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Anathema - Hindsight CD (album) cover



Experimental/Post Metal

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5 stars Nothing to envy to Radiohead.

This is the true meaning of the word 'atmospheric', meaning that you can listen to the album in any time of the day, any moment of your life and you will feel wrapped by it. In addition, Anathema was always analogous to Radiohead by the ability to inmerse the listener in deep emotions, creating hallucinogenic perceptions of the obscure and the luminous elements of life.

A very well arranged, very well produced acoustic album counting on the presence of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra in the string arrangements and an intelligent re-elaboration of the classic songs, including a brand new song called 'Unchained (Tales of the unexpected)', a very dreamy piece that suits perfectly to the standards of the rest of the album.

Pros: The voice harmonies, the work the band put on the renewing of the old songs, the string arrangements. Cons: Short tracklist. Since it is a compilation, it could have been perfectly a double album but it would delay the release of the long-awaited follow-up to 'A Natural Disaster' scheduled for release near the end of the year.

Still perfect, balanced. Essential!

Report this review (#178490)
Posted Wednesday, July 30, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars With the release of this semi-acoustic compilation, Anathema proves once again that, beyond the technical criteria, music remains a vector for emotions and a universal language. Semi-acoustic indeed, since some pieces are embellished with electric guitar soli and percussions.

This compilation covers several albums, 3 pieces of 'A Natural Disaster' (Are you There, Flying, A Natural Disaster), 2 pieces of 'A Fine Day to Exit' (Leave No Trace, Temporary Peace), 2 pieces of 'Alternative 4' (Fragile Dreams, Inner Silence), 1 piece of 'Eternity' (Angelica), 1 piece of 'Judgement' (One Last Goodbye), and 1 unpublished (Unchained) especially written for this opus. These 'old songs' are therefore subject to a semi-acoustic rewrite, and some pieces can be rediscovered, 'Flying' and 'Angelica' acquire another emotional dimension, and the contribution of the Irish Mandolin is certainly no stranger to it. The listener will take great delight in the guitar arpeggios, coated with layers of cello. Anathema offers a refined music, which combines simple acoustic arrangements, in one word, a captivating and graceful music. Dave Wesling and his cello add an intense depth to all.

The musical intention in Anathema's albums is largely dedicated to a dark structure and sound, but it emerges in this album a sort of soothing euphoria, a bit like a musical dream ... as the last song, Unchained, or Fragile Dreams, atmospheric as one could wish.

Why 52 minutes? The approach is paradoxical, with all the materials in hand to achieve a 75-minute album, they shorten the debate, leaving us with our hungry.

Let us wait for their next album 'Horizons' ...

Report this review (#185583)
Posted Tuesday, October 14, 2008 | Review Permalink
Prog Leviathan
4 stars An exceptionally flavorful addition to the band's catalogue which will positively overjoy fans of the group's fine delicate sound, and probably attract a few new fans who might be scared away by Anathema's Experimental/Post-Metal classification (realistically outdated at this point).

To sum up, Hindsight is a collection of the group's soft songs, as well as a few heavy ones arranged to an acoustic and toned down feel. The set list is well chosen, with highlights from their most recent 4 albums (or so), all of which are emotionally charged with melancholy and poignancy; the listener will almost certainly be captivated or moved throughout. Anathema has a reputation for being gloomy, and these songs certainly reflect that, but Cavanaugh's rich voice makes this an emotional trip worth taking. Many of the songs deal with the death of friends, oneself, lost hopes, etc., but a few rise from the gloom with uplifting lyrics or melodies sprinkled now and agin.

The band's atmopsheric playing only rarely stands out-- which is the sign of exceptional atmospheric playing in my book. The song's arrangements feature lush swells and sustains complementing Cavanaugh's vocals perfectly, the blend of the two becoming very easy to let drift into the background without becoming boring. Perfect for moody relaxation, reflection, or for getting your girlfriend to like your obscure rock music.

Fans of the band's albums will enjoy the song's new arrangements, but I feel like there was more room to experiement. Still, very enjoyable and highly recommended.

Songwriting: 4 Instrumental Performances: 3 Lyrics/Vocals: 5 Style/Emotion/Replay: 4

Report this review (#192571)
Posted Wednesday, December 10, 2008 | Review Permalink
3 stars For me Hindsight is the greatest compilation of Anathema. Includes the most emotional songs of Anathema in acoustic version and a new song what the band composed only for this boxset called Unchained. As Vincent says, they wanted only release an album with acoustic songs. There are also some extra musicians in this record who play instruments like cello and mandolin for better orchestration.

Vincent did great work in the vocals as his voice is so melodic and emotional. Danny made greatful orchestrations, as well as his brother Jamie. Lee's voice was wonderful as always. John and Les were following the other in this magic trip called Hindsight.

I think that metal fans of Anathema maybe don't like this compilation, but will be a good choice for people who like melodic and acoustic music.

Is not a prog creation (that's why I rated with three stars) but everyone can find some prog parts in this album.

Report this review (#232364)
Posted Wednesday, August 19, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars Anathema's Hindsight could be mislabeled as a quick "unplugged" album to suffice for the fact that their upcoming studio album is now over 4 years "in the works." However, this is not your typical unplugged outfit. It takes the best of the band's expansive catalog, and rearranges it to fit the environment perfectly, with little seeming as just a rehearsal of the studio version. Most versions on Hindsight are much better than the studio versions, such as "Are You There," "Temporary Peace," and "A Natural Disaster," which I can not mention without praising the vocals of Lee Douglas, who appears at only the right times throughout the album, as Vincint Cavanaugh, who fits the band perfectly, delivers business as usual, soul wrenching, emotional vocals in his respective songs. Overall, this band has created an original and emotional atmosphere in the usually mediocre unplugged cliche that seconds only to Pain of Salvation's "12:5" If I had to take one Anathema album to a desert island, this would be the one, recommended for die-hards and newcomers.
Report this review (#244876)
Posted Friday, October 16, 2009 | Review Permalink
Prog Metal Team
3 stars I've already rambled on somewhere about the pointlessness of the whole unplugged idea. An artist usually cares as much about the sound and the arrangement of songs, as about the actual melodies and riffs. Stripping the instrumentation down to a low-fi skeleton is a risky business that mostly reduces the original splendour to tedious campfire sentimentalism.

Anathema have a long tradition of unplugging their songs for special intimate live gig settings and their expertise in the matter shows. The result on Hindsight rarely equals the originals for me but the rearrangements are clever, tasteful and very textured. This is not just two guys strumming away with stiff fingers on acoustic guitars. Various instruments such as violin, piano, vibes and percussion makes the songs sound entirely different from the originals but recreate the mood of the originals perfectly. There are pleasant surprises throughout the journey. Are You There for instance has been given a quicker pace and works better then the original for me.

Overall, the sonic decomposition doesn't work for every track and the sameness of tone and mood ultimately drags down the album. After 5 years of radio silence I had expected a bit more.

Report this review (#278999)
Posted Thursday, April 22, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars Not a studio album as such, this album is a collection of some of Anathema's finest songs stripped down to their bare esseantials with mainly just a paino, accoustic guitars (with the odd bit of electric lead guitar thrown in to make it all the more atmospheric), vocals and the odd bit of added drum percussion, the coolest thing i think in this instrumentation is the addition of a very somber like cello on a lot of the songs, it really adds that extra ambience for what already is a very mellow and ambiant collection of songs from these guys.

Now the key to this album of course is atmosphere, and boy do they deliver, most songs just start off with a bit of paino until each instrument gradually makes its apperance as the song builds up and towers above all, an example of this is the opening track FRAGILE DREAMS, and the epic ONE LAST GOODBYE, of course three of my favourite songs from the last album i reviewed 'A Natural Disaster' make their appearence on this being more mellow than i could ever imagine, i love the way Danny Cavanagh really messed around with the song ARE YOU THERE? making the song even more beautiful than it was (if thats even possible) there are some songs that i wish wernt on this album if im honest and kinda bring a damper on this great collection, the first 6-7 songs i have no problem with, i would have easily bought the album with just those songs on it, but when it gets to track 8 TEMPORARY PEACE, i just wasnt a fan of the arrangement and would rather have it the old way, same with the last two songs (even though they didnt really do much to the song FLYING);

Fragile Dreams - 8/10 Leave No Trace - 8/10 Inner Silence - 9/10 One Last Goodbye - 10/10 Are You There - 10/10 Angelica - 8/10 A Natural Disaster - 10/10 Temporary Peace - 6/10 Flying - 8/10 Unchained (Tales Of The Unexpected) - 7/10

My Conclusion? I have not been a fan of Anathema for that long and have only heard one full studio album and a bunch of songs from other albums, but just one the full way through, but i enjoyed the majority of this album and if your a fan of the band i bet you would too.

Report this review (#282088)
Posted Saturday, May 15, 2010 | Review Permalink
Conor Fynes
4 stars 'Hindsight' - Anathema (8/10)

Let's face it, when a band even mentions the possibility of an 'unplugged' album nowadays, it is almost instantly met with groans and jeers, as were it a bad joke. Truth be told, alot of the bands that do decide to give their tracks an acoustic do-over generally fail at getting their songs to go that extra mile, thinking their fans will be perfectly content to pay again for simplistic versions of music they are already familiar with. Every so often nevertheless, a band will take the idea of an acoustic album seriously, and really put the heart and added touches it needs to float as a work of its own. Such is the case of Anathema and their own 'unplugged' album 'Hindsight'; a series of acoustic renditions of some of their greatest songs. While some songs here feels as if they could have done with a bit more added onto them in this new version, there's no doubt for me that 'Hindsight' has inadvertently become one of my favourite Anathema albums, and in many ways a clear example of how an acoustic album is done right.

With classic tracks like 'One Last Goodbye', 'Fragile Dreams', 'Inner Silence', and 'Temporary Peace' gracing this release, the band seems to run through many of my favourite songs the band has done over their later, more mellow albums. As pieces of songwriting, these are all fantastic as they were on the original albums, but are often improved even further through the acoustic rendition. The changes can be fairly subtle (as with 'A Natural Disaster', which retains most of its original sound) to very noticeably different, like 'Are You There', which sheds its choral atmospherics from the original in favour for some beautifully warm guitar work. 'Inner Silence' also sees some great improvements through a more mellow run-through, including a beautiful added vocal section that makes the original sound lacking in my ears now. What robs this album of being truly essential is the fact that not all of the songs are so successful in being changed. While the music is fantastic throughout, 'Hindsight's success rests on it sounding different from existing versions, and a handful of tracks here do not necessarily change much.

While the emotional impact of Anathema's music has always been profound to me, 'Hindsight' features some of the warmest, most vulnerable and moving performances I have heard from this band ever. Without having to worry about any heaviness or needless atmospherics, they can focus on some of the most soulful instrumentation in their arsenal, and bring it to life. With the jaw-dropping success of many of these tracks however, I am left somewhat wishing that the few that don't necessarily excel could have been made to shine.

Report this review (#413996)
Posted Thursday, March 10, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars I think it is pretty obvious that Anathema is one of my favorite bands in my life. When I knew Anathema had released an album where they would remake some of their songs and make them acoustic, I was definitely eager to hear it. Every time I listen to Anathema I am surprised about the incredible capacity they have for composing and in this time for arranging their own music and make it more melancholic and beautiful. Maybe it is not an album of new songs, just one new, 'Unchained'. But the rest of the songs are taken from their previous albums and all of them are extraordinarily arranged with violins, cellos, acoustic guitars, piano and soft voices. A must for every Anathema fan, and any music lover.
Report this review (#1035726)
Posted Sunday, September 15, 2013 | Review Permalink

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