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Anathema - Alternative 4 CD (album) cover




Experimental/Post Metal

4.05 | 614 ratings

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4 stars I must admit, I have something of a soft spot for Anathema, having seen them once in concert supporting porcupine tree, as well as seeing Danny Cavannagh performing a live acoustic set, and each time being blown away by their performances. So, this review is, perhaps, to be taken with a pinch of salt, in the knowledge that I may be a little biased.

Clearly, however, the fact that they perform so well playing live is a testament to the musicianship and energy of the band; these guys can play. They have, in their history, undergone a fairly stark transformation: from their doom metal origins, tied in with bands suck as My Dying Bride, to their current signature sound almost a cross between Katatonia and Porcupine Tree. This album falls a little after the tipping point of that transformation, and, as such, is full of beautiful melody. Nonetheless, it still, at moments, rumbles with all the heaviness of a steam train falling into an abyss.

For me, the highlight of this album is the numerous piano interludes that add texture and variety to the album, without dragging on so long so as to seem the core sonic theme. This is, manifestly, an album for rockers and metalheads; albeit a varied, beautiful, and thought- provoking one. The lyrics are pure poetry (a standard for this band), with words that drip with an aching sorrow and an isolated sense of loss and isolation.

For those listeners that are already fans of this bands work, it is noticeable that the tracks are not, perhaps, as memorable as some of their more recent works; one is left more emotionally affected than particularly with individual songs burned into the conscious. There is little here that could be described as catchy, or exactly sing-along friendly -though this was never intended to be the case. Devoid of all-time classics it may be, but this album is a moving, beautiful and attention-holding listening experience.

3.5/5 (rounded up to 4)

stranded_starfish | 4/5 |


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