Van Giersbergen, Anneke - The Darkest Skies Are The Brightest

Kev Rowland, Van Giersbergen, Anneke - The Darkest Skies Are The Brightest

There are few female singers who have so much confidence in their own ability that they will happily collaborate with Floor Jansen, but Anneke has been at the very top of her field for a great many years now and here she is back with her 23rd album. I first came across her more than 20 years ago when she was fronting The Gathering, and since her departure in 2007 she has been much in demand for projects with the likes of Arjen Lucassen, while there is no doubt that whenever she performs with Devin Townsend, she totally transforms his performance. In 2018, Anneke began working on new material for her metal band, Vuur. Although their debut album, 'In This Moment We Are Free - Cities', was met with a mixed reception, fans were warming up to their heavy, progressive sound and it was expected that a quick follow-up would establish them in the market. However, Anneke had financed the debut album and consequent tour herself, which meant that another album would be taking on more risk, and at the same time it appeared that her marriage was collapsing.

She decided to get away from it all, rented a small house, and concentrated on writing and recording a solo album which was going to be incredibly personal and allow her a way of working through what was going on in her life. At the end of the process, Anneke and her husband now feel they are stronger than ever, and musically the result is something I never really to hear from her. This is an acoustic record, with Anneke being joined by additional musicians, but each song is very different, all brought together by the wonderful vocals. I have loved her pure voice for more than 20 years, and often she is fronting something incredibly heavy or complex, cutting through the maelstrom, yet here she is working with lightness. The highlight is the emotional “Losing You”, with harp and harmony vocals combining with percussion and Anneke singing directly, yet with passion and care. Contrast that to “Survive” which is far more upbeat, and one can hear how this could be transformed with electric guitars and turned into a metallic monster.

There is a great deal of variety on the album, showing that one does not need amplification and brashness to create dynamics, and that wonderful vocals and great songs will always stand out, whatever the accompaniment. I view this album as a detour on the journey she has been taking, and it is unlikely she will continue down this route but is something she needed to do and is one I have thoroughly enjoyed. Will her next album be with Vuur, or a new project altogether, or another album like one, or a collaboration? Only time will tell, but this is a glorious album and one to which I will often be returning.

MLWZ album na 15-lecie