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Anubis - A Tower Of Silence CD (album) cover





4.12 | 445 ratings

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5 stars I loved the first Anubis LP. It seemed to contain all those elements that I strive for, empassioned vocals, great song writing, striking cover art, and good, extended arrangements. For a debut it was solid and I wondered where they would go from there.

The last two tracks on that LP, 230503, were the ones that made sense of the previous 35 minutes. It was a sum of it's parts, but without the epic sweep of those songs, that album would have not been nearly as interesting. It seems Anubis knew this too. So they've made a whole album like that.

Instead of waiting 55 minutes to show some fiery prog credentials, they hit you from the off with the 17 minute 'The Passing Bell', a curious blend of Mellotron and Spaghetti western, into a grinding heavy riff with King Crimson like intensity, before dropping back for vocal harmonies and layered mellotron strings. The first five minutes are very good indeed. It then goes into an abrupt change into an off the wall almost European sounding Harpsichord passage before working its way into a full band section. It was a twist I wasn't expecting, and to be honest has taken me a few listens to quite get into. Now I think it's really effective. The second part is another big riff before a Genesis-esque chorus with big bass pedals and a gorgeous vocal (the biggest improvement over the last album is the lead singer who really nails it here), before a Marillion Out Of This World-esque synth wash with echoes of Richard Wright floating through. A delicate piano line takes us into the final section with torch song vocals and a blistering Gilmour/Rothery type lead that is devastatingly beautiful.

The theme of the intro returns in the coda before the segue into the second track (and lead off single in their native Australia) 'Archway Of Tears'. It's again a rhythmically quirky rocker with layered harmonies that has moments of Queen, Zeppelin and Mars Volta, combined with an Alan Holdsworth-esque solo. Nice. The following track is more like 'The Collapse' from their first album, only better. Great vocals, huge epic keyboards and a Wishbone Ash like dual from the guitarists at the end. What's not to like?

This seques through an ambient section into the haunting title track, which features the hallmarks of mid 1970's Genesis without aping them. The piano playing is sympathetic and the vocalist comes into his own. The harmonies are sublime and the flute just strengthens the Genesis connection. The whole piece then falls into an Entangled/Ripples type feel before the stunning guitar solo that culminates in an orchestrated guitar choir. It's a collosal sound. 'Weeping Willow' (why does all of this sound so English?) again features the acoustic guitars with the band all singing choral vocals . It's supremely effective coming where it does, and allows a juxtaposition for the rockier 'And I Wait for My World to End' (such uplifting titles!) which again succeeds in capturing the essence of their earlier sound, only better done. The chorus is memorable and the harmonies are subtle but well done.

The musical high is the following track, the 12 minute 'The Holy Innocent' which is perhaps the best thing on either record I've heard. All the elements of classic symphonic prog is here, the drama, the musicality, the fragility and the bombast. It's a tour-de-force thats capped off with a stunning saxophone solo that tugs at every heartstring. You'd have to be built like a brick dunny*(nod to Australians) not to be moved by it.

The final track, 'All That Is...' is another big epic piece that begins feeling a bit like something from off side one of 'The Lamb' before settling back into a Brave-era Marillion outro. The band did the old Floyd trick of adding some female voices to sweeten up the choir effect at the end that leaves one in goosebumps, ready to listen again.

Make no mistake, I am not easy to please. This album, if heard by enough people, has the hallmarks of being a recognised classic. It's ultimately more convincing than it's still-excellent predecessor and it seems these chaps are staying around and making very convincing Symphonic Prog that runs rings around many other albums that are coming out. They sound familiar enough that you can be taken by them, but different enough and contemporary enough that there is still a youthful vigour about them. I think I've found my No. 1 LP of 2011 right here. Unless someone does something really remarkable.

A truly excellent modern symphonic progressive rock album.

theinvisibleman | 5/5 |


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