Search this site:


Anneke van Giersbergen - The Darkest Skies Are The Brightest

Label: InsideOut Music
Format: Download
Released: 2021
Reviewed By: Jack Mangan
Rating: 8.5/10

Since the mid-90s, Anneke van Giersbergen has built a quietly incredible career on Metal’s fringes, from The Gathering, to VUUR, to numerous high-profile guest appearances, to her solo career. Her 2021 release, “The Darkest Skies Are The Brightest” - - the 23rd of her career - - brings yet a new dimension to her discography.


It’s a dark, edgy acoustic guitar-based Folk trip, featuring grooves, some low-key tritones, and Anneke’s masterful vocal abilities. As much as she channels contemporaries like Devin Townsend and Mikael Akerfeldt, she also echoes influences of Annie Lennox, Sting, Dave Matthews, acoustic Opeth, Sarah McLachlan, Enya, and maybe Tori Amos. There’s very little in the way of distorted guitars or bombastic guitar. Really, its only tie to Metal is Anneke herself. She’s never ever been a one-dimensional artist, and “The Darkest Skies Are The Brightest” is really just the latest expansion of her demesne.
Full honesty: I wasn’t sure about this record, at first. I definitely enjoyed it, but it took a second listen through for me to really catch on to the nuance and the textured subtleties at play. Some of the songs seem like deceptively simple parables. It’s not easy to pull off a valid grown-up song called “I Saw a Car,” and she nearly doesn’t - - but damn if this isn’t one of the songs that really works and lingers in the ears. Sometimes a stomp-clap rhythm and a beginner guitar single-note riff is all you need. Or sometimes, you need a talented veteran like Anneke van Giersbergen to pull this off.
In 2015, she released the song "Zo Lief," which is one of the most beautifully moving songs ever recorded - - no hyperbole. There's nothing quite THAT transcendant on "Darkest Skies," but that would an unfair expectation. But you hear reflections of that artist in some of the loveliest sections of "My Promise," "Losing You," and "Love You Like I Love You."
There are some amazingly beautiful transitions and melodies and moments throughout this album that have fully rewarded my aural investment. Take the time. Recognize the genius. Mellow down and enjoy.

© 2020 MetalAsylum.net