Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography
Anathema - A Sort of Homecoming CD (album) cover



Experimental/Post Metal

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Bookmark and Share
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars UK band ANATHEMA have been around for a quarter of a century by now, initially starting out as a doom metal band and then over time developing into one of the more cherished bands in the progressive rock scene. They have a dozen studio productions to their name at this point, as well as a good handful of live productions on CD and DVD. "A Sort of Homecoming" is the most recent of the latter, and was released through UK label Kscope in the fall of 2015.

This review covers the audio parts of this package only. This production is mostly sold as a CD/DVD/Blu-Ray package, so apart from those who buy the vinyl edition there's a concert movie part of this package as well, but as we live in an age where most promos are digital only that part of the package isn't covered here. It probably merits mentioning that the DVD/Blu-Ray concert movie was directed by Lasse Hoilie though, a name normally associated with quality products in such matters.

For those not already familiar with the nature of this live production, you should be aware that this isn't a recording of a typical live Anathema show. This concert was recorded on one of a series of shows where the band performed their material in a rather untypical manner that one might describe as semi-acoustic. And rather than merely replacing the electric guitar with an acoustic one and doing minor adjustments, at least from what I can tell the band have opted to rearrange their material to suit a mostly acoustic performance in this case. The drum patterns and bass are much more careful, the keyboards are mainly used to create fragile, atmospheric laden details, there is a wee bit of electric guitar details at hand too unless my ears deceives me, but then strictly limited to add frail, delicate nuances to the performances. Acoustic guitar and piano alternate between having the major instrument roles, and on occasion cello and violin are added to provide additional depth and scope, presumably instead of keyboards.

Anathema isn't a band that are strangers to delicate or even acoustic arrangements of course, as quite a few of their compositions may start off if not quite in an acoustic manner then at least in a comparable one, building from a fragile state into creations of a more majestic magnificence. These traits are present also when those compositions are explored in a semi-acoustic manner, with elegant build-ups a key feature for quite a few of the songs here. But the dramatic and emotional peaks are rather more subtle on this performance, the majestic passages more delicate in nature, stately and sophisticated rather than highly emotional to the point of being borderline overpowering.

This change in perspective ultimately means that the songs as a whole are more dependent on the main vocalists to carry the songs and to add the tension and emotional impact needed to maintain interest. Both main vocalists in the band are quality vocalists of course, and in this case it would appear that they both had a good night performance wise as well, both of them providing enthralling vocals as standalone vocalists as well as when alternating for in the main vocal roles or when interacting to create vocal harmonies. In fact it would appear that all the band members had a good night for this recording, as the performance is just about as spotless as you can expect from a live performance. That they have opted to include the sounds of the audience as well is a nice touch in my book, rather than fading out and in again in between songs the spoken words from stage and audience reactions and responses are captured, from what I can hear at least, in full. Which is a nice touch in my book, giving the people who buy this package a true to life experience of how the entire concert actually was.

Just how much you will enjoy this production ultimately comes down to just how fond you are of this band, as well as how fond you are of a band that pulls of a set of semi-acoustic renditions of their material. If you are fond of rock and metal bands that rearrange their material to suit an acoustic performance this is a production that merits a check, and if you are a fan of this band this is a concert production that will give you a new and possibly revealing experience of their material, and then in a good manner I would suspect. A quality production, at least when it comes to the sound recording and the performance it documents, and I'd be much surprised if the video capture of this performance is any less intriguing.

Report this review (#1490622)
Posted Saturday, November 21, 2015 | Review Permalink
4 stars This acoustic set is just stellar! it is the perfect type of atmosphere for Lee Douglas' angelic voice to soar. There is such sparse instrumentation that this performance is all about the vocals, and the excellent songwriting that Anathema has compiled over the years. Vincent Cavanagh delivers a fantastic vocal performance as well, and you get some stunning duets with the two of them. He is an excellent vocalist, and has grown from the doom roots. I love Anathema albums with full instrumentation, but this is a real treat that adds variety for any collection. It is a must listen for fans of the group, and an excellent entry into progressive with a singer-songwriter appeal. I highly recommend this magical performance.
Report this review (#1696761)
Posted Saturday, February 25, 2017 | Review Permalink

ANATHEMA A Sort of Homecoming ratings only

chronological order | showing rating only

Post a review of ANATHEMA A Sort of Homecoming

You must be a forum member to post a review, please register here if you are not.


As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: — jazz music reviews and archives | — metal music reviews and archives

Donate monthly and keep PA fast-loading and ad-free forever.