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Anathema - The Crestfallen CD (album) cover

THE CRESTFALLEN

Anathema

 

Experimental/Post Metal

2.21 | 45 ratings

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Prog Sothoth
3 stars Have you ever been in an exceptionally good mood and thought "I'm tired of this, I want to feel utterly miserable?" Not me, but if I ever do, I'll definitely keep this album in mind. It is often stated that sad songs possess a means of making bummed out folks feel better through understanding, shared grief and sympathy. This album as a whole doesn't set out to do that. It ruins moods and stomps on any sense of positivity. I'm feeling crestfallen already.

That album cover is something else. Looking like a deranged unkempt Mila Kunis spending her life in some dreary village, the young woman's gaze wanders between depression and loathing of a strangely predatory nature. It would have been a great image for an album cover by The Smiths if Morrissey had no sense of humor whatsoever to go along with the unhinged moping. The music is quite dreary as well, but those expecting something akin to their more recent output wouldn't even recognize the band. This mini album is oppressively heavy with minor bleak melodies interspersed with monolithic doom metal riffs. The vocals are persistent death growls with some monotone spoken word passages adding variety to these dirges. The lyrics are written rather elegantly, in stark contrast to the delivery. Monsters have sad feelings too.

The first two tracks actually do a great job capturing a thick muddy atmosphere that's dismal and shambling yet never becoming tiresome to my ears. They actually entertain with some great slabs of mean riffs, particularly towards the end of "...And I Lust". "Everwake" is the album's big surprise. Stuck right at the center of this thing, it's like some ethereal oasis with sweet melodies and angelic female vocals. It's produced quite well too, in that it could have been included in any of their much later albums without any head-scratching. The last two tracks bring back the pain in droves, and they actually do drag on a bit too long for my tastes, although I must admit that "They Die" is clever in how the song seems to be ending on numerous occasions, but suddenly keeps on stomping away at the mind and soul of the listener. It's rather cool actually.

So, in retrospect, maybe this wouldn't be the right thing to play if I wish to feel terrible for some odd reason thanks to my enjoyment of aspects concerning this release. Granted, my tolerance for these sort of vocalizations are probably higher than the average prog fan, and this music has little to do with Anathema's current sound (which I love), but I can get behind something like this if I want to make someone else feel miserable by playing it loudly in their presence. That can actually be fun.

Prog Sothoth | 3/5 |

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