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Anneke Van Giersbergen: Lays her soulbare with the most evocative record of her career…..

Anneke Van Giersbergen - The Darkest Skies Are The Brightest

The Darkest Skies Are The Brightest will be released February 26th, 2021 and is Anneke Van Giersbergen’s 23rd career album. Lyrically, and musically, the award-winning Dutch artist lays her soul . She offersbare with the most evocative record of her career captivating song-stories told with acoustic guitars, strings, horns, percussion, and Anneke Van Giersbergen’s hypnotic vocal harmonies.

The 11-track record has all the intimacy of Anneke Van Giersbergen serenading an audience of one, combined with surprising departures into swampier, foot-stomping grooves. It proves, once again, that  the singer and songwriter defies being pigeonholed by any genre.

The new album’s title as mentioned above The Darkest Skies Are The Brightest and refers to the idea that, when facing personal challenges, we are forced to find answers to life’s biggest questions. But, at this point in her near-three-decade-long music career, this solo album – and, crucially, the heartbreak that inspired it –was not something Anneke Van Giersbergen ever anticipated writing.

In 2018, Anneke Van Ginersbergen 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. Therefore, a rapid follow-up album would surely establish Anneke Van Giersbergen’s return to fronting a metal band. However, behind the scenes, these were troubled times. Anneke Van Giersbergen shares, «CMy belief in VUUR saw me spend all my savings on recording VUUR’s debut albumand taking the band on the road. After completing our first touring cycle, I realized that more VUUR would mean yet more, huge financial risks».

To make matters worse, in 2018, her long-lasting marriage, which had always been wonderful, unexpectedly saw a storm approaching. Anneke Van Giersbergen adds, «I instantly knew I needed to write music about fixing my life. This creative endeavor would be far too personal for a VUUR album. And it would also require solitude».

With just her acoustic guitar and basic recording gear, Anneke Van Giersbergen retreated to a small house near the woods, just outside her hometown of Eindhoven. She let go of the pressures of what VUUR’s future might be, and fell into the meditative process of writing a solo album. In 2019, work continued on the new songs. In 2020, Anneke Van Giersbergen asked her friend and producer, Gijs Coolen, to help finish the album.

The Japanese art of kintsugi has inspired Anneke Van Giersbergen to use a repaired heart as the album’s symbol. Kintsugi teaches that bringing together the pieces of a broken object – with the use of a precious metal – adds value and uniqueness to it. And, instead of giving up on their marriage, Anneke Van Giersbergen and her husband decided to take the time to mend their bond. They now cherish the repaired heartbreak as something profoundly valuable.

Their journey through this personal storm, and the album that Anneke Van Giersbergen created in the eye of it, proves that the darkest skies truly are the brightest.

After thirteen years as the front woman for melancholic metallers, The Gathering, Anneke Van Giersbergen struck out on her own in 2007. Since then, her creativity has known no bounds. Anneke Van Giersbergen quickly solidified a successful solo career (initially under the moniker Agua De Annique, and has recorded and performed with Canadian metal genius Devin Townsend multiple times. She has also lent her serene yet powerful voice to the likes of: Anathema, Icelandic folk group Árstíðir, Within Temptation, Ayreon mastermind Arjen Lucassen, Amorphis, and prog legend John Wetton.

2012’s Everything Is Changing was something of a milestone in Anneke Van Giersbergen’s solo career. The album, which was the first to be released under her own name, received two Edison Award nominations – Holland’s most prestigious music prize – in the categories Best Female Artist and Best Album.

In 2015, Anneke Van Giersbergen and Arjen Lucassen (Ayreon) released their collaborative album The Diary under the name The Gentle Storm. In October 2017, Anneke Van Giersbergen’s progressive metal outfit VUUR released their much-anticipated debut album. In This Moment We Are Free – Cities entered the Dutch Album Top 100 at number 2, Anneke Van Giersbergen’s highest-ever chart position.

Forever the unpredictable artist, in late 2018, Anneke Van Giersbergen released Symphonized, an 11-track live orchestral album. It was recorded at two career-spanning concerts alongside Residentie Orkest The Hague, and features rearrangements of songs from her entire back catalogue.

2019 saw Dutch music copyright organisation Buma Cultuur honor Anneke Van Giersbergen with the Buma ROCKS! Export Award. This is their award for the Most Successful Dutch Artist Abroad in Heavy Music. In 2021, the release of her new solo album The Darkest Skies Are The Brightest will see Anneke Van Giersbergen surprise her fans all over again.

Track list:

The Darkest Skies AreThe Brightest (41:46)

01. Agape (04:09)

02. Hurricane (03:57)

03. My Promise (04:27)

04. I Saw A Car (03:38)

05. The Soul Knows (03:52)

06. The End (04:19)

07. Keep It Simple (03:56)

08. Lo And Behold (02:50)

09. Losing You (03:40)

10. Survive (03:46)

11. Love You Like I Love You (03:12)

Selected Discography:

Anneke solo albums:

Air (2007)

In Your Room (2009)

Everything Is Changing (2012)

Drive (2013)

Symphonized (2018)

The Darkest Skies Are The Brightest (2021)

with VUUR:

In This Moment We Are Free – Cities (2017)

with Gentle Storm:

The Diary (2015)

with The Gathering:

Mandylion (1995)

Nighttime Birds (1997)

How To Measure A Planet? (1998)

If_then_else (2000)

Souvenirs (2003)

Home (2006)

with Danny Cavanagh:

In Parallel (2009)

With Ayreon:

Into The Electric Castle (1998)

01011001 (2008)

With Devin Townsend Project:

Addicted (2009)

Epicloud (2012)

Sky Blue (2014)

Transcendence (2016)

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Om Ulf Backstrøm (6687 Artikler)
Mitt hovedfokus er musikk som er basert på progressiv tenking. Jeg er på ingen måte ensporet innen musikksmak, i likhet med intensjonen bak prog. Sjangerbegrepet er egentlig temmelig uinteressant annet enn til å gi en pekepinn om hva slags musikk det er snakk om i en anmeldelse. Jeg søker god musikk for å utfordre meg som lytter. God musikk til å trigge mine musikalske smaksløker, og til å sette i gang mine refleksjoner. Da er sjansen stor for at jeg utvikler meg og lærer, noe som bør være drivstoff for et hvert menneske. Fordi det å lære og utvikle seg er noe som tilfører livet en nødvendig porsjon "krydder". Slikt krydderet finner man blant annet i musikk. Ikke overraskende mener jeg at progressiv musikk har den fineste "smaken". På den annen side kan musikk med eller uten progressive elementer være godt nok til hverdags. Til fest derimot holder bare rendyrket prog! Må jo også få med at jeg rimelig kritisk, og jeg mener at det lages mye prog som er i beste fall uinteressant, og faktisk mye som er pinlig dårlig. Heldigvis oppveies dette av ekstremt dyktige aktører som for eksempel: Flower Kings, Mostly Autumn og White Willow, for å nevne noen tilfeldig valgte.
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