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Anathema - Serenades CD (album) cover

SERENADES

Anathema

 

Experimental/Post Metal

2.30 | 160 ratings

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bleak
4 stars Anathema were part of the "Big Three" of Doom Metal in England in the early 90's along with Paradise Lost and My Dying Bride, yet they seemed to be the most underrated of these. Something which I never could understand. For Serenades was, in my opinion, the hands down winner of the three debut releases of this bunch. Anathema was just more....real. There was a genuine sincerity within their lyrics and music that to me was a rare commodity within the Metal scene at this time. And it is this very aspect that would grow to define the band with each passing release.

Serenades is a suffocatingly heavy album. Every song a dirge for mankind's weary existence in a slowly decaying world. Crushing heaviness wed with ethereal guitar melodies to set the foundation on which vocalist Darren White gruffly moaned his tales of grief. White's fascination with the loss of those held dear to the cold embrace of death set the theme for this album. Possessing a gruff delivery that oozed with anguish, sometimes using a spoken/clean sung approach for a different shade of misery, there was no doubting the sincerity in his words. The brothers Cavanagh, Daniel and Vincent, churned forth compellingly heavy riffs that, even with their sheer weight, portrayed an ethereal tranquility that always brought images of rain forests, water falls, gleaming sunsets/rises and distant horizons to my mind. The rhythm section consisting of bassist Duncan Patterson and drummer John Douglas pounded out a crushing backbone, Douglas's drumming really bringing forth the intensity in certain parts, such as the ending of opener "Lovelorn Rhapsody." "Jai Fait Une Promesse" is an acoustic guitar piece with female singer Ruth providing some of the best vocals I've ever heard anywhere. "Sleepless," the only song the band still plays live from this album, is a classic, opening in nearly pure gothic territory and ending with a scorching solo. "Sleep In Sanity" is otherworldly, crushing and beautiful all the same. The song that made the deepest impression on me however was "Under A Veil (Of Black Lace)," a tale of a befallen love that is the most sorrowful song written in a Doom Metal context I've ever heard. Truly mournful. ..."I loved her...but now she's gone"...

My version of this disc came complete with the bands debut 1992 E.P. Crestfallen, 3 tracks of immense doom in the same vein as the Serenades material, and an acoustic piece with female vocals "Everwake" every bit as beautiful as the aforementioned "Jai Fait Une Promesse". This album will always remind me of the first time I experienced it. A grey December evening, sitting by the window, as the album played on, the grey faded into the night. A true journey into the darkness of the soul...and heart.

bleak | 4/5 |

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