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2 stars Quite poor, but maybe some people like this kind of stuff.

I was a bit excited about this album, seeing it so high on the Top 2010 Albums list, especially since I had never heard anything by Anathema before. Because I'm new to Anathema, I can't judge this album's quality relative to the rest of their discography, but judging solely based on it's musical qualities, I can honestly say that I was disappointed.

The overall sound of the album is very atmospheric and dreamy, and while I can tolerate this to some extent, the fact that this is the predominant texture for the entire album is not in its favor. Even worse, the harmonies are some of the least interesting and most predictable of any prog album I've listened to. Very few of the melodies use more than three or four notes, and almost all consist entirely of predictably chosen long notes that make the vocalist very boring to listen to despite his great voice. All the tempos are pretty slow; some are excruciatingly so.

As you can tell, I think this album lacks any hint of variety. I won't go into the tracks in detail as most of them are the same. There are a few neat parts: the guitar riff starting about halfway through "A Simple Mistake" caught my ear, and the accompaniment figure in "Everything" was a nice break, but the guy talking in "Presence" was pretty annoying. The production quality is great, and sounds a lot like Porcupine Tree (as expected since it was mixed by Steven Wilson, Porcupine Tree's lead man and producer). But unless you enjoy listening to an hour of slow atmospheric rock soundscapes, this album is not for you.

Report this review (#281532)
Posted Wednesday, May 12, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars Great album, if you're into post-rock/experimental/depressive style of music.

To be honest, this was the first album I ever listened from Anathema, but I was positively surprised. I may be indeed in the right mood for this kind of music, but the sound got me from the very first time I listened to the album.

The songs are quite slow, according to their style, and may bore some of the most excited listeners. The sound reminds me of nowadays english rock bands, specially Porcupine Tree (perhaps due to the production, done by Steven Wilson) with some touch of space and post rock. If you like this kind of music, this album is certainly for you, beauty on its raw state.

My favorite songs are Angels Walk Among Us, with its great melody and vocals, followed by Presence. To me, they make just one amazing song. The last one is worth the listening also, Hindsight. Lee Douglas' vocals are also a high feature of the album.

Report this review (#282276)
Posted Sunday, May 16, 2010 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars I, too, was lured into the world of ANATHEMA by the high rating "We're Here Because We're Here" is currently receiving here on ProArchives. While I am enjoying their music (I have gone back to acquire songs from all of their catalog), and I am enjoying the songs from WHBWH more than the other albums', I am once again mystified at their genre placement. Once a band evolves, perhaps its individual albums should be given their own genre placements--e.g. early Porcupine Tree is far more space/psychedelic and even symphonic than the more recent "heavy" prog. Early The Gathering was far more progressive than more recent crossover stuff--as was the reverse for Big Big Train!

Anyway, the music here is slightly more complex than previous albums--more PINK FLOYD-ish. The excellent lead voice commanded by Vince Cavanaugh almost boosts this group into the Crossover genre--he has that "poppish" kind of voice--the kind that attracts all the attention and makes you forget (or tolerate) the background music. So many acoustic guitars strumming away, yet not varied enough to even garner comparisons to The Church or some PT, Opeth, or Pain of Salvation. Yet, I do like this album. I'm not sure it's very proggy prog, but I do think it qualifies as an "Excellent addition to any music collection"

Report this review (#284744)
Posted Thursday, June 3, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars Well, how truly frightening it is for a reviewer to review an album being the result of a collaboration between your #1 most beloved band ever - Anathema -, and the Head- Honcho of your nearly equally beloved #2, namely that band of a certain bloke named Steven Wilson (aka SW, aka the Master, aka El Maestro, etc.) - Porcupine Tree. I will try to find that fine-lined balance between silly fanboyism and being the overly-critical nitpicker, here. It won't be easy, as the expectation from a genuine Porkyheaded-Anathemaniac like me, is, of course, that this album should be some kind of an absolute EARGASM.

Well it's finally here now, after seven (eight?) long years for the wait. And, does it live up to expectations? I daresay it does.

Everyone even remotely interested in the story of Anathema should know their disaster- ridden tale by now, so I'll try and not come back to that. The most underrated band of the 1990's - and perhaps the 2000's as well? Yes, I happen to agree on that statement. It's pretty incredible that a band so overloaded with talent managed to keep on flying under the radar for some 20 years. But it's 2010 now, and I think things will start changing for Anathema. The band landed themselves a decent contract with Kscope records, leader in 'post-progressive sounds', and of course, having the name of one of the most celebrated musicians in contemporary progrock on the album's booklet as being the mixer of the material, might also be a bit of help in finally getting the deserved attention.

'Post-progressive' is indeed the adequate description for their music. Basically slow to mid- tempo, melancholic/atmospheric/spacy, very melodic, and well-cemented Walls of Sound - the Anathema-trademark - guided mainly by both (semi-)acoustic as well as heavy electric guitars, highlighted by eerie-sounding vocals.

Steven Wilson's influence is clearly audible, especially on those multilayered vocal arrangements - yes, with three great singers in the band (drummer John Douglas' sister Lee has finally 'officially' joined the band's ranks now), you'd be rather silly not to make use of that exquisite wealth! - as well as that there's a lot more piano/keyboards/orchestrations to be heard on this effort than on their previous ones, adding to a more 'elaborate' feel than ever before, if that makes any sense. Nevertheless, this is a true Anathema-album rather than the 8057634th Wilson-project.

Lyrically, this album is all about 'hope', dealing with personal failures and other disasters, and eventually, being able to overcome them - the key point being that "only you can heal your heal your life, only you can heal inside", but not without the help of those Angels That Walk Among Us - our friends, our loved ones. The mood is still dark & melancholic, but not depressive, imho - main composer Daniel Cavanagh himself calls it 'uplifting' and I think that's spot-on. I'd even like to go a step further and call it 'romantic', in the classical, 19th century art-wise meaning of the word.

Some notes on the individual songs:

Thin Air kicks off with a Daniel Cavanagh semi-acoustic guitarriff, and guided by a pounding rhythm reminescent of A Natural Disaster's 'Closer', builds into one of those typical Anathemanian 'wall of sound's. One of the most striking elements of their music immediately kicks in, namely the quality of the vocal work. Lead singer Vinnie seems to be getting better with every effort, and he's just perfect here, reaching high notes which I didn't really expect him to be able to, but he pulls it off wonderfully well.

Summernight Horizon Up-tempo, heavy, reminding of older work. Beautiful choir singing by 'all involved' on this one. This one will work very well at live performances.

Dreaming Light The most introverted song on the album, just a simple piano- & orchestra-driven tune, but what a vocal performance by Vinnie! He really outdoes himself on this one.

Everything If you'd have to choose a 'hit single' on this album, here it is, and fortunately the band decided on such. Melodic, positive, even 'happy'-sounding, this is Anathema at its loveliest by far, with excellent vocal performances by both Vinnie and Lee - they truly sound like angels, here!

Angels Walk Among Us is one of the many highlights, and lyrically, the key song on the album - emanating true Hope. A warm, uplifting-but-intense tune, guitar in the end reminds of the work on their imho best album ever, Judgement. Lovely singing by both Vinnie and Lee, and backing-vocals by HIM's Ville Valo, but to be honest, I would rather have heard Danny doing those parts. Nitpicking, here, don't mind me, here! It slowly dissolves into...

Presence ...and I actually take these two songs together as one major epic. - a melancholic, narrated story about mortality, hope, acceptance of fate... "Life is Eternal" Eternity, guided by a fantastic organ and real violins, beautifully sung by Lee towards the end.

A Simple Mistake introverted, dreamy vocal-guided song, the message of positivism not only being worded ("take a chance, or lose it all..."), but emanating from the music just the same. Excellent, very proggie, multilayered song, and if this doesn't move you, ask yourself if you've still got a heart beating in your body.

Get Off Get Out - the archetypical odd-ball song on this album (every Anathema album has one of those - and once again, it's written by drummer John Douglas), up-tempo rhythm, distorted vocals - in fact, very PT-like! It sounds like this song slipped from Steven Wilson's suitcase right onto this record of his friends... Not easy stuff, some fans might find some trouble getting into this one, but after quite a couple of tries, you'll find it actually works out very well.

Universal. Fantastic orchestral work, dark, doomy, epic, wall-of-sound, a genuine proggie 'epic'. Fantastic screaming guitar solo by Danny in the middle of the song, followed by heavy piano, culminating into the Anathema Wall of Sound again, cemented by meandering guitars. Yet another highlight of this album.

Hindsight And so we come to the end. Beautifully narrated vocals over a dreamy, atmospheric tune, built on a slow bass line, guitars all over the place, and a very Floydian guitar-solo by Danny in this lovely ending, which reminds me very much of the works of a band like Godspeed You!Black Emperor - no surprise, as that is one of Danny's favourites. Just lovely. The perfect conclusion to a genuine masterpiece.

Okay, the rating. For myself, I consider this one the second 5-star album from Anathema (after Judgement), but as I promised to keep the 'fanboyism' to a minimum, I'll give it a 4-star rating for the sake of so-called objectivity. Draw your own conclusions here. :D

Report this review (#285158)
Posted Saturday, June 5, 2010 | Review Permalink

This warning would have be sticked on every Anathema album, because their music short, concentrated sadness and depression. Please forget about No-Man, this is the only and genuine remedy if you can´t asleep (or if you wanna sleep forever).

I´ve been curious about this new stuff. Now I can responsibly proclaim: the band didn´t disappoint my expectation. Weeping vocals, strongly reminds Bruce Soord of Pineapple Thief. Female vocals, one of a few lucid moments of the album, are certainly better than male ones.

As regards the music, it´s evident that Anathema cooks in the same kitchen with the same ingredients like above-mentioned No-Man and Pineapple Thief, then Porcupine Three or Riverside. But I´m afraid this bands are chefs and Anathema´s members are pantryboys only...Slow tempo, predominantly minor scale, frequent using of string orchestra, grand piano and spanish guitar (playing in spread chords usually) classifies this music between quite good rock lullabies. Nothing more, nothing less.

2 stars - because this album is, still and all, the best thing which the band ever been recorded.

Report this review (#285497)
Posted Monday, June 7, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars Anathema" We're Here Because We're Here" The new Anathema album came out this week, yet I watched about 20+ ratings go up on ProgArchives over the last couple of months without any reviews attached. How does that happen? It felt like hit and run ranking. Skim the songs, post a rank, and leave. I realize people we're downloading the songs, but we're people just listening to a couple of samples (and not buying/downloading the whole album?) We're people only listening to it (or bits of it) and then revewing it after first listen? For me, I need the whole album in front of me, lyric sheets, and internalize it as a package. I'm on my 7th listen now, and I'm ready to post a review.

Anyway, its their first in over 5 years. Of course I got it the first day it came out. Man-o-man, this puppy doesn't disappoint. I don't know what it is about this band that slays me so much, its not like they're choppin' riffs out like KC's Elephant Talk, its much more ethereal and moody. But they're committed to exploring that certain aesthetic like nobody before. Some of their albums (Judgment and A Fine Day To Exit) I think are the best albums of the decade, and I keep going back to them.

This album t is as great as any of those above, and is an improvement over their last album "Natural Disaster", which had a couple less than stellar moments. Nothing like that on "We're Here Because We're Here", which starts with a strong radio friendly anthem ? "Thin Air" - that Muse only wish they could write. The rest of the album explores their own muse of finding soaring beauty by building their slow epics to a dynamic crescendo, and often trying to find soaring beauty in the remnants of metal. Five years between albums allows years for songwriting and the best stuff to emerge.

'Post-Prog' or 'Post-metal' really are "adequate descriptions for their music". There's little of either in this music, but somehow you feel the ghost of both. "We're Here Because We're Here" is not a large jump from what they first started exploring on "Alternative 4", what it is however is a their final crystallized masterpiece that they've been itching for. This really will be a treat for anyone who loves Porcupine Tree, of course the presense of Steven Wilson -- who mixed the album ? clearly contributes toward that.

Report this review (#286438)
Posted Monday, June 14, 2010 | Review Permalink
Prog Metal Team
4 stars Anathema is a band that has always suffered from the public's expectations. By changing their sound and style throughout this career, they've been criticized for either being too metal, too soft, too melancholic, not metal enough, too pop, not prog enough, too Radiohead and so on. This album won't be an exception.

However, if you're open to contemporary rock and allow the passion of this music to engulf you, then you're in for a treat. Anathema's mission is not to fit in a genre box but to purge pure emotion through their music, whatever form that music takes: imposing doom metal, gothic prog or atmospheric rock as on their previous 2 albums.

We're Here Because We're Here is the long-expected 8th album and it is a logical continuation of A Fine Day To Exit and A Natural Disaster. It's more consistent then the latter but not as musical and varied as A Fine Day To Exit. But whatever personal preference you have between these albums, it would be quite surprising if you would not appreciate We're Here Because We're Here if you loved the preceding albums. The influences from modern alternative rock and post rock such as Radiohead and Sigur Ros are still the main source of inspiration, meaning we get outstretched and minimal compositions with a brooding atmosphere that grows to rousing climaxes. Needless to say this will not appeal to people who rate music by the number of notes played per second.

The album starts very strongly with 3 brilliant songs. It then has a short dip with a couple of poppy songs of which Everything is the most disappointing. It's a track that has been available for download from Anathema's home site for more then 5 years and it had really lowered my expectations towards this album. The final album version is more focused then the demo but it remains a rather lame pop song similar to Porcupine Tree's Lazarus. Also Angels Walk Among Us is rather average. But with the album's highlight A Simple Mistake, we're all set for another string of gorgeous Anathema songs.

The music on this album is seemingly simple but it strikes with a devastating emotional blow. What else did you expect? It's Anathema, and they are back, with an album that I would rate just below the creative peak they reached with Alternative 4, Judgement and A Fine Day To Exit.

Report this review (#287421)
Posted Sunday, June 20, 2010 | Review Permalink
Conor Fynes
4 stars 'We're Here Because We're Here' - Anathema (8/10)

Each year, there is always a small handful of albums that I really anticipate, and count down the days until they are released. 2009 had me with the new Dream Theater and Porcupine Tree albums that came out, and 2010 presented me with months of eager excitement for the moment I would finally get my hands on a copy of this latest Anathema record. Hearing a few stunning samples from the album beforehand only intensified the hype for me, and all I could do is wait until the day 'We're Here Because We're Here' arrived in the mail.

'We're Here Because We're Here' (previously named 'Horizons' until a few months before release) might seem like a redundant, even stupid name for an album, but looking deeper into the title alone shows a level of deepness which reflects the rest of the album. Despite being silly at first glance, the title suggests a nihilistic (or possibly humanistic) point of view; that we exist simply for the sake of existing, and that there is no underlying meaning to life. To this extent, it is a very fitting title for an album that enjoys a recurring theme of mortality and life itself.

After having listened to it, I really found myself torn in terms of what to think of it. On one hand, it certainly did not live up to my expectations of being 'the instant classic' I sought it out to be, but there really was some beautiful music here that made it completely worth the purchase. The songs I had sampled were still as moving as ever, and there was some great fresh material to delve into as well. However, the second half of the record seemed to start taking a bit of a dive in quality as the album reached the last two or three tracks. This fact is almost tragic, because had the last fifteen or so minutes of the album been occupied with something as engaging and moving as the rest of it, 'We're Here Because We're Here' would be Anathema's definitive, even 'perfect' work of art they were meant to make.

Starting out with the atmospheric track 'Thin Air,' things take a little while to heat up but the track nails down it's sense of atmosphere very well. Although using repetition alot, things still feel fresh by the end of the song and it's a good, lucid track to bring things into the mix, although definitely not my favourite.

Things start really getting going with the second track 'Summerlight Horizon,' which is arguably the heaviest track on the album, despite being piano driven. Opening up with a dark, heavy piano motif, some metal-styled drumming erupts and a song in the typically dark style of Anathema is in full swing. This song really shines though for it's heavy use of vocal harmonies, which are of real highlight in the album. Although the songwriting itself is enough to carry most of the album along beautifully, producer Steven Wilson has really actualized Anathema's vocal potential, and made the music ring out even more as a result.

Next up is possibly my favourite song off of the album, and possibly even my favourite tune ever written by the band, 'Dreaming Light.' Despite sounding a little bit in the vein of Coldplay, the song shows a side of Anathema that has rarely been shown until this album; a sense of optimism. While 'happy-sounding' tunes have a bad reputation with me for seeming superficial and emotionally hollow, 'Dreaming Light' takes the typical melancholic feel of the band's music and spices it up with the all-so elusive motif of hope. Reaching a climax of tremolo-plucked guitar beauty, atmosphere and harmony all around, my heart almost dropped when I first heard this. This is definitely not the sort of track you would expect coming from a metal band, but it's stunning in any context.

The next two songs were the ones I heard even a year before the album was released. Strangely enough, the versions of 'Everything' and 'Angels Walk Among Us' that I heard without Wilson's production, I enjoyed more. The musicianship seemed more organic and vibrant, even though things are still beautiful as ever here. 'Everything' takes Anathema's newfound spirit of hope to new heights creating a song that has almost no sense of despair whatsoever; only forward thinking cheer. Don't let the description turn you off however, it's executed brilliantly and the vocal harmonies shine through once again. Ville Valo of the alternative rock band HIM does guest vocals for the song 'Angels Walk Among Us.' While red flags definitely poked up a bit when I heard this, his voice does fit the music well, and even bears a stunning resemblance to Vincent Cavanagh's tenor voice itself.

After the beautiful crescendos and melodic peaks of 'Angels Walk Among Us,' the album begins to take a bit of an unsettling slip from the 'absolutely stunning' to 'above average' to relative mediocrity. 'Presence' is an extension of the previous track, and has some bluesy soloing and organ work while a voiceover speaks on top. While the dialogue helps tie the recurring subject of mortality less abstractly into the music, I sort of wish I could turn off the dialogue after listening to it once or twice, so I could enjoy the calming ambience without the annoyance.

'A Simple Mistake' is a good song, but it certainly takes it's time to get to the good part, and the melodies aren't as moving as they were earlier on. Using alot of the same textures as were used on 'Thin Air' except with a much more sombre feel. Despite being less engaging and satisfying than the better tracks on the album, it works itself up to a really powerful climax, giving one last section of aural perfection before 'We're Here' falls into a state of complacent mediocrity.

'Get Off, Get Out' is a decent song, but it really doesn't match up to anything previously played on the album. It reminds me alot of 'Panic' from the album 'A Fine Day To Exit.' While variety is nice, it's very fast-paced compared to the two songs it sits betweens, so it fits in a bit awkwardly. It doesn't sit quite right with me, but it's more or less a good track.

The last two songs are where I started to really get disappointed. 'Universal' is the most down- tempo song on the record, and while it has some very nice string section work going on (reminiscent of some of the stuff that Muse has done) and builds up rather well, some of that 'hopefulness' from the earlier tracks would do well to rub off on this one. While the first few minutes aren't much to talk about, 'Universal' builds up once a classically influenced piano melody starts playing and a buildup in the post-rock vein starts off. Before you know it, the orchestral string section is in full blast, making the music sound like something out of an epic film score. In fact, had this been the last song on the album, it would have been all the more powerful and intense to behold. However, the band made the problem of throwing an extra track in, robbing the effective climax of 'Universal' of it's rightful place as the finale.

'Hindsight' is pleasant enough, but it feels more like a wandering afterthought that the grand conclusion that an album of this calibre seems to warrant. It feels like Anathema wanted to recreate the brilliant conclusion of their previous album, 'A Natural Disaster' with this closer. However, 'Hindsight' proves to be alot less effective and makes for a bit of a sour note to what was otherwise a brilliant album.

'We're Here Because We're Here' was an album that disappoints in sections, but is phenomenal in others. A mixed bag of sorts, things range from being 'mediocre' to being some of the best music my ears have ever been graced with. While I am really tempted to call this a masterpiece, the few things that went wrong with the album seem to hurt what could have otherwise been a classic in the art rock scene for years to come. Despite it's flaws however, Anathema still stand as being one of the most emotive bands out there in the music scene, and with 'We're Here Because We're Here,' they have established yet another chapter of beautiful music that will get under your skin if you let it do so.

Report this review (#288778)
Posted Thursday, July 1, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars The six years between albums seems to have been spent well. There's a greater beauty and lushness of melody in these songs and a greater overall aural experience. The vocals are better with a more intertwined use of female vocals. I've enjoyed Anathema's music ever since Alternative 4, but it seemed like they always fell a bit short, didn't quite have it all crystallised. With this album though, I think they've hit all the right notes. Experimental/Post Metal, yeah probably, in a musically traditional kind of way. If they had a poppy tune in here you could even say it's Crossover Prog, but no, this is all pretty dark and gloomy, and while the numerous melodies swirl you up and lodge in your head, you probably won't be humming the tune when it's over.

There's some manic drumming to keep the up-tempo parts off kilter and some noisy guitars to connect them to their roots and lift the album out of the slow brood.

But it is the flow of the album which works better than past relaeases, there aren't any parts which drag on going nowhere. Most songs build to some kind of climax to keep things interesting. It all kind of fits. The result is you can listen from start to finish. Whilst I think each of their past albums fell a bit short here and there, on focus, on melody, on flow, on consistency of songs, I think this one has hit the mark.

An excellent addition to any prog rock collection, maybe more, we'll see what the passage of time says.

Report this review (#289016)
Posted Saturday, July 3, 2010 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
5 stars I hope since it's my birthday today you will put up with some ramblings from yours truly. It would have been Antoine's birthday today too, as well as Ronnie James Dio's, but both are gone. It's been a good day in spite of having to work. Listened to ANEKDOTEN's "Gravity" this afternoon, sort of a present to myself. The greatest gift I received today though was listening to this complete album on my way to work. It was sunny, I left plenty early so I could take my time and drive the long way so as to enjoy this new album from ANATHEMA. I've actually been listening to it for about a week now. It's different from their previous albums. Sure you know it's them right away but the lyrics are different. This band really is a family with three Cavangh brothers along with the brother / sister duo of John and Lee Douglas.They share expenses and just about everything else.The pictures in the liner notes are very meaningful to them. There's one of the school they went to, the old neighbourhood and streets they frequented. As I said before something has changed with this band.

The song "Presence" has this man speaking words and he talks about reading a little exerpt in a book that said "Life is not the opposite of death. Death is the opposite of birth, life is eternal." And you can't help but feel this is really the band speaking through this man as he talks about life. It was an epithany as it were. Life changing words. So we get this album cover much like EPIGNOSIS' album cover where light chases away the darkness.This is a very spiritual album, not religious at all but very spiritual and positive. And emotional beyond anything I have ever heard. Steven Wilson who mixed it said it was one of the best albums he has ever worked on.

"Hindsight" begins with this woman speaking these words "Intangible. Eternal. Without beginning nor end. The nameless, formless energy that permeates all living things.That sweeps through nature like a ripple in an ocean, sending cascades of timeless wonder through the air, on the song of a bird, the freshness of the morning air. A clear calling for our inner nature to awaken beyond our every day lives, and fears...". This album contains very powerful words along with just as powerful music.The combination has left me not knowing what to say. All I can do is feel as water rises in my eyes then falls throughout this experience. Lots of strings here and perhaps mellotron I don't know.The atmosphere is thick and powerful though. "Dreaming Light" and "Angels Walk Amongst Us" are beyond beautiful.The latter especially when he cries out "Mother can you hear me ?" which brings to mind right away that emotional song from "Judgment" called "One Last Goodbye" about their mom.

Best album of 2010 ? I can't answer this now but in time I will. The fact i'm even considering this questions in regards to this album is enough.

Report this review (#289878)
Posted Saturday, July 10, 2010 | Review Permalink
Prog Leviathan
3 stars After 6 years of silence, Anathema returns at last with this very satisfying, yet ultimately limited entry into their excellent catalogue. We're Here Because We're Here does a great many things very well, but even at its best it only just meets my high expectations of this-- one of my favorite-- bands. For those unfamiliar, Anathema is a post-metal band built on deep textures and handsomely crafted songs, usually with tremendous dynamics and aching emotion. Never truly "heavy" in their metal, Anathema's intense sections punctuate the lengthy atmospheres-- and every note they play is excellent.

We're Here Because We're Here continues this vein, showcasing the band's signature sound of richly nuanced, pathos-thick, beautifully melancholic art rock, although there is a distinct move towards the optimistic in nearly all of these songs. The life-affirming vibe is felt in Cavanaugh's seraphic singing voice, which is more subtle and higher in register than previous albums, as well as in the general move towards the sort of post-rock swells and major-key crescendos common in the genre (Sigor Ros' "Takk" comes to mind). This feel is made direct in the lyrical content, which places a great emphasis on living life for the sake of it- - rather than the usually suicidal/nihilistic lyrics of earlier albums. The instrumental playing is beautifully understated, and the overall effect is one of emotional swells which carry the listener along for a ride of emotional chord-progressions and well-crafted textures.

The style and feel fo this album is clearly the reason for listening though, since the songwriting is playing it safe. We're Here Because We're Here lacks the ambitiousness and creativity of the past few Anathema releases, which gives the otherwise rich emotion a somewhat superficial feel. So while there are no songs that stand out or will stick with you, you will probably enjoy the experience of We're Here Because We're Here while you're listening; it's a good, but not essential release by this absolutely essential band.

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

Report this review (#292869)
Posted Saturday, July 31, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars I have a rather rocky history with Anathema, and go through phases of liking or not liking all of the albums of their's I have heard previously (Judgement, alternative 4, A Natural Disaster), so I assumed that I would encounter the same problem with this album. To the contrary, this album instantly clicked with me, and I have loved it through every listen.

There's something about the vibe of this album that really strikes a chord with me, and listening it through puts me in a state of real calm and happiness I seldom find with anything else. This fits in with Danny's soothing, highly emotional voice, which guides the listener through the album, linking together calm ambient passages with fast paced alternative rock sections. The album is at it's best on tracks such as "A Simple Mistake", and my personal favourite "Hindsight", where the sounds slowly build up, Post-Rock style, to an intense climax and then slowly fade back into serenity.

In closing, the high emotion, Amazing production ala Steven Wilson, and Delicate ambiance of this album make it one I have kept coming back to again and again since its release, and while I cannot say that this will last as time passes, at the moment, in my eyes, this IS a masterpiece.

Report this review (#320121)
Posted Monday, November 15, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars Anathema, like in "A Natural Disaster" completely abandon the Heavy and Doom Metal riffs, leaving place for delicate, haunting melodies, creating an excellent album, "We're Here Because We're Here", a hymn to peace and positive existentialism.

Just recently I saw this band live, and they performed the full album, from start to finish, so I can confirm that the album is even better live. All the songs perfectly flow one to another, making it really enjoyable and not too hard to listen. We find here songs that seem to be illuminated by divinity, songs that are so light but fragile at the same time, even though some moments are a little shacked by the sublime vocals of both Vincent Cavanagh and Lee Douglas, so sometimes the atmosphere is agitated. But most of the time, everything seems so ethereal and unreal, especially in the second part of the album, which is also the most experimental one, as as well as the weakest one. Basically, this is an album divided in two parts; the first one, more enjoyable, where the experimentation is weaker but the melodies are a lot more haunting, being this way a semi Alternative Rock album. The other half is the more Progressive one, with massive experimentation but weaker melodies.

As a conclusion, this album is definitely a must listen to if you enjoy both Prog and Alt Rock. An excellent addiction to your music collection.

Report this review (#323349)
Posted Wednesday, November 17, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars This album is 100% unpredictable piece by Anathema. For those who got used to melancholic, hopeless, depressed stories by this band, this would be a shock. In contrast, Cavanagh brothers have written 10 song with all the new sense in them. Namely, these lyrics are full of hope and believe, and there is one main topic, simply> Love. Yet, the cognizable Anathema sound has not evaporate on this CD, even more it;s more present than on A Fine Day to Exit or A Natural Disaster. These guys made very intelligent move from heavy metal one thing to progressive rock the same thing > simply called Anathema. And the story that is told on We're Here... is just a new chapter of that story that chronologically came after the last album, and as all of their releases always did. And this album, musically is even more progressive. There is a bunch of simple but odd time signatures, including 9/8, 5/4 etc. Strange Anathemic harmonies everything everything packed in the completely listenable songwriting dreamscapes and emotional landscapes. There is one of the very strange songs that has more heavy sound and is called Get Off, Get Out, won't come out of your hade even after 2 weeks :). A couple of songs really remind of that early Eternity, Judgement era and will buy old fans. Not my favourite, but objectively, maybe, the best Anathema album ever.


Report this review (#329420)
Posted Monday, November 22, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars I hesitated between 4 and 5 stars, but I felt like this deserves the 5. By far my favorite release of this year, We're Here Because We're Here is very reminiscent of Pink Floyd, yet I'd say that they're much more subtle. Of course, I'm not trying to draw comparisons between the two, but stylistically this album seems to take quite a bit from Pink Floyd.

Regardless, Anathema is well-known for its melancholic, depressing songs. After all, the group's roots were in doom/gothic metal, and they were pioneers of the genre. This album, however, seems to be quite more upbeat while somehow still retaining that gloomy feel of their earlier works.

The album flows seamlessly, like nearly all of Anathema's previous albums, but the recurring imagery and symbols makes this quite a treat. Each track feeds into the next, giving some sort of unified stitching to the album, but the tracks still can serve as separate entities; if one wishes to hear just one of the songs, it can be taken out of context. The real treat, though, is listening to the album as whole, and the individual tracks still then mesh together very well.

I was fairly surprised when I heard this album because I didn't expect something like this from the group. I had heard Judgment prior to this album, and while it was great, I didn't think that they would make an album like this, which lyrically, symbolically, and structurally different from Judgment.

I'd recommend this album to anyone who enjoys atmospheric music. It manages to hold all of the qualities of that genre while never losing the interest of the listener.

Report this review (#342775)
Posted Saturday, December 4, 2010 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars With "We're Here Because We're Here" Anathema just once again confirmed their post metal time is gone. Album's music, tastefully emotional, is a mix of British indie rock rhythmic, post rock dreamy ambient sound and some pop-rock melodies and catchy, but simplified tunes.

Usually not a big fan of such music, in case with this album I think musicians found successful balance, taking some best indie elements from Radiohead (and leaving aside brit -bop flavour), atmospheric liquid guitars sound from Sigur Ros and sensibility and melodics from some best pop-rock.

Sound is dreamy, a bit melancholic, often just beautiful and ... very British. Possibly, the reason is vocals and indie rhythmic. Unhappily second half of the album is more pop-oriented, still good songs anyway.

Not my cup of tea in whole, but really nice and pleasant album. Not for any form of heavy music lovers at all though!

My rating is 3+, almost 3,5.

Report this review (#354897)
Posted Thursday, December 16, 2010 | Review Permalink
Easy Livin
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars For Auld Lang Syne

It took some seven years from the release of "A natural disaster" in 2003 for Anathema to bring forward their next full album. In the interim, several singles were released, all of which are on this album, but until now a record label contract for the album's release proved elusive. The band continued to tour during the interim period, including supporting appearances with Porcupine Tree, and Steve Wilson is once again involved in the mixing of this album.

The album's title is taken from a song sung by the allied troops in World War 1 (to the tune of ("Auld lang syne"), the band feeling that the kindred spirits theme applied also to the ongoing atmosphere within the band. In the period between the albums, John Douglas' sister Lee Douglas joined the band on a permanent basis as a vocalist. Also contributing vocals to this album is Ville Valo of HIM, who sings backing vocals on the single "Angels walk among us". The album is produced by the band themselves, with Dave Stewart adding string arrangements where required. Since it took so long in development, the album went through a number of proposed titles, reportedly including "Horizons", "Paradigm Shift", and "Everything".

Perhaps predictably, "We're here..." sees the band continuing their move further and further away from their doom metal roots... no growling here! The opening "Thin air" sets the scene in this respect perfectly, the light vocals, building guitar, and string orchestration combining to deliver a quite stunning piece of prog pop. The vocal arrangement on the following "Summer night Horizon" is probably the most adventurous the band have attempted, Lee Douglas' contribution being particularly impressive here.

"Dreaming light" will catch even the most ardent Anathema fan off guard. Here we move into territories covered more recently by bands such as Elbow, the painfully melodic roots of the song being enhanced by a perfect vocal delivery and some exquisite lead guitar orchestration. Stunning.

While "Everything" has the same terrific sound of the previous tracks, the song itself is not as strong, placing greater reliance on a chiming guitar motif which fills its latter part. "Angels walk among us" is not the most obvious choice for a single, but that it was nonetheless. The song has a slightly Celtic feel, with a light whispy theme bookending a more powerful core section. "Presence" is a short interlude piece featuring organ and spoken word. The track harks back to the band's early days, but thankfully the speaking is still not growled!

"A simple mistake" is the longest track on the album at 8+ minutes. This piece is more reminiscent of the immediately preceding albums, with a heavy repeating guitar based theme building against a downbeat vocal. "Get Off, Get Out" works on a similar level, the distorted vocals betraying the Steve Wilson connection. "Universal" is arguably the most progressive of the tracks, the band's association with latter day Porcupine Tree coming through clearly. The string arrangement injects an extra dynamic into this plodding dirge, the piece developing well from its quite beginnings through to its majestic conclusion. I found myself reminded of Supertramp's "Crime of the century" at times with this highly appealing track.

The closing "Hindsight" sets out as a post rock number, with spoken female voice set firmly behind a chiming lead guitar theme. In true post rock style, this is driven louder by the predominant drums as it builds. It's hardly the most original track the band have recorded, and here it has the feel of an afterthought, but all the same it is rather enjoyable.

In all, another album of great beauty and superb musicianship from Anathema. The highs which they achieve on the opening tracks prove hard to maintain throughout, but this is a collection of significant quality. Recommended.

Report this review (#375858)
Posted Friday, January 7, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars This album is lighter and more accessable than their previous albums, which are more metal orientated. Is this a special album, because we had to wait 6 years? Right, listen to the music and you will find extreme beauty and great musicianship. The first half of the CD is outstanding because all fits in it's place: vocals, instruments and lyrics. The second part is also good but it couldn't reach the magic of the first 6 songs. For me it's the highlight of 2010 and even after several plays it doesn't bore me at all. "Only you can heal your life, only you can heal inside", are singing the angels among us. For sure 4 stars rounded up till 5. After this you could try their previous album from 2004 "A Natural Disaster", also great, if you can handle it.
Report this review (#412840)
Posted Tuesday, March 8, 2011 | Review Permalink
Symphonic Team
4 stars "We're Here Because We're Here" has ambient passages of tension and release with lyrics that reflect on life and death.

After being absolutely mesmirised by Anathema's excellent "IV" album I was really looking forward to more of the same on this release, and I was not disappointed. In some ways this album is even better than their pinnacle release that floored most listeners.

The soft haunting ambience of Anathema can be uplifting and reflective, as well as encompassing tones of shadowy despair, such as 'Thin Air'. One may be reminded of Radiohead or Muse in places, and the three Cavanagh brothers are at the peak of their powers with this release, as well as the Douglas siblings and Smith who assists on keyboards.

One of the best songs that spring to mind is the raucous 'Summer Night Horizon'; a straight heavy rocker with a cool lyric about the 'space between us'. Very melodic and well executed musicianship throughout. The gorgeous tones of 'Dreaming Light' are beautifully sung by Cavanagh. The piano drives it along with a strong beat. The melody is quite pretty with the orchestrated synths. The sparkling clear vocals sound a bit like Muse or Steven Wilson, alomost like Opeth's quieter moments; there is no growling at all, and in essence the album is more sympohonic than post metal.

The progressive time sig piano motif on 'Everything' locks into a pleasant melody. The vocals are slower and follow the chord structure cautiously with strong harmonies. The atmosphere generated is replete with uplifting feelings of hope. The music builds to a drum heavy rhythm that is not quite in sync with the piano. This odd metronome time augments the estranged lyrical nature that states that the energy is you and me, everything has energy, and that energy is everything when you are near. The lead guitar is played with dexterity and dynamism.

'Angels Walk Among Us' is a soft gentle melody with an ambient synth line, and very nice vocals; "only you can heal your life, only you can heal inside". This builds to a stronger cadence with intonations of pitchy guitar and symphonic strings of sheer beauty.

'Presence' follows straight on with a lecture style narration, stating that one must come to terms with death, birth, and life eternal as a part of a cycle. The spiritual themes are complimented with cathedral organ, a religious atmosphere, and a swathe of symphonic synth lines. The female vocals of Lee are beautiful echoing the same themes in the previous song that only you can heal inside. This works as a sequel.

'A Simple Mistake' is one of the best Anathema songs. It features violining guitars, acoustics, layers of ambient key pads. Cavanagh's vocals are high pitched again, and fractured within the soundscape; "We share trembling between the words, I found my way to fly free from constraints, I have soared through the sky, to see life far below ". The melody is haunting and unforgettable, especially the exquisite chorus; "take a child losing all, to create and deform, a memory in a wild, in a cage." The instrumental is a great guitar riff and chiming keyboard passages. The drums crash in with a metal guitar distortion section darkening the atmosphere, and sealing the deal for me. It is one of the great Anathema tracks that I was compelled to play again as soon as the album ended.

'Get Off Get Out' is one of the heaviest tracks on the album, and is a sound that is similar to Porcupine Tree or Riverside. It has a strong melody and heavy guitars, with a consistent wall of sound generated by synths, bass and pounding drum patterns. It locks into a loud repeated passage with Cavanagh strained through a vocoder effect.

'Universal' begins with ethereal keyboards wrapped around estranged processed vocals; "through the eye of the storm, enter to the light, you're everywhere I go." This tranquil style is downbeat and reflective, the theme is perhaps centred on thinking about what we have done with our lives and what will we take to the grave. It brings the album towards a sobering conclusion that is backed up by the haunting strains of the final track.

'Hindsight' is a virtual instrumental with some commentary from Lee Douglas at the beginning. The music emanates a ray of hope and ends the journey satisfactorily. Overall this album may be Anathema's shining jewel among a treasure of innovative studio releases.

Report this review (#439575)
Posted Wednesday, April 27, 2011 | Review Permalink
3 stars In reviews of previous Anathema albums, I have talked of them having something of a transitional feeling, moving away from doom metal beginnings towards something as yet to be defined. With this, Anathema's 2010 release, one is left with the impression that this is the sound that everything was leading towards. Unfortunately for the band, I'm not altogether sure it entirely does them justice.

Before you panic too much, it still sounds like Anathema, and one still does not feel too awkward praising the band for the consistent quality of their output. It isn't a bad album (I'm not sure the Cavanagh brothers are capable of such a thing!) but it is disappointing compared to the quality of their previous handful of albums.

I think the problem is that, though the lyrical content does remain as bleak as ever, at least for a decent portion of the album, there is something oddly light and airy about their current sound. It's just a little too sunny.

Ironically, my favourite track on here is the beautifully romantic 'dreaming light', a delightfully atypical (for the band) exploration of the positive side of love and relationships. Not all human interaction, it seems, must be laced with a sense of isolation and loneliness. Perhaps, though, this track has the advantage of coming after the two more typically gloomy openers, and so has the sense of being a contrast. That this lighter mood continues for the next several tracks gives the album overall a slightly sickly-sweet feel, at least in contrast to the expectation of the emotions an Anathema album should produce.

That said, it is a grower. Given enough listens, I think the musicianship will shine enough in one's mind to make this a well-appreciated album. Similarly, the band deserves praise for showing that they're not an emotional one-trick pony.


Report this review (#457501)
Posted Sunday, June 5, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars 10/10

Anathema back from a break of six years and gives us one of the most impressive albums of recent years.

We're Here Because We're Here is my first contact with Anathema, one of the most recognizable metal bands existing experimental. And this is the first type of contact with whom I do not regret. Honestly it's hard to believe that they've been firmly in the realm of doom metal when this album is so ... bright.

The sound seems We're Here... is a mix of post-rock and alternative rock. Wow, that's good. It really is a stunning musicality, which surprised me and won me over. I never had any desire to know the Anathema, but this album is a masterpiece ... by which I and many people did not expect.

I think the main quality of this album are the vocals. Where in the past they were dark and gothic this is quite the opposite: clean vocals and soft, composed of male and female voices, my God ... this is wonderful! Moreover the instruments are very good, guitars, drums, bass and keyboards adds to the atmosphere of this album.

And the word "atmosphere" is perfect to describe the desired the music of this album. One example is the opener Thin Air, in my opinion the best of the disk (which is hard to say, since all are good). It opens with a melodic guitar riff before the vocals come in and experience a kind of accumulation, until the song explodes into a very rhythmic section, until things settle down to three minutes. There is a new build, but this is much more dramatic, and when the song explodes again I get there at 4:34 tremendously ecstatic! A great way to get this masterpiece!

Summer Night Horizon is a more energetic song with a very heavy feeling that despite the climate to counteract the album is really catchy - I especially love the guitar solo there is aggressive by two minutes. Now Dreaming Light is one of the best love songs I've ever heard, and the most beautiful thing on this record is - is simply deslumbranete. Everything is one of the singles from the album, another beautiful song with a focus on powerful vocal harmonies between Vincent Cavanagh and Lee Douglas. Angels Walk Among Us is the next single and it was my gateway to this work of art, again showing strong vocals. It goes in Presence, which seems more like a speech, what would sound boring, if not for its climate and atmospheric closure - stringed instruments in the background while Lee Douglas sings beautifully.

A Simple Mistake is the longest here, a song full of melancholy in his first dramatic part and the second, which is an instrumental "kick-ass." Get Off, Get Out is another clue "adventurous", opening with a slow guitar riff before the vocals come strange repeating the title: behold, female voices make a break and the song is below the typical structure of the other. The album ends with two powerful songs in the vein of post-rock of Sigur Rós: Universal is the climax of this work, opening with atmospheric cello before moving to vocals full of melancholy. Actually this song follows the structure of A Simple Mistake, but its end is even more dramatic instrumental, and leaves me speechless. Finally we have the only instrumental album of all (well, not entirely instrumental - and there are some recordings of voices and efeeitos Lee Douglas makes a speech at the end), Hindsight, an outcome that is more appropriate after all the excitement of the previous track . this song is more dominated by guitar, and it does an excellent job with a strong and intricate solo. A more appropriate order for one of my favorite albums of the past - and perhaps all - time.

5 stars without any hesitation.

Report this review (#538078)
Posted Friday, September 30, 2011 | Review Permalink
3 stars After reading so many wonderful high reviews on this site for this album, I decided that I needed to give it a listen. While, I am not a true fan of much Experimental/Post Metal bands, this is obviously not a regular offering from that genre. I would classify it as more crossover prog or prog-related. Melodic, tuneful, but no screaming or growling to be found. I really enjoyed the first few tracks, especially THIN AIR, but I found the rest of the album to be just more of the same. Not enough variety, the songs kinda run together with few memories lingering. I appreciate the ambience created, but I prefer my songs to leave some kind of taste in my ears. Good or bad. Here, Amathema have fallen in between. Nothing too great but not bad either. 3 stars. Looking to check out some other of their works to see if I may be missing something.
Report this review (#796399)
Posted Sunday, July 29, 2012 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars "The Thin Air" weaves a forever spiraling vortex of uncensored emotion, with a devastatingly accurate vision of symphonic expression, fueled by majestic vocals and pulsating instrumentation that does not fear ambiance or atmosphere. The vocal choir effects are masterfully omnipresent, swirling with complete abandon and lusty enterprise. Huge squalls of sound slam mercilessly onto the hull of a gorgeous melody in total paroxysm. A tremendous opener, a song for eternity.

"Summernight Horizon" shoves the mood into overdrive, caressing dissonant and oblique rhythms to hypnotic effect ("the space between us") and carving an anthem-like crescendo of bliss. "In blood red skies" indeed! Lyrically the band has never fared better. The music is rich, cleverly blended to form a colossal whole and orchestrated to please.

"Dreaming Light" is mournfully redolent with deep melancholia (a trait this band owns in luminous spades), Vincent Cavanagh singing like a master, a prog ballad to cherish for evermore and a whopping chorus to expunge for! Incredibly overpowering, this is Anathema's crowning achievement! The lullaby outro is outright daring and mesmerizing.

"Everything" is all about the vocals, en masse or individually as Lee Douglas takes the duet role seriously, echoing the most celestial of tones from the instrumentalists and elevating another haunting melody. "Angels Walk Among Us" serves as a quasi-continuation of the same exalted delirium.

"Presence" is short , sweet and misty, an overture for the next piece. Another massive highlight is the epic "A Simple Mistake" as well as the demo version later in the bonus tracks) are both spectacular accounts of the maturity of the musicianship and the seductive quality of the haunting melodies that grab you by the jugular. Once again, the vocal work is untainted supernatural, deeply resonant and utterly resolute. The rash guitar phrasings ratchet up the adrenalin, the drums bashing along as the string synths weave their magic. A career track, this one.

Drummer John Douglas pens the next 2 tracks, a shift in energy is most noticeable, more angular and more rock, his manic drumming leading the charge, evident on the rather nasty "Get Off Get Out" and even more so on the brooding "Universal", a more sprawling piece, almost ambient-like in a cinematic way perhaps but proposing a colossal vocal performance that transcends the usual superlatives.

"Hindsight" finds Daniel Cavanagh intent on reminding everyone that he is a hot guitarist besides a brilliant composer and arranger. The impenetrable atmospherics are quite experimental, clearly flung into deeper realms of progressive creativity, seeking to maintain the tension instead of slicing it and dicing it into mini-suites.

Three bonus tracks adorn the finale, reworking "A Simple Mistake", "Angels Walk Among Us" and "Presence" into more demo-like atmosphere. The mix master is prog alchemist Steve Wilson and he applies a massive amount of sheen and veneer to the proceedings, creating a luminous sound, purposefully trebled to the nth degree.

A brilliant album for the ages.

5 Sigmund Freuds

Report this review (#856552)
Posted Sunday, November 11, 2012 | Review Permalink
4 stars I discovered this album (and at the same time this band) because it was mixed by Steven Wilson. I remember that I didn't went to my philosophy class that day to go to my local reccord store and I end up buying this album just because the the man that owned the store said to me it was great. And it is indeed, in my opinion, a great album. All the songs just flows out one after each other so perfectly and each pieces have a really strong personality.

The opener ''Thin Air'' starts the album and right away gives the tone. Etheral voices and atmospheric guitar melodies with a strong progression, it really make you feel you are having some transcendantal experience with the universe; and that is a subject they seems to particulary loves.

''Summernight Horizon'' has that same strong feeling with nice drumming and guitar chords, it pretty much continue in the same way the album have started.

Then comes the nice piano driven ''Dreaming Light''. Appart from being another song talking about how light just fill your soul of peace, the music still speaks for itself. It is uplifting and has a great production with the solo that I particulary likes.

''Everything'' is also a nice song with some female backing vocal that gives a great feel to the song.

The two next song are for me two part of the same song. ''Angels Walk Amough Us/Presence'' could is a strong moment of that album. The first part have great guitars melodies and the vocals are really good. The song flow likes the others, in a stream of peace and contemplation. It could sound cliché, but on this album Anathema really arrive to make the feel reach out to the listenner. ''Presence'' is one of my favorite moment. The organ just start with guitar in the background, and while Ville Valo of HIM talks about the eternity of live, the organ just go stronger until Lee Douglas start singing ''Only you can heal your live'' on a lean back drum. Kind of spiritual I would say.

Then the next song is more a come back to earth. ''A Simple Mistake'' is another great produced song with all the elements we have seen on the other songs and keep the progression of the album.

''Get Off Get Out'' really bring something new in the rhythm we the vocals and the more heavy guitar parts. In all, it gives another punch to the listenning experience.

''Universal'' is also very interesting. Starting slowly with orchestral synth and vocals, it continue with a calm drum part and grow stronger as the song progress and gives a great guitar solo. Then it falls down to let a powerful intrumental part to take place.

Starting with radio interferences until another speach about spirituality is spoken, ''Hindsight'' is a perfect final for this reccord. It is calm and uplifting and the guitar then just gives all of its power on a flying melodie to end the song same way it has started, calmly, and peacefuly.

I would rate this album 4.5/5. The music is on all tracks very well performed and interesting, but the lyrics could have been some time more diversified. But in the end, this reccord is an highlight from 2010 and it essential to give it a listen.

Report this review (#936038)
Posted Tuesday, March 26, 2013 | Review Permalink
2 stars Every so often I decide to give late-period Anathema another chance, reasoning that the high regard they are held in by so many prog fans must have some justification. Every time I come away mystified. To give them credit on We're Here Because We're Here, they at least ease off a little on the "echoing telephone" vocal effect so beloved by Pink Floyd imitators everywhere; it's still here and still overused, but it's somewhat quieter and less blatant this time. However, the musical package as a whole consists of slick, smooth and absolutely unthreatening melodic rock. If you like your prog to lack bite or an edge, if you prefer your rock music completely emasculated and unchallenging, if you really don't want your Floyd-influenced ex-metal prog albums to surprise you in any way, I guess We're Here Because We Here more than merits the good reviews it's received. For my part, though, this just doesn't measure up.
Report this review (#948137)
Posted Tuesday, April 23, 2013 | Review Permalink
3 stars Anathema tackle the theme of spirituality in their appropriately titled 2010 release "We're Here Because We're Here". It's a subject I love to hear bands work on. We all have our own take on spirituality and it's fascinating to hear how it inspires artists both musically and lyrically.

"Thin Air" is a great way to start the album. Its floating intro starts us on our journey and as it ramps up beautifully it sets the stage for the rest of the album.

Unfortunately, the album does have some issues with consistency. Songs like "Everything" are just a bit too sugar sweet and lacking in substance for my liking.

"Angels Walk Among Us" and "Presence" are really two halves of the same song. I'm not sure why they were split, unless it was an attempt to generate more radio-friendly length songs. In any case these two songs work beautifully together. In particular, "Presence" is a high point of the album. Here the spirituality of the music is almost palpable, at times spine-tingling. A spoken word sample is used to great effect as well, with the message "Death is the opposite of birth; Life is eternal".

I must take a moment to dissect this statement because it's integral to the song. "Death is the opposite of birth; Life is eternal". The first part of this refrain is logical enough. I'm not sure how we make the leap to "Life is eternal" from there however. The second point can't be logically derived from the first, contrary to what the narrator seems to think. It is a pleasant, but utlimately whimsical fantasy. I make a point of it because it is the only part of the song "Presence" that pulls me out of the moment. In any case it is still a wonderful piece of music.

"A Simple Mistake" flows on from "Presence" perfectly and is almost like a continuation of the previous two tracks. It is the lyrical pinnacle of the album with lines such as "Think for yourself, you know what you need in this life" offering some poignant insights into our interactions with our own inner beliefs, the people and the world around us.

Overall a good, albeit inconsistent album with some lovely moments.

Report this review (#948867)
Posted Wednesday, April 24, 2013 | Review Permalink
2 stars My opinion about this band has dramatically changed from their debut EP "Crestfallen" till their great "Eternity" album. From disaster to glory?

I have rated their last three albums (from "Judgment" to "A Natural Disaster") with three stars and this one is rather disappointing in terms of passion and great music. Most of the songs are on the soft edge and lack of feeling. It is really amazing to listen to the band's output between 1992 and this 2001 release.

It is hard for me to depict a great song out there. Most of them are melancholic, mellow and IMHHO, just boring ("Angels Walk Among Us"). The extremely poor (but thanks god very short) "Presence" is another painful moment of this album and is not very encouraging for the remaining part of this work.

The first (and only) great moment of this album is the moving "Simple Mistake". Mostly thanks to its wonderful closing part. A great piece of music but to be honest it is not enough to raise this album to a high level on this site. And it is not the next "Get Off?" that can change my mind. Some very sub par "Cure" (you know: the one from "A Forest") with some hard edges though.

I guess that some of you could cope with the good and melodic "Universal". But, to be honest seven minutes out of an album it is rather short to make a fuss about it. Right? The long and mostly uninspired (especially in the opening section) closing number will not change my mind about this weak effort. Two stars. No more.

Report this review (#1015858)
Posted Saturday, August 10, 2013 | Review Permalink
5 stars The sound of Anathema has landed on a regular basis of melancholia, sadness, depression and nostalgia that now it sounds completely different to early Anathema. Now, I wouldn't say they still play METAL, but more a combination of psychedelic / space prog and post rock. We're Here Because We're Here was produced by Steven Wilson and continues in the vein of 'A Natural Disaster'. An excellent album full of of all the things I mentioned above. The best songs are the first seven ones, the rest of the songs are more regular but good. And three of my top favorite songs of Anathema appear in this album: Dreaming Light (really sad song), Everything and Simple Mistake. A very good reason to exist in this world is definitely the existence of Anathema!
Report this review (#1029211)
Posted Wednesday, September 4, 2013 | Review Permalink
5 stars We're Here Because We're Here, that's 'A Simple Mistake'.

This is not a product that can be described as Experimental, Doom or Death Metal, as some early works of Anathema, whose meaning is 'excommunication, removal'. No creepy shouts or dark. In addition, there are only occasional heavy guitars on several parts and well chosen ('Thin Air' and 'Summer Night Horizon'), fulfilling an essential role in transmitting the required passion, with great meaning and melody. Mixed by Steven Wilson and it´s perceived. Taking into account my personal taste, I prefer this stage without any doubt. I define as Art Rock with some Alternative Rock and Progressive necessary, not in the traditional sense of the genre.

Particularly there is no track that would qualify as inferior. 'Angels Walk Among Us' is a unique pearl in the discography of the group, a good synthesis of the best of the band for me. The song achieved a remarkable atmosphere. Wrenching vocals, emotion, melody and power in perfect balance, and passionate. An answer to the title of the work. 'A Simple Mistake' is great too.

'Dreaming Light' and 'Everything' are amazing, delicate and sweeping. 'Universal' and 'Hindsight' are the perfect closure. The remaining nine tracks contain the same parameters, and convey a deep melancholy. Solid composition, skillful parts of Piano, lots of Keyboards, forceful Drums, dynamic and harmonic Guitars. Transcendent!

Report this review (#1159634)
Posted Wednesday, April 9, 2014 | Review Permalink
5 stars My ALL-TIME Greatest #4

Anathema formed in 1990 as a doom metal band, initially going by the name Pagan Angel, so when this album was released they had already a long road behind them, and a few line-up changes as well.
And if you go back and listen to the previous works, their sound evolved also a lot from the original.
I wont try to label the present work, its beyond my capacity (and does it matter, really) but I can and will tell you the feeling I get each and every time ? EMOTION ? sublime and pure Emotion.

Global Appraisal

These young fellows surely know how to move you: the lyrics and alike the music sound so intimate and emotional that I get a sense of familiarity and belonging, like they're playing and singing just for me, it's the better I can explain (or try to).

The band, now six with a permanent female singer for the first time, build their sound with a major support on guitars, which get contributions from 3 of the members plus the bassist.

Effects aplenty, undeniably modern arrangements and production but never, never for the sake of showing off.
The sense of contention is ever present notwithstanding the frequent emotional climaxes; in a way the music is slave to the feeling and not the opposite.


Vocals are performed in a heartfelt style, particularly well achieved by Vincent yet with good support from his brother Danny and also Lee shines in a few interventions.

The orchestral arrangements are tastily crafted and suit perfectly the predominant melancholic mood.

The lyrics are mostly introspective, filled with emotion and intention which, we know from Vincent own words to a interview, was also the drive to the choice of the title itself:

"The title 'We're Here Because We're Here' is inspired by a song that was first heard across the Allied trenches of World War One. Sung to the tune of 'Auld Lang Syne', the song served as a defiant rallying-call keeping up the morale of those who had to endure the incessant carnage and almost unimaginable horror. The spirit behind those words, and the deep questions they raised immediately struck all of us."

Note: Classic Rock magazine "Prog Album of the Year" 2010

Report this review (#1488460)
Posted Wednesday, November 18, 2015 | Review Permalink
The Crow
4 stars We had to wait seven years for Anathema to come back... And they returned with one of their best albums!

Taking the deep and mature sound of the underrated A Natural Disaster, Anathema developed their sound a steep further with the help of the mixing of Steven Wilson, achieving not only their best sounding release to date, but also their most homogeneous in terms of songwriting and quality.

Thin Air opens We're Here Because We're Here energically, with beautiful lyrics and enough progressive moments to satisfy the most demanding fans of the band. The general ambient of this song is a less dark and melancholic the in previous albums, offering a surprising change in the band's direction, a lot more optimistic and bright. Just like the cover of the album!

Summer Night Horizon brings back the best moments of A Natural Disaster with mellow melodies but intense drums and a precious duet between Vincent and Lee, confirming that this album of 2003 was an advance of what the band would later do. Dreaming Light is even better, and a tremendous proof of how Vincent Cavanagh improved his voice through the years. Maybe the lyrics are a bit corny, but that's not so important while we are hearing the marvelous guitar and keyboard solo.

Everything was a single that we heard years before We're Here Because We're Here was released, and a great song despite its obvious Coldplay influences. It's also a very good act in live performances of the band. Angels Walk Among Us is my favorite song of the album. Another sentimental lyrics with splendid guitar melodies in the background. Prodigious!

Presence is musically a follow up of the previous track, but it contains some kind of philosophical speech in consonance with the mood of the album. A Simple Mistake is a bit more melancholic, a bit in the vein of Judgement but without reaching the best moment of this album. A good track nevertheless, with strong guitars towards the end.

Get Off Get Out is the most experimental moment of the album, and also one of its lowest moment. Is not a bad song, just anodyne? Luckily Universal is a better. A orchestral song with beautiful singing from Vincent and a very powerful second half. This should have been the ending of the album, because Hindsight is just pleasant, but not brilliant. And also a bit too long, making a good second half of the album, but not so outstanding as the first five songs.

Conclusion: despite its weak moments, We're Here Because We're Here is a very good Anathema album. Sometimes even excellent. It introduced a brighter and more optimistic stage for the band, which would encounter an excellent follow-up on Weather Systems. It has also a very competent production and mixing (the hand of Steve Wilson is there) and even the sometimes showy lyrics can't ruin the excellent songwriting that the band achieved during its almost seven years without releasing an album.

Best Tacks: Thin Air, Summer Night Horizon, Dreaming Light, Everything, Angels Walk Among Us.

My rating: ****

Report this review (#1765744)
Posted Monday, July 24, 2017 | Review Permalink
Eclectic / Prog Metal / Heavy Prog Team
4 stars So, with this album, we are up to Anathema's 8th full album release. They have come a long way from their black metal beginnings. This album is many times more positive and less morose than their previous releases, which tended to be quite dark, even if when they had separated from the heavy sound they started with. The songs now are much mellower, yet they are replete with emotion and passion.

The 3 Cavanaugh brothers are still present, as they have been most of the time through the band's history. Vincent and Daniel still share vocal duties, but they have added another vocalist in Lee Douglas as a full time member of the band. This is the main reason for the brighter feel of this album, but she is an excellent vocalist, so all is good. You will notice her providing harmony in most of the tracks, and with her past guest vocalist duties with the band, it only seems natural to hear her singing as a regular band member.

This album is so well orchestrated and produced. Steven Wilson, of course had a hand in mixing the album, which explains the clarity of every instrument and sound. Interestingly enough, the album does not take on the sound of a Wilson project so much, because of it's positive feel, where most of Wilson's projects tend to be dark. The feel of the tracks is expansive and full, with many places being almost orchestra-like. The keyboards stand out a lot more in the tracks, but don't worry, there are plenty of places where the guitars kick in making the impact of many of the tracks even that much more solid.

Now, with all of this amazing musicianship, there are weaknesses here that weren't as apparent in the previous album, and that is a tendency to get too poppy sounding towards the middle of the album. In addition to this, 'Presence' is an annoying spoken word track with organ supplying back up. Fortunately it is a short track.

Things do get better again after the weak middle however. You know everything is back on track when 'A Simple Mistake' starts playing, and there is a collective sigh of relief. So tracks 4, 5, and 6 might be weaker, they aren't so bad to ruin the album. 'A Simple Mistake' has the feel of one of Pink Floyd's better tracks with a guitar solo that is not only awesome, but very progressive too. And the amazing songs continue after this on through the final track. It's almost as if the band is closer to Symphonic Prog than it is Post Metal.

There is so much to love about this album, and I have always loved Anathema when they are at their most expressive, which happens many times in this album. The weak middle part of the album does bring it down a notch, but for top quality, emotional and passionate music, the rest of the album should not be missed simply because of that. Unfortunately, it takes away from what could have been a 5 star album. When it's at its best, this is still high quality emotional prog.

Report this review (#2023799)
Posted Monday, September 10, 2018 | Review Permalink
5 stars Together with "Weather Systems", this is the Anathema's peak. Incredible musicianship and experience accumulated through the years and a long break between the albums caused the band to spur extreme motivation to create a high quality music. The vocals have dramatically improved - melodic singing with harmonies and the inclusion of pleasant female vocals. The music sounds playful, mainly optimistic, adventurous enough and times has heavy riffs that harken back to the previous albums. If melancholy is introduced, then there are no traces of desperation in the music (I don't usually follow the lyrics). New influences have to play: alternative rock a la Incubus (hear track Get Off, Get Out that sounds so American) and post rock that was only present on the last track on the 2004's Natural Disaster. "Universal" is a slow-paced track with strings, gradually becoming a dark post-rock flavour. "Hindsight" together with "Violence" from "A natural disaster" are my favourite Anathema instrumental tracks and showcase perfect balance of guitar-driven and keyboard-led notes. While the latter is more complex, "Hindsight" sparks a feeling of harmony each time I listen to it. The guitar melody is simple yet amazing and effective.

If you want to start with Anathema and have an accessible but still progressive work, start with this one.

Report this review (#2042942)
Posted Thursday, October 11, 2018 | Review Permalink

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