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Anathema - Weather Systems CD (album) cover

WEATHER SYSTEMS

Anathema

 

Experimental/Post Metal

4.03 | 949 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Thai Divone
5 stars Some bands one discovers by purpose, going through listings of great albums, looking and asking for recommendations. Others one discovers by accident, a strange set of circumstances, the stars turning right, something like that. Anathema's Weather Systems was such an album for me. And unlike many other accidental "discoveries", this one is no less than a masterpiece.

A few years earlier, it turns out, Anathema were a Prog-Metal band, and then they decided that they wanna change their style. Weather Systems came after the change and finds them stronger than ever (or at least, that's what they say. I don't know their earlier stuff too much, mainly because I'm not that much into the Metal-realm).

Their music is based on repetitive riffs. We are presented with a riff in the beginning of the song, and then they build upon it and/or detract from it. Some will say that it's too monotonous, but for me it is just beautiful. One thing that can't be taken from them, though, is their ability to write melodies. Weather Systems is a Master Class in melody-writing, utilizing their talent but with no need to show off. They know what they're doing.

Their lyric writing, on the other hand, is far less impressive. Their lyrics are simple and very emotional, but they're a bit too na´ve for my taste sometimes. The great voices of the singers keep those words alive and touching.

The album opens with a great fingerstyle-guitar riff, joined by a nice walking bass. Vocals join not much later, and the song starts to get a life of its own. Layers are slowly added, building the feel and atmosphere of the album, an album one has to listen to from start to finish, in a single sitting. The song builds itself, climaxing near the 3 minutes' mark. Some nice heavy rock influences during those moments. "Untouchable, Part 1" concludes on a very high emotional level, starting our spiral towards the distance, foreshadowing the storm that begins to show and come.

"Untouchable, Part 2" starts with a great piano riff, in a much slower pace. The hubris is a bit broken, feelings start to abound. Near the 1:40 the song starts to change a little, and layers are again starting to be added, creating the song as it is being played. Slide guitar joins and not much later the drums and bass show their presence. Very melancholic, very winter- y. the second part references it's earlier part quite a lot during the next moments, before concluding, leaving us with a heavy dose of emptiness.

The Gathering of the Clouds starts with storm, both literally and figuratively. Fingerstyle guitar for the riff, a very quick pace throughout. The singers harmonize each other, showcasing their great singing abilities. And it all leads to? A lightning. Which is much slower quite surprisingly, even though no less atmospheric. The contrast between this song and the earlier one creates a small dissonance in the mind, making us think, making us feel the coldness and coolness of the situation. Around the 3:13 mark the suspense pays off, with a great guitar solo accompanied by a great drums work. The bass line in here is no less than amazing. So many layers in this song, and yet it feels so elegant and right. 4:30 and we're back in the beginning of the song, the lightning is behind us.

And then a sunlight comes out, and we feel a little bit better. A slow pace, with much Hammond work and a nice little fingerstyle guitar accompanies a lone voice, joined sometimes by another. Suspense is starting to be created, though, and a steady drum bit grows louder and louder as the time and the song move onward. Electric guitars show presence around 2:40, only to accelerate the building, to culminate around 3:11 to the song twists and turns, and then stops almost abruptly, continuing almost whispery for a second or so more.

Then a storm comes, a storm that comes before the calm. A bass line that is just pure genius accompanies a great bass- drum line, before all hell breaks loose and it just gets colder and colder. Melancholic, emotional and a maybe even depressing. In most albums, this song will feel a bit out of place, but here it feels so right somehow. A completely different style of a song, and yet so fits. Some nice electronics around the 2:45 mark, heard over a storm made of a drum and a bass. A wind blows around the 4 minutes mark, and then we're slowing towards the 5 minutes mark, only to see the damages, to understand what we have lost. A completely different song emerges, so different yet the same one. A new world, maybe?

The Beginning and the End is my favorite track in this wonderful album. A great keyboards riff on which the song slowly builds itself, layer after layer joining the mix. A little bit before the 2 minutes mark the electrics join in, and the singer asks for help because "the silence is raging" inside him and all around him and everywhere in between. A nice guitar solo comes afterwards, and the drums and bass almost but not quite attack our ears, doing it just in the right level. Another, yet different, guitar solo, and then a beautiful keyboards riff joins, softly and gently guiding us away and onwards towards our next stop, towards our future.

Then comes The Lost Child. A slow, moving song, starting in the low volumes and slowly grows fuller and richer, even though not louder in the common sense. A great keyboards line takes us next, before the vocals join in. it starts to slowly accelerate around the 1:30 mark, before slowing again around the 3:10. Then the pace starts to build again, leading to an explosion on the 5 minutes mark. And yet the basic riff is still there, keeping us somewhat still in control, holding the song back a little. Around 5:55 we slow again, going softer and lighter, even though not happier.

Then we go within, into the Internal Landscapes. A few spoken words guide us next, leading us towards our last station on our journey. Guitars join the Hammond around the 1:40 mark, and then: "I was peace, I was love". We've completed a circle, we were born again. We feel again, we love again. Now it is said clearly- this is a spiritual album, this is a search for identity. Drums and guitars join forces, 4:10 and electrics are back. Guitar and singer harmonize around the 6 minutes mark, and then, around 6:30- silence. The spoken words come again, and again we hear those words: "I was peace, I was love". And then- a lone Hammond takes us to the end, leaving us to think?

And then it ends.

2012 was a busy year for prog-heads and yet, for me, this album is the real treat of that year. Maybe it is because I read into it a bit too much, and maybe it is because my taste changes as the years go by, but? I can't grant this album any less than five stars. Even though it doesn't bring anything new to the table, it is, for me, an essential album, and almost no-less important: another great rebuttal to the statement that "Prog is dead". Well, it's not, it's only a little bit harder to find?

Thai Divone | 5/5 |

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