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Anathema - Weather Systems CD (album) cover




Experimental/Post Metal

4.02 | 856 ratings

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Prog Metal Team
2 stars Only 2 years since its predecessor, 'Weather Systems' finds Anathema again in the light-atmospheric pop mode of 'We're Here Becaus We're Here'. Only this time they fell off the wrong side of that delicate balance between gentle melodic calmness and syrupy dullness.

The album is neatly divided in two halves, a first half containing some of the most mellow cheese that you are likely to find in my music collection, with each song an identical twin of the previous one, consisting of lame melodies that are endlessly repeated were it not for the formulaic swelling of 'intensity' (volume) near the end of each song. Pathetic, this is third rate Coldplay plagiarism dressed up with all post-rock cliches that have been in vogue over the last decade. Cavanagh's whiny vocals are a challenging listen already, but a big portion of the vocal duties have been granted to female vocalist Lee Douglas, who's been with the band since forever but who had never been allowed to contribute such poor and so much vocals yet. Of course; having to work with such cheap melodies can serve as an excuse for her performance somewhat.

Then, 25 minutes into the album the band finally produces something that calls for more attentive listening. The first half of 'The Storm Before The Calm' surprises with some upbeat electro-rock that reminds me of Pure Reason Revolution. The second half of the song has little to do with the first part and returns to the cringe pop of the first half hour. Some more relief follows with 'The Beginning at the End', which is an acceptable pop ballad. Halfway in we get the expected rise of volume and pathos. 'The Lost Child' is my favorite bit of the album, very minimal and with a nice warm mellow vibe. At least for the first 4 minutes after which the song should have ended, but they deemed it necessary to insert another ridiculous crescendos to spoil the momentum. Anyway, after being overexposed to the mediocrity of most of the material anything is a relief. The album ends with the 9 minutes 'Internal Landscapes', a stunning example of the total lack of creativity that has befallen on this band. Can it get more formulaic then this?

I didn't expect much and I'm still disappointed. With an almost surgical precision, Anathema have stripped their style of everything that made them so authentic and unique in their first decade. What's left is sterile emo pop, packed in a sterile post-rock guise. Even the boring new-age artwork is better then the most of music. Luckily there's 'The Lost Child' that saves this album from total disaster. Still, this is the kind of fake-emotic muzak that depresses me.

Bonnek | 2/5 |


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