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Anathema - Hindsight CD (album) cover

HINDSIGHT

Anathema

 

Experimental/Post Metal

3.94 | 130 ratings

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Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer
4 stars 'Hindsight' - Anathema (8/10)

Let's face it, when a band even mentions the possibility of an 'unplugged' album nowadays, it is almost instantly met with groans and jeers, as were it a bad joke. Truth be told, alot of the bands that do decide to give their tracks an acoustic do-over generally fail at getting their songs to go that extra mile, thinking their fans will be perfectly content to pay again for simplistic versions of music they are already familiar with. Every so often nevertheless, a band will take the idea of an acoustic album seriously, and really put the heart and added touches it needs to float as a work of its own. Such is the case of Anathema and their own 'unplugged' album 'Hindsight'; a series of acoustic renditions of some of their greatest songs. While some songs here feels as if they could have done with a bit more added onto them in this new version, there's no doubt for me that 'Hindsight' has inadvertently become one of my favourite Anathema albums, and in many ways a clear example of how an acoustic album is done right.

With classic tracks like 'One Last Goodbye', 'Fragile Dreams', 'Inner Silence', and 'Temporary Peace' gracing this release, the band seems to run through many of my favourite songs the band has done over their later, more mellow albums. As pieces of songwriting, these are all fantastic as they were on the original albums, but are often improved even further through the acoustic rendition. The changes can be fairly subtle (as with 'A Natural Disaster', which retains most of its original sound) to very noticeably different, like 'Are You There', which sheds its choral atmospherics from the original in favour for some beautifully warm guitar work. 'Inner Silence' also sees some great improvements through a more mellow run-through, including a beautiful added vocal section that makes the original sound lacking in my ears now. What robs this album of being truly essential is the fact that not all of the songs are so successful in being changed. While the music is fantastic throughout, 'Hindsight's success rests on it sounding different from existing versions, and a handful of tracks here do not necessarily change much.

While the emotional impact of Anathema's music has always been profound to me, 'Hindsight' features some of the warmest, most vulnerable and moving performances I have heard from this band ever. Without having to worry about any heaviness or needless atmospherics, they can focus on some of the most soulful instrumentation in their arsenal, and bring it to life. With the jaw-dropping success of many of these tracks however, I am left somewhat wishing that the few that don't necessarily excel could have been made to shine.

Conor Fynes | 4/5 |

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