MENU
Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography
Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography
Anathema - The Optimist CD (album) cover

THE OPTIMIST

Anathema

 

Experimental/Post Metal

3.22 | 68 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

The Crow
Prog Reviewer
2 stars Why, Anathema? Why?

Distant Satellites was by no means a bad album. It had even truly brilliant moments. But its experimental parts were too vague and disoriented. And The Optimist is sadly a follow-up of all this. We can hear a band trying to retrieve the alternative feeling of A Fine Day to Exit without achieving that, offering a monotonous and repetitive collection of songs unworthy of a band with this status.

32.63N 117.14W is just a brief introduction to Leave it Behind, which starts with the typical Anathema guitar, which automatically bring to mind the most alternative records of the band like the aforementioned A Fine Day to Exit or A Natural Disaster, despite its horrible electronic rhythm at the beginning of the song. But the song it's too repetitive to be considered a brilliant track, and the instrumental interlude is just awful.

Endless Ways brings the much appreciated Lee's voice and the album automatically get better. In addition, the orchestral arrangements of the song are beautiful. Sadly this track is also too repetitive for my taste, but better than The Optimist nevertheless, which is a dull and absolutely not inspired song, despite its fine guitar melodies towards the end. Till this point the quality of the album is not good, but acceptable.

But then we find San Francisco... A piano melody which repeats itself during four minutes without any kind of progression or interest, apart from its U2-type guitars. What the hell is that? Are you trying to cheat us, guys? And Springfield is even worse, another swindle with absurd lyrics and repetitive melodies... Again. Because that's the main problem of this album. The melodies and compositions are Ok, but the repetition of the same melodies again and again in almost every song give an impression of vagrancy and lack of compositional work that deeply disappoints me coming from one of my favorite bands.

Luckily, Ghosts is the best track of The Optimist. Very beautiful orchestral arrangements (this album is pretty symphonic) and vocal melodies from Lee, who sings a rather brief text. That's another interesting point of the album... The lyrics are pretty short in words and ideas. I don't really know the goal of this very minimalistic approach in the lyrics, but that's also a disappointment coming from a band with wonders like One Last Goodbye.

Can't Let Go is more lively and more guitar-oriented. Vincent's voice sounds very contained, like in the whole album... And that's also a shame, because his voice was so incredible in the previous albums! Nevertheless, it's a good song. In opposite to Close Your Eyes, another boring and insipid moment with uninspired lyrics. Only the final part with wind instruments which reminds me to Van Der Graaf Generator deserves a mention.

Wildfires is one of the lowest points of the album. Depressing, repetitive and with horrible vocal effects. I really don't know how a track like that could make it into the final record. Even the typical increase of intensity in its final part is foreseeable and lame. But Anathema had mercy of us and they managed to put a decent song at the end of the CD named Back to Start, which contains good verses with a warm interpretation from Vincent and good piano melodies. The chorus is not so good and so is the final part, unnecessarily bombastic and pretentious. This could have been a good ending for a better album... But after the average or directly bad content of The Optimist, Back to Start is just utterly overblown.

Conclusion: The Optimist would be an average release for a novel band. But talking about Anathema, this record is their worst album, including their doom metal ones. A repetitive, uninspired and pretentious collection of songs with a worrying lack of ideas and direction. The attempt to retrieve the alternative rock of A Fine Day to Exit failed, and despite the orchestral arrangements the musicians don't shine like in other records of the band.

I really hope that they make it better in their next album, because after the just decent Distant Satellites and this mediocre The Optimist, I am really not so optimistic about the future of the band.

Best Tracks: Ghosts, Can't Let go, Back to Start.

My rating: **

The Crow | 2/5 |

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

Share this ANATHEMA review

Social review comments () BETA







Review related links

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: JazzMusicArchives.com — jazz music reviews and archives | MetalMusicArchives.com — metal music reviews and archives