Lucky for me, the cousins forgot two albums they had just bought on our kitchen table. "Always" by The Gathering and "The Knowing" by Novembers Doom. Of course I gave them a spin in my room which was covered in sad poems and wall posters of handsome couples and general teenage angst. Of course I quickly copied them to a CD-R before giving them back, because what I had just heard was pure magic.
It must have been more than five years ago that I listened to "The Knowing" but every note, every word, every rhythm switch, every hit on the drums laid fresh in my memory to be sung, hummed or whistled along. This album has such an intensity. It could have been my age when I first discovered it; it's scientifically proven that you'll always prefer the music that you listened to when you were an adolescent. It could have been the concept of the album. It could have been the excellence of the musicians or my love of the genre.
But I blame it on a particular memory. Who can say that they've given their favourite band a place to stay for the night? I can. Paul and his missus had to book a hotel room because of his bad back, but Serge and I drove the entire band to Antwerp after the first time I saw them live in Vosselaar. We chatted about the album and music and other stuff, it's quite vague but the happiness I felt was extremely seldom in those dark days when I owned that record store and Serge co-owned a place for acoustic gigs like Novembers Doom was going to do the next day. I don't remember much from that gig either, but that's okay. I learned from one of the band members that "The Knowing" is not about lovesickness but about a guy who receives the gift of immortality. Knowing that, the lyrics make a lot more sense, but that's okay. This album will always remain the best catharsis within reach for me. I just wanted to share that with you and I hope you also have an album that you can consider a very old and close friend.