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Anathema - A Natural Disaster CD (album) cover

A NATURAL DISASTER

Anathema

 

Experimental/Post Metal

3.85 | 430 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

FragileKings
3 stars I am going to post two reviews today using a different approach from usual for me. I had listened to this album twice through and then selected songs a number of times for random shuffle, but when I thought about how to review A Natural Disaster, I found myself stumped. So I listened to the album on my train ride home and typed what I heard as I went. This was a great way for me to identify exactly what songs and what parts I liked and why. As I recently purchased several CDs, it's been a slow process to digest all this new music. This method helped move things along.

I had heard about Anathema and saw their popularity on this site. I wanted to get one of their CDs but it was difficult to choose. Many of their albums have strong ratings here and I sampled a few of them by listening to the song snippets on Amazon. In the end, I decided to get A Natural Disaster. Here are my mostly unedited notes from my live, in-commute review.

Harmonium

Keyboard intro, downer lyrics and mood. Changes to heavy NIN like sound. Industrial beat. Not as aggressive as NIN or Filter but the heavy sound is good.

Balance and Closer

Sounds like Radiohead with delicate keyboard sound and atmosphere. Gets hard partway through but keeps a sound close to Radiohead. Suddenly there's a hard stop back to softer keyboard sound, robotic voice. Nice atmosphere. That is actually the third song, Closer that has begun. Flows nicely after Balance. Good continuity. Music rather steady and without much variation until guitar comes in partway through. Maybe a bit more like Porcupine Tree here. Intensity builds until the last minute and half. Back to keyboards and robotic voice.

Are You There

Mellow keyboards. Woman's voice in background. Male singing begins, a bit weak. Gentle guitar melody and drums. Not too impressed with this one. Weak vocals the main reason. Perhaps it creates a certain mood though.

Childhood Dream

Deep background bass note, echoey acoustic guitar very pretty, child's voice in the background. Piano comes in a little, tinkling of high notes. Woman's voice at the end. The child's voice sounds playful but not really cheery. There's a sadness here in the music.

Pulled Under at 2000 Metres a Second

Tense bass, synth. Sounds like a song by Spirit of the West - a folk/alternative,hard rock fusion band from Vancouver. Tension builds in voice and music. Song title is shouted, heavy music starts. Angry song. Furious. "Freedom is only a hallucination that waits at the end of the place where you go when you dream". Back to bass and synth. Tension backed off. Whispers. Back to heavy aggressive style.

A Natural Disaster

Gentle electric guitar chords. Female voice. Sounds like...who? Drums, song gets moving with same guitar chords. Woman's voice. Who does she sound like? Could sound like a different band here but I know they have some songs with a female vocalist. Effects come in to build the mood. A good song but not quite my taste. Basically 6:27 of the same music.

Flying

Backwards guitar effects? Gentle electric chords but background effects create the feeling that something will happen. Chorus starts but without drama. Singing is pretty strong. Drums and bass come in. Slow mid-tempo. Again, not bad but by now something more interesting is due. Guitar solo is simple cascading notes repeated but sounds pretty. Song closes with guitar solo notes played with a different wavering sound.

Electricity

Soft piano note. Vocals fast but gentle, a little hurried for effect. Simple strumming of acoustic guitar comes in. Background effects. Minimalistic music. Drums and bass come in but it's a slow steady song. Kind of pretty musically. Funny how a song called Electricity is largely acoustic and so mellow.

Violence

Another contrast. Violence starts with delicate piano notes and background effects of soft electric guitar notes. Pretty and sad intro. Beautiful. It ends at about 2:20 when bass and drums come in pounding a rapid rhythm, not too heavy yet. Guitar notes still sing though a little louder than they did with the piano. Tension builds and the drums go furious. Still the heavy pounding continues with beautiful guitar notes. A choir-like sound joins and the mood carries on until it all fades out and the gentle piano and guitar notes return. There is a pause and the piano plays a different gentle tune while strings - or at least synthesizer strings - subtly support the piano. The song ends slowly with sustained strings and tenderly plucked notes from the piano and a few weepy notes from the guitar. It's hard to think of this having any relation to ROCK music. Very pretty and just like relaxation music.

And so closes the album. A strong beginning but I felt it got a little weak in the middle and towards the end. The last song was interesting, adding an unusual touch to the closing of the album. I am not so sure this album will inspire me to get more Anathema albums but still I'd like to hear more of their earlier work as well as their later work. Oh, I love the album cover!

I think the music certainly fits into a progressive music category but I often felt I wanted something a little more interesting out of the rhythm guitar in particular. Definitely experimental in some ways. 3 stars for myself, 3.5 for this site but rounded down with some hesitation.

FragileKings | 3/5 |

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