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Anathema Universal album cover
4.52 | 155 ratings | 5 reviews | 68% 5 stars

Essential: a masterpiece of
progressive rock music

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DVD/Video, released in 2013

Songs / Tracks Listing

Untouchable, Part 1
Untouchable, Part 2
Thin Air
Dreaming Light
Lightning Song
The Storm Before the Calm
A Simple Mistake
The Beginning and the End
A Natural Disaster
One Last Goodbye
Fragile Dreams

Emotional Winter / Wings of God
Internal Landscapes
Fragile Dreams

Line-up / Musicians

Vincent Cavanagh
Daniel Cavanagh
John Douglas
Jamie Cavanagh
Lee Douglas
Daniel Cardoso

Thanks to pianoman for the addition
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ANATHEMA Universal ratings distribution

(155 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(68%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(24%)
Good, but non-essential (5%)
Collectors/fans only (1%)
Poor. Only for completionists (3%)

ANATHEMA Universal reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by rdtprog
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Heavy / RPI / Symphonic Prog Team
4 stars This 2 hours and twenty minutes concert was filmed in Bulgaria, 22nd September 2012. For those who don't know the band, this is a metal rock atmospheric band that has developed a melodic sound with heavy passages. Most of their songs starts with a theme that his slowly building in intensity with some soaring guitars. There's always in their music some well placed vocals lines, that create a melancholic feel. There's not any long guitar solo, if any, in this show, i have counted only one and it was short, in the beautiful song "Universal". If you prefer some demonstration of technicality, you won't find it here. The musicians create a music that take his strength in a dynamic that is gradually accompanied by the expression of emotion and some nice vocal melodies.

I have enjoyed very much the first part of the concert, because the band played a lot of their two latest releases: "We're here because We're here" and "Weather Systems", who was for me my favorites albums from their long career. The picture in high definition is nice, but they didn't make a surround mix, which is odd for a Blu-Ray release. The camera work gives you plenty of close shots and a view from high above the stage. The addition of the orchestra is perfect for this kind of music, who contains some slow and quiet parts, and in this case the orchestra can be heard clearly, but sometimes when the music is heavier, their sound is overwhelmed. Also featured on this video, a acoustic concert "A Night at the Union Chapel". So, this DVD/Blu-Ray is a lot better that their two previous DVDs and a must for Anathema's fans or any progressive rock fan who enjoyed this kind of music.

Review by Second Life Syndrome
5 stars Anathema continues to amaze me in a myriad of ways, all while giving the middle finger to those that say they aren't "prog enough". Give me a break. This recently revolutionized group is now upbeat, dark, and profound all at the same time. I think one word describes their tone now: HOPE. And that is exactly what you will experience on this new DVD from Anathema.

This special night lasted over two hours, and was filmed in a spectacular venue in Bulgaria. That's not the important information, though. The vital thing to realize about this concert is that these guys play their hearts out like no other band I've seen in some time. The air is thick; yes, even dense, with the fog, the emotion, the melody, and the beauty. The band plays a plethora of tracks mainly from their last few releases, of which I consider Weather Systems to be the greatest. Every song sounds wonderful, and the production is flawless. I also must not forget to mention the accompanying orchestra that is playing behind them. That's right, the beautiful strings on Anathema's albums come to life with soaring violin work that weaves in and out of Daniel's soulful guitar work.

The band plays just about every track I wanted to hear, except The Lost Child. I really can't complain, though, as most of the songs they play are superior to their respective album versions. For me, the towering achievement on this DVD is A Simple Mistake. This performance is utterly sublime, and the heights that Vincent reaches towards the end are more than impressive. My jaw was hanging open literally. But, it was for most of the show.

I feel that each and every musician here put on an amazing show. Vincent's vocals are sublime, and also supremely difficult. It shows, but he pulls it off remarkably well, especially after singing for two hours. The female vocalist, Lee, is on her game, although I will say that it took her a little while to warm her voice. However, she nails some really difficult parts with ease, and you can see her smile knowingly. Daniel's guitars are flawless and his relationship with the crowd perfect, and Daniel Cardoso's keys are unbelievably still separate from the orchestra's sound. There are just so many layers that can be heard that it takes your breath away sometimes. John also gives a incredibly strong performance on drums, which I might add are mixed perfectly. Lastly, Jamie's bass lines lay a foundation for everything else. Seriously, they all build off of his strong bass.

Indeed, "Universal" is something special. I love the part where they have the crowd all take out their cell phones, hence the front picture on the DVD. I was skeptical that it would work, but it ends up looking ethereal. Speaking of the package, the DVD comes with an audio cd of the concert, minus some songs. Both discs come in a beautiful digipak that I feel is pretty special with its wonderful design and the stunning photography---a wonderful package for a very special night. I think this DVD is essential not only for every Anathema fan, but for every prog fan and every fan of excellent music. It's an amazing show, and shouldn't be missed. Seriously.

Review by tszirmay
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Now we get serious, no more playing games with words and music! This is simply ridiculous, a DVD for the ages, a video rendition of a band that has stunned the rock music world, even beyond progressive, ruling an underground realm of sublime and poignant music. Two years ago, I had only one Anathema album, which I reviewed and enjoyed immensely, 'Judgment' which elicited my initial interest but the clincher came when while traveling in Hungary in September 2012, I scoured potential dates for a live concert there , as it was a dedication of mine that also includes opera and operetta, saw a Budapest gig listed in a venue made famous by being a moored boat on the Danube holding 800 people and immediately conspired with my mom to get tickets (which she attended, BTW!). Yeah, she loved it actually, a truthful remark that made a huge impression on me. As if good music can even exist within a former doom-metal band but these guys have evolved into something quite almighty. So speaking of spectacular, this Plovdiv, Bulgaria spectacle was identical to the show in the Hungarian capital, except here the Cavanagh boys opted to test the orchestral market and inked a support deal for this one show. This was not a new exercise as the Liverpool lads had even issued an all-orchestral studio album rework of past tunes, 'Falling Deeper' which met with huge critical acclaim.

I generally stay away from track by track descriptions of live concerts simply because I consider it a whole instead of a sum of its parts, a total audio/visual encapsulation of what a rock event should be. Suffice to say, that 'Untouchable Part 1 and 2' is a nuclear strike opener, an explosion of unbridled emotion and utter heartstring pull if I ever heard one, going straight for the musical aorta from the get-go. Bravo! The whole show is a finely crafted roller coaster of emotions, highlights being the breath taking 'Dreaming in Light', owner of a Vince vocal that is shockingly visual and a melody for eternity, the simply sublime 'Everything' allied with some lush Bulgarian orchestrations, the thunderous 'Simple Mistake' with its stark emotional contrasts and raging lyrics, the almost unbearable angst of 'the Beginning and the End' , the moody title track 'Universal' with serene violins urging the pain forward 'through the eye of the storm' , a tremendously tempered piece that again reaches the highest peaks of passion and feeling. The pacing (aka set list) constantly escapes formula as exemplified by the robotic calculations of 'Closer' , an arrangement more inclined towards the electronica sheen mode led a Vince Cavanagh vocal heavily vocoded and resonating metallically. Mesmerizing and hypnotic, Danny urges the crowd into a frenzy, unbelievably intense and fan-tastic! The lighters appear to welcome their phenomenal signature theme 'A Natural Disaster', conducted by an exquisite Lee Douglas vocal, heavily orchestrated and barely restrained clanging guitar riff, a further duet with Vince that takes beauty into the deepest universe. The pace is doomy and hyper-sedate, giving Danny a platform to show off his considerable guitar skills while the rhythm section pounds relentlessly. 'That was very beautiful!' states Vince at the end of the song. Yeah, what a typical Brit understatement! 'Deep' gets very deep and very angry, a brief reminder of their gloomy past, a strident axe solo only adds to the prize. The mournful 'One Last Goodbye' showcases this band's mastery over poignancy and sentiment in the simplest rock format, forged with orchestral brilliance and gut-wrenching vocal angst ('I still feel the pain'). Seeing the crowd sing along will bring tears to any red blooded human being. It's so incredible touching! Scorch the outer skies of delirium with 'Flying', a howling escapade of gushing sensations, drenched in bulldozing expression, unrelenting feeling and searing positivism. It is clear that both audience, band and orchestra have merged into one ecstatic maelstrom of common exaltation and it's beautiful to watch! At one point Vince covers his mouth with his hand in complete rapture! OMG, atheists, OMG! Fireworks complete the moment, with the entire Plovdiv Philharmonic Orchestra members beaming in sheer delight! Ball in throat, gulp! 'Fragile Dreams' is a fitting finale, a lovely song full of melancholic regret, a moment in time that will never reappear again, at least in this lifetime, a reminder that every second is precious and unique.

The encore is entirely devoted to older, harder edged tunes from their early depressive days. 'Panic' is 'ard and 'eavy rocker, a monolithic bruiser closer to Hawkwind than Floyd, tortured lyrics and raging delivery. Boom! A couple of 'Judgment' tracks, 'Emotional Winter' and 'Wings of God' only add more harsh pleasure to the already overflowing glee, even though 'the scars are barely concealed' and 'the past is far away'. The near-death experience of 'Internal Landscapes' with opaque atmospherics and narration is a sheer delight and a final, heavier rendition of 'Fragile Dreams' completes the show.

What is categorically fascinating is that here is a Liverpool band that went from super destructive/depressive gothic 'sturm und drang', loaded with nihilistic and negative lyrics and delivered as if playing for a funeral crowd, morphing into a sun shining , bright , life loving explosion of passion. The transition to brighter pastures really came through graphically on their recent masterpiece 'We Are Here Because We Are Here' and furthered on 'Weather Systems'. There is little doubt in my prog mind that Anathema have reached a zenith of accomplishment with this jaw-dropping package and that they currently occupy the top spot in the progressive pantheon of stellar bands. They have arrived! I see no one even daring to approach this level of genius.

This is not just a live concert DVD, it's a musical masterpiece! If you ever decide to own one video, this is the ONE!

5 galaxies

Latest members reviews

4 stars Amazing show! Very unique in a lot of rather unusual ways. The most obvious one is that it features an orchestra. The orchestra does add a lot, but it's used very sparingly. In fact, almost to the point of me being tempted to say that they're squandering the opportunity. However, after liste ... (read more)

Report this review (#1207113) | Posted by Tristan Zaba | Wednesday, July 9, 2014 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Review by Luisa Mercier Last year in September, Anathema held a special event, a very special event: a concert with the Plovdiv Philarmonic Orchestra in the Roman theatre in Philippopolis, among ancient ruins. Now that event has been captured into "Universal", the DVD recently released. Upon ... (read more)

Report this review (#1060416) | Posted by FemmeMetalWebzine | Tuesday, October 15, 2013 | Review Permanlink

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