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Anathema - The Crestfallen CD (album) cover

THE CRESTFALLEN

Anathema

 

Experimental/Post Metal

2.20 | 43 ratings

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Aussie-Byrd-Brother
Special Collaborator
Rock Progressivo Italiano Team
3 stars I find it a bit of a shame that the early metal releases of Anathema are dismissed so quickly by the more recent fans of their sophisticated progressive rebirth. As great as that period has been, the band still released a number of moody nightmare doom metal releases that are still worthy of tracking down. Although `Crestfallen' could never be confused for being a prog rock album, there's still a number of progressive qualities in the arrangements and the atmosphere of the music.

The 33 minute album is full of slowly unfolding dark funereal dirges, with an oppressive slab of heaviness weighing down on the listener. Pummeling drums and melodic twin guitar melodies grind through the murkiness, giving the music a very cold and suffocating sound. Darren White's deep vocals are a mix of spoken word with a strained, weary and forlorn monotone growl, and they work very effectively here. Although there's a heavy fog of dark atmosphere throughout, the album is frequently balanced with some surprisingly thoughtful and oddly beautiful lyrics. Words about loves lost, devotion, spiritual release and hope are placed alongside tales of sorrow, torment and loneliness. It gives the album an interesting balance, but also a deeper quality over other similar artists.

`And I Lust...' has a tense mix of unearthly growls and spoken word, rattling drums and that classic majestic twin guitar metal sound. Lots of atmosphere and drama in this one, and I love the almost uplifting quality the guitars take just after the four minute mark. Key lyric - 'By the golden beauty of dusk, and the sun low in our sky, by the haunting shadows of trees and graves, mesmerized am I.'

`The Sweet Suffering' has world-weary slurred vocals, with sludgy chugging riffs pounding down. The pace picks up a little more in the second half. Great lyrics all throughout this one! 'The way is dim, but I find it....' - Perfectly sums up the mood of the album, words that may come to apply to you if you connect with it. `Everwake' is a brief but exquisite female sung acoustic interlude, with vivid and evocative lyrics. 'Somniferous whisperings of scarlet fields, sleep calling me and my dreams are wondrous. My reality abandoned, I traverse afar, not a care if I ever wake...' It's a stunning gothic lullaby, and a lovely respite from the relentless gloom.

A grand piano melody on the introduction of `Crestfallen', uplifting and reflective. Electric guitar plays the same melody that reinforces the emotion and sadness. Darren's vocals sound like the helpless wail of a soul in torment amongst the stop/start chugging dirty dark riffs throughout. It's lyrically interesting too - 'For the deepest love I had has dissolved before my eyes, my sorrow is bleak, I beg for deliverance. Lord, in your mercy, hear my prayer.'

`They Die' has a very sinister sound, with the drums especially heavy and dominating on this one. The arrangement is very monotonous and overbearing, but that's not exactly a criticism. There's very pained vocals, and the piece builds in urgency in the second half, with some nice busier drum- work and more majestic guitar lines.

Although `Serenades' that follows is the stronger of the two in this doom metal style, this album has more than enough gloomy and emotional grief to interest adventurous metal fans. Lyrically I find it's frequently very personal and moving, with the relentless plodding metal riffs and dead-weight drums immersive and mood-setting.

Anathema's `Crestfallen' is a vivid collection of romantic doom poetry set to a brooding soundtrack.

Aussie-Byrd-Brother | 3/5 |

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