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Anathema - Alternative 4 CD (album) cover




Experimental/Post Metal

4.05 | 614 ratings

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4 stars Anathema kick off "Alternative 4" with a haunting piano melody and the suitably pensive lyric, "We are just a moment in time, the blink of an eye." The song, "Shroud of False" serves as an intro to track 2, "Fragile Dreams".

Here we're greeted with a gorgeous violin sound, and as the percussion builds up, the same melody undergoes a metamorphosis into a thumping rock riff. This track combines the melodic and rock aspects brilliantly, and is one of the feature songs on the album.

Things get even better with "Lost Control". That haunting piano is back, along with a brooding bassline with a very effective syncopated meter. Once again the lyrics only add to the tone. "Yes, I am falling... how much longer 'till I hit the ground?" The coup de gras is the gorgeous acoustic guitar lead break. The violin also adds stunning texture over the top of power chords in the songs outtro. Without doubt my favourite track on the album.

The title track "Alternative 4" features another great build-up, leading to some of the heavier moments on the album. Much of the song is measured, brooding, with a great sense of tension. It feels as though it's about to explode at any moment. It never does quite pay off the way one might hope, but is still a very good track. Then at about the 6 minute mark there is what I would call a curious production moment. The power chords kick in again after more brooding, and it sounds as though the song is about to take us somewhere else. And then? A rather sharp fade to silence. It's almost as if someone in the control room made the snap decision to pull the master fader down while the song was still unresolved. Obviously it's an intentional decision, but to me it's a strange one.

"Regret" is a lovely acoustic number. The haunting, sorrowful theme of the album is sustained with lyrics such as "Sometimes I remember all the pain that I have seen." After a few minutes the tempo picks up and distorted guitar joins the fray, but that sense of sorrow and loss remains.

"Feel" features the solemn sounds of an organ with a nice acoustic riff over the top. The power chords return for the chorus, as with many of the tracks before. These dominate the final half of the track as it fades to silence. This segues nicely into the album closer, "Destiny", a short but gorgeous track that induces a feel of weightlessness and release.

This is a beautifully melancholic album full of great moments from Anathema and certainly one of their best.

bonestorm | 4/5 |


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