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(60:01, Inside Out Music)
There has never been any doubt in my mind that Anneke is one of the most exciting singers around, and although many will point to her many years of fronting TheGathering as the main example, I would much rather point to the impact she had on Devin Townsend’s ‘The Retinal Circus’. When she is involved with Devin she transforms his material, so much so that when I saw him play with just his band a few years ago I was incredibly disappointed as it felt quite one-dimensional in comparison. In May 2018, Anneke (VUUR, Devin Townsend Project, TheGathering) performed two career-spanning concerts with orchestral arrangements together with Residentie Orkest The Hague, allowing her to perform some of her material in a manner which was quite different to one may expect. Of the eleven songs on offer it is perhaps surprising that only three are from the thirteen years she spent fronting The Gathering, but she has taken the opportunity to push herself in quite different ways. The most unexpected offering is that of Henry Purcell’s aria “When I am Laid In Earth” which features not only the orchestra but accompaniment from a harpsichord. Here Anneke shows she is not only a rock singer, but a professional trained soprano who can perform classical music with the best of them. Given that my mother was also a professional trained singer, it is an artform I have appreciated almost as long as I have been able to listen, and Anneke here carries it off with aplomb. Here is a singer who is at home fronting an orchestra, even performing classical arias, as she is with coping with the intense wall of sound which is the mania of Devin Townsend, and nothing phases her. My only real issue with the album is that it should have been a double CD, as I can’t believe this is a full set list and I would have loved to have heard a complete gig instead of just highlights. She hits the notes with ease, displaying control and power, with a confidence from knowing she will always shine no matter what the musical accompaniment. Yet another superb release from one of Holland’s very finest.
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