the Tunein app and search for “Get Ready to ROCK!” and save as favourite.

More information and links at our radio website where you can listen again to shows via the presenter pages:

Power Plays w/c 8 August 2022 (Mon-Fri)
BORN LOST Take Time (Mouthpiece) (Revolver Records)
JAIME KYLE Driving With The Brakes On (Conquest Music)
SCARLET DORN Born To Suffer (SPV Recordings)
HOLDING ABSENCE Coffin (Sharptone Records)
TYRANNOSAURUS NEBULOUS Get Some (Echoed Past Records)
KROOKED TONGUE When The Beaches Bleed (indie)
SKYPILOT Knifed On The Beach (The Distortion Project)

Featured Albums w/c 8 August (Mon-Fri)
09:00-12:00 LESSMAN VOSS Rock Is Our Religion (Atomic Fire Records)
12:00-13:00 H.E.A.T. Force Majeure (earMUSIC)
14:00-16:00 THE SLAMBOVIAN CIRCUS OF DREAMS A Very Unusual Head (indie)

Popular (last 30 days)

This entry was posted in ALBUM REVIEWS, ALBUM REVIEWS (Mobile), ALL POSTS, PURE METAL (All posts), Pure Metal/Album reviews and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply