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Anathema - Distant Satellites CD (album) cover




Experimental/Post Metal

3.65 | 463 ratings

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Prog Leviathan
Prog Reviewer
3 stars Distant Satellites is another marvelous addition to Anathema's excellent library, although it repeats the winning formula that the group has used in the previous two albums. While it doesn't break new ground, it does succeed at creating a poignant and well-crafted experience.

The album opens in what now seems to be the band's distinctive sound: an sensitive, artistic, a driving melody that builds and builds to a rousing and cripplingly emotional climax. In this case, we begin at the end, as Cavanagh's lyrics tell the story of catharsis after meeting the spirit of a lost love. The response, by what I assume is the spirit, features singing by guest vocalist Lee Douglas, whose gorgeous voice will probably leave you in a puddle on the floor. This opening passage is Anathema playing it safe, but also playing to their strengths, and it leaves an impact

The songs that follow continue to float the listener on a sea of tidal emotions; rising and falling in equal measure as the two voices lament for their lost love. Many will find the lyrics somewhat trite and simple, but more will hear them as poetic and soulful, telling a story in a way that is ambiguous enough for the listener to project themselves into the emotions. This, I think, is one of the most powerful features of Anathema's songwriting; it creates feelings of empathy in the listener that hit harder than any other band in my library.

The band creates sounds that are lush a delicate, electric and modern. The instrumental moments peak on "Anathema", with an elegant but very powerful by guitarist Cavangh. For me, that standout songs are those which drift into the somewhat electronic and ambient; these songs aren't as epic as the rock tunes, but they change the tone and feel, contributing to variety on this otherwise pathos heavy album. Unfortunately, you probably won't remember much except for the melodies in "Lost Song".

Part of me is disappointed in Distant Satellites because it's so similar in theme, sound, and content to recent albums, but Anathema is so good at making this kind of music - which continues to have an effect on me - that I still enjoy the experience. If you know and like Anathema, you'll enjoy Distant Satellites, but it's not their best album by a long shot. In terms of production and performances it's faultless, but for me it's good but not essential because it accomplishes the same thing the band's other albums do, but not quite as well.

Songwriting: 3 - Instrumental Performances: 3 - Lyrics/Vocals: 4 - Style/Emotion/Replay: 4

Prog Leviathan | 3/5 |


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