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Anathema - Serenades CD (album) cover




Experimental/Post Metal

2.34 | 199 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

2 stars Anathema's first album is, unmistakeably, a doom metal offering. It growls and groans and thunders and crunches and thunders its unstoppably behemothic way through pain and misery, as any such album should. That's not to say, of course, that this is some uninventively meat-headed metal stereotype. There is enough thought and variation here for one to consider this an intelligently crafted release that does at least make some sense to include on this site.

There is, however, a problem. In stark contrast to the band's subsequent works, this release is a comparatively unmoving emotional non-experience. It may ebb and flow with cerebrally pleasing variety and may posses an identifiable personality within the slightly stale subgenre of doom metal, but it does little or nothing to touch the heart or soul. Sure, the musical emphasis is different here to their later works, but a good doom metal release should, as the name suggests, move one to contemplate their own doom, the futility of their existence, and generally create an army of nihilists for fans. Contemporaries My Dying Bride are an example of a band that managed this rather well.

The one exception to this is the 23 minute ambient closing track. Even here, however, the composition is somewhat subpar, as the music really seems to continue for its own sake, rather than with any true purpose. All too often, it becomes mere background noise.

It's also not a hugely memorable release either. Nothing here particularly sticks in the mind; certainly, you aren't likely to find yourself absent-mindedly singing or humming any of the tracks on here in the shower. Perhaps, though, that is excusable, given the genre.

It's not a total write-off of an album. Musically it is a solid release, and does display at least some of the talent of the Cavanagh brothers. But it is a far cry from the band Anathema would grow to be.

1.5/5, rounded up to 2

stranded_starfish | 2/5 |


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