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DISTANT SATELLITES

Anathema

Experimental/Post Metal


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Anathema Distant Satellites album cover
3.74 | 270 ratings | 16 reviews | 27% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 2014

Songs / Tracks Listing

"The Lost Song, Part 1" - 5:53
"The Lost Song, Part 2" - 5:47
"Dusk (Dark Is Descending)" - 5:59
"Ariel" - 6:28
"The Lost Song, Part 3" - 5:21
"Anathema" - 6:40
"You're Not Alone" - 3:26
"Firelight" - 2:42
"Distant Satellites" - 8:17
"Take Shelter" - 6:07

Lyrics

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Music tabs (tablatures)

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Line-up / Musicians

- Vincent Cavanagh / Voice, Guitar, Vocoder
- Danny Cavanagh / Guitar, Keyboards, Voice
- Jamie Cavanagh / Bass
- John Douglas / Drums, Keyboards
- Lee Douglas / Voice

Releases information

Release date: June 6, 2014 (Germany & Sweden), June 9 (UK & World), June 10 (NA & France)
Label: Kscope
Formats: CD, LP & Digital

Thanks to mbzr48 for the addition
and to Conor Fynes for the last updates
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ANATHEMA Distant Satellites ratings distribution


3.74
(270 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(27%)
27%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(37%)
37%
Good, but non-essential (24%)
24%
Collectors/fans only (8%)
8%
Poor. Only for completionists (3%)
3%

ANATHEMA Distant Satellites reviews


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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Conor Fynes
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars 'Distant Satellites' - Anathema (82/100)

I think Anathema are the sort of band you need to see live to really understand the kind of emotional effect they have on people. Within the first song, they had people dancing. By the time they played "Dreaming Light", I even saw people crying; believe me, it takes a certain kind of band to turn a grown man in a Cannibal Corpse hoodie into a blubbering wreck overwhelmed with emotions. It's that intensity of feeling in Anathema's music that's made them one of my favourite bands. Although I've had mixed feelings surrounding the somewhat recent adoption of New Age-y optimism into their sound, I've nonetheless come to expect a moving experience from Anathema each time a new album comes out. In this regard, Distant Satellites does not disappoint; those who enjoyed the uplifting atmosphere and soaring arrangements of their last two albums will find more to love here. In some ways it feels less bold and adventurous than 2012's Weather Systems, but there is love, passion and beauty woven throughout Anathema's latest hour of music; once again, they have proven that they're the best at what they do.

Distant Satellites isn't so much an evolution of Anathema's sound so much as it is a new spin on the formula from their last album. Whereas Weather Systems was busy and dynamic, Distant Satellites honours a more static approach. I don't even mean 'static' as a bad thing either, only that Anathema choose to stick with musical ideas once they're started with them. The songwriting is certainly accessible, but the tried, true and done to death verse-chorus format is often eschewed for a minimalist build-up of an idea throughout a composition. Anathema have shown their ties to post-rock proudly with this one. Whatever dynamic changes in song structure Anathema do offer here always feel natural; from a purely compositional perspective, the songwriting on Distant Satellites feels downright predictable. Of course, the way Anathema make such moving music doesn't come so much from the writing itself; rather, it's the beautiful way they perform it.

Though I've been a little disappointed that Anathema's songwriting on Distant Satellites isn't particularly dynamic, the way they've arranged and executed the music is virtually without comparison. String orchestration, vocal harmonies and electronic infusions are all among the ingredients built upon the foundation; for everything it's worth, Anathema know how to make their music soar. Vincent Cavanagh's voice is in top form; Lee Douglas reprises her role as the beautiful female counterpoint voice, and Danny gets a nice word in as well. While I remember Weather Systems for some particularly excellent guitarwork, the instrumentation is generally toned down for this one; the instruments are merely vessels for the atmosphere and composition, rather than a demonstration of skill foremost. A golden exception to this is the drumwork of Daniel Cardoso, who offers the most exciting, cinematic drum performance of Anathema's career here.

Like the past two albums from the emotionally rejuvenated Anathema, the atmosphere here is often one of hope and positive energies. The melancholy is here still, but in far shorter supply than most of their earlier work. It's not until the second half of the album where Anathema start to take the music down a darker path; the atmosphere is still the same, but the more nuanced portrayal of feeling is more complex, more engaging. While parts 1 and 2 of "The Lost Song" don't do a great lot for me, the motifs are reprised in the third part, where light electronic timbres and a moodier tone are introduced; it changes the context of the original ideas and rewards listening to the album's opening again through a different light. I would say the song "Anathema" could constitute a fourth part of "The Lost Song"; it continues the introduced ideas down an even more sombre path. The album's certainly been written with a mind for rewarding repeated listens.

"You're Not Alone" is probably the only song on the album that hasn't grown much on me. I know it's meant as an echo of the vocal-density and urgency of "The Gathering of the Clouds" off of Weather Systems, but it ends up feeling too cluttered for it's own good. "Firelight" is the other shorter song on the album, though it's less a song and more an extended ambient intro to the title track to Distant Satellites. This amazing song (as well as the closer "Take Shelter") finally accomplish what We're Here Because We're Here and Weather Systems fell short of: a satisfying climactic finish to the album. The past two resorted on underwhelming drawn-out tracks as their closers, but these last two songs are incredible. The title track is brilliantly driven by a rolling electronic beat and vocals that earn the 'haunting' descriptor as much as any others out there. "Take Shelter" is a more predictable track from the band, but once again Vincent's vocals steal the show and provoke chills. Distant Satellites started off a bit slowly, but by the end it's reached the levels of mastery I've come to expect from the band.

Honestly, the thing I've had the most trouble embracing since their change of heart on We're Here Because We're Here are the lyrics, the 'message' itself. Attitudes shift naturally with age, and Anathema's 'glass half full' worldview no doubt reflects their maturity as people. Sadly the way they've meant to convey this optimism has always felt overbearing and sanctimonious; the lyrics on their latest three albums often feel like they've been drawn out of a New Age self-love handbook. They were often just as lyrically heavy- handed during their Alternative 4 depressive era mind you, but given the 180 degree progression from darkness to light, it's felt like Anathema have been a little too assertive with their change of heart. The New Ageisms aren't quite as pronounced this time around but it does feel like a reprise of the pseudo-spiritual love and peace Anathema have been preaching since 2010. The minimalistic song structures and focus on atmosphere don't leave much room for the vocals or lyrics to tread off the beaten path. The lyrics are generally painted in broad strokes, covering ideas of love, tranquility, the 'inner child' and stuff of that ilk. It doesn't feel like Anathema are trying to say something profound or specific with the lyrics; instead, the lyrics offer a broad context to the music itself. As always, Anathema have stored the uplifting profundity away in the music, waiting for the engaged listener to find it and come to the same conclusions themselves.

If I can step away from Distant Satellites for just a moment, I'd like to say that Anathema's career and progression is quite beautiful when taken as a whole. In their youths they were clearly plagued with some venomous feelings, and while that resulted in gorgeous art, severe depression has the potential to tear a life apart, to rob it of meaning and make it seem like there's no way out. Comparing that now to the place Anathema now find themselves in, and it honestly sounds like they've found the happiness in themselves that probably seemed impossible years back. Though I might not embrace the way Anathema convey this newfound peace, that shift from dark to light is rather beautiful, and serves to give hope to any of us who may be fighting with demons of their own. The press release I've received for Distant Satellites declares that it "will surely be recognised as their finest album to date." Although there's always a pressure in early reviews of eagerly anticipated albums to agree with the press pitch and sing nothing but the most lavish of praises, I can't call it the best thing they've ever done. It doesn't match the feeling of paralyzing awe I feel hearing Judgement or "A Natural Disaster". It feel more static and predictable than the monumental Weather Systems. Even so, Distant Satellites has dared to open my heart up again in the way only Anathema seem capable of doing; whatever its faults, it has made those feelings feel fresh again.

Originally written for Prog Sphere Magazine (www.prog-sphere.com)

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Send comments to Conor Fynes (BETA) | Report this review (#1176027) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, May 16, 2014

Review by Second Life Syndrome
COLLABORATOR Post/Math Rock Team
5 stars It's been quite a past few years for the incredible Anathema. Honors have been bestowed upon them, they've released an instant classic album in "Weather Systems", and last year they released one of the best live concert films I've ever seen, "Universal". Anathema is on top of the world, and they are only getting bigger. With all of this on their shoulders, they approach the world once again with their new album, "Distant Satellites", a fitting name for a massive album. Again, with all of their recent success creating huge expectations, can this band meet such critical reception? Needless to say, Vincent Cavanagh on vocals, Danny Cavanagh on guitar, Jamie Cavanagh on bass, John Douglas on percussion, Daniel Cardoso on drums, and Lee Douglas with her wonderful vocals were all up to the challenge.

"Distant Satellites" is a very different album from "Weather Systems", or anything else they've done, for that matter. It is different, yet somehow instantly familiar. It includes everything that makes them Anathema, but adds new and exciting elements to their already excellent formula. If you've never heard Anathema, their formula (in their last few albums, anyways) includes soaring guitars, amazingly catchy melodies, spiritual lyrics, and emotional flow both vocally and structurally. They are the masters of melody, and they remain complex and progressive even while being simple and accessible. They are truly masters of their craft.

This new album, then, is no different in those terms. The melodies return in force, such as the serene beauty of "The Lost Song" parts 1-3. And, yet, there is something different here. The melodic lines are somewhat more complex, less in-your-face, and more organic. This especially shows in the song lengths, most of them being over five minutes. This allows for more growth and more progression. Indeed, then, the melodies on "Distant Satellites", while not being as instantly lovable or recognizable, are certainly more difficult and possibly will have a longer "shelf life" in my mind. Yes, the orchestrations seem to be lower key, as well, allowing the vocalists to express themselves more personally then ever.

There are other improvements, too. I feel that the musicianship is more fervent and on a higher plateau of difficulty than Anathema has tried. Drummer John Douglas, especially, plays amazingly well from start to finish, accenting the music with awesome pounding and fills. The rest of the band are at their peak, too, with Vincent and Lee being especially great with emotional and meaningful vocal performances.

"Distant Satellites" is different in more meaningful ways, too. Utilizing post-rock/metal structures is nothing new for Anathema, but they really do perfect them here, as on "Dusk", a dark, climactic song. Yet, there is a sense of continuity between tracks, too. This is obviously the case between the three parts of "The Lost Song", but it's also apparent throughout the album, as if Anathema is telling us a story, convincing us of our true selves and our connection with the universe and with each other.

This album is wonderful in the first half, but my excitement reached new heights in the second half. Anathema has taken it upon themselves to change things up a bit. They wanted to progress their sound, but make it all seem so natural. So, in the second half, the album climaxes with one of the best songs, simply called "Anathema". But then, we are thrown for a loop somewhat, as "You're Not Alone" features a hefty portion of electronic vibe. It's great, but the best is still to come.

Next, "Firelight", a darkly ethereal instrumental track that is completely electronic, is thrust upon us, and is followed up by what may possibly be the best song Anathema has ever produced, "Distant Satellites". This track combines everything that has ever made Anathema great: soaring melodies, climactic structure, gentle spirituality, amazing vocals, and now an electronic beat that is both complex and catchy. Vibrant, mesmerizing, and pure, this track elates me every time I hear it. It takes this album, and my heart, to new heights. The album finishes with a gentle ballad that just seems so fitting, yet it still has the strong electronic influence.

So, is "Distant Satellites" a winner? In every way! Is it their best album? I don't know; it has the potential, but it might take time, just like "Weather Systems" did. What I can tell you is that this new album is more mature, more progressive, more interesting and eclectic, and less formulaic then anything Anathema has crafted yet. It does sacrifice some accessibility and some instant likability for these things, but I respect their decision massively, and I fully expect to see "Distant Satellites" at the tops of many lists at the end of 2014.

4.5 stars

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Send comments to Second Life Syndrome (BETA) | Report this review (#1180268) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Review by ProgShine
COLLABORATOR Errors & Omissions Team
1 stars Anathema, Nosound, Steven Wilson, Frequency Drift and thousand of other bands from Kscope has a sound that for me... doesn't work.

They have everything but Rock on their music, they have Ambient, Post Rock, Alternative Rock, Indie Pop, Electronic.... but not Prog ROCK.

I tried several Anathema albums, including the 'everybody's love' last album Weather Systems (2012). I told myself that this music wasn't for me and that I wouldn't listen to it again, but what can I say, I'm a hopeful guy, so I gave it a try on their new album Distant Satellites (2014).

For the fans, that mainly are not Prog fans but Post- Prog-Kscope fans, it'll hit the nail, right on the head. It's Pop but full of 'somber-teenager-dark-angst-don't-know- where-I'm-going' kind of music. But this time without excitement. I admit that even if it's not my kind of music Anathema had some puzzled melodies on the previous album, here it seems so... dull, for the new mass of fans they got on the last couple of years.

'The Lost Song, Part 1' is interesting, 'Dusk (Dark Is Descending)' despite of its horrible lyrics too. The rest of the album is just... I don't know, teenager music I suppose, a kind of desperated melancholy that doesn`t really seems to be true, for me it looks as if it's just for the record, if you know what I mean. At some point it seems I'm listening some Coldplay or some 30 Seconds To Mars, which definitelly doesn't help the album at all. Not to mention that a track like 'The Lost Song, Part 3' is just a rip-off from Radiohead's Amnesiac (2001) era (but without the power of the original).

Side note: 'You're Not Alone' is one of the worst excuses to record a song ever, it's almost ofensive to this song to be in an album considered to be from a 'Prog Rock' band.

They say that Anathema's music is supposed to be something more profound, something to be appreciated with calm, with attention, that it's beautiful music. But it's hard when most of the time the music on the album reminds you of something else and it's hard when the lyrics are so adolescent and meaningless. I pass, there's thousands of real soulful records around.

Possibly the fans will never agree with me, possibly many people will just say that I'm full of bull****... Well, I say that I'm right and that in a couple of years this kind of music will be burnt. Releases like this (and dozens of other copy bands) will burn this so called sub-genre so hard that no one else will want to listen to it in a few years. Well, that pretty much sums this album for me RIGHT NOW.

Pass, next one, please.

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Send comments to ProgShine (BETA) | Report this review (#1191504) | Review Permalink
Posted Thursday, June 12, 2014

Review by Finnforest
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Exquisite, refined rock

I'm not an Anathema fan and have owned only a few of their albums over the years. I've had one or two earlier albums and also a more recent release, Universal. The latter was very well done but like the earlier ones, never quite grabbed me by the throat. I wasn't expecting much with this one either but man did they execute here. They not only grabbed me by the throat, they threw me to the ground and pummeled me with clubs. Kidding, yes. I've seen some describe the band's sound as "heavy chill" which is a reasonable phrase, but I've always been just a bit let down by the similarity of the ride, track to track. That has changed with this one because the material is so instantly melodic and pleasurable, the sound so sweeping and cinematic, dramatic, the sonic equivalent of soft focus photography. The tracks play out in epic fashion, often including lovely, sentimental keyboard parts that soon build into pounding heaviness sometimes augmented by electronic atmospheric coloring. I love the heavy emphasis on piano and strings at play, very lush and dreamy to contrast the heavy parts.

What pushes it to another level completely is the quality of the harmonies between Cavanaugh and Lee Douglas, simply captivating and emotionally resonating for this listener. The arrangements and the songs themselves are just so much more interesting to me than anything I've heard them do before. It's also consistent as hell and emotionally moving throughout. Some folks seem disappointed with the album and I've seen some reviewers give it one star. Anathema may be in a tough spot similar to Porcupine Tree now. Many fans don't want them to change from a sound they love, others don't feel they can top previous achievements, so in essence expectations shape one's opinion. "Distant Satellites" may be Anathema's "The Incident" one reviewers notes and I think that's a good analogy. There is going to be some gnashing of teeth, but I personally find both albums to be stunning. I do believe this moody yet uplifting album will be in my top picks of the year, very satisfying.

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Send comments to Finnforest (BETA) | Report this review (#1199465) | Review Permalink
Posted Saturday, June 28, 2014

Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars "Distant Satellites" is the 12th full-length studio album by atmospheric rock act Anathema. The album was released through Kscope in June 2014.

"Distant Satellites" treads an alternative/semi-progressive atmospheric rock path that is similar in sound and style to itīs predecessor "Weather Systems (2012)". The music is polished, dreamy, and slow building. Usually starting out mellow and then slowly building towards louder and more intense climaxes. The by now trademark melancholy of the bandīs music is as prevailent here as itīs always been. This is not depressive music though and although itīs not exactly happy music either, there is an uplifting spirit about the whole affair, that makes "Distant Satellites" a predominantly light melancholic album rather than a dark depressive one.

The male vocals by Vincent Cavanagh and the female vocals by Lee Douglas are the center of attention on the album and they share the spotlight equally. Atmospheric keyboards and guitars, and a well playing rhythm section complete the bandīs sound. Anathema have also included some electronic drumming on the album, which to my ears is a very successful move.

The first part of the album features organic drums, but when the 7th track "Youīre Not Alone" kicks in, the music style changes a bit as a result of the electronic drums. It becomes more ambient and Iīm reminded of artists like Massive Attack and Morcheeba. The short instrumental "Firelight" continues the ambient sound and the title track which follows is also quite ambient and features electronic drumming. The latter reminds me a lot of Coldplay and could in an edited version (this version is 8:17 minutes long) easily get radio airplay. Itīs the perfect example of how far Anathema have come since their early doom/death metal days. Itīs not unusual for Anathema to tweek their sound during an album. They did the same on "Weather Systems (2012)". They do it skillfully though which means that their core style and atmosphere are intact throughout.

"Distant Satellites" is packed in an organic and pleasant sounding production which fits the music perfectly, and all in all itīs another high quality release by Anathema. If I have to voice a minor complaint it would be about the lyrics, which are at times a bit too simple, naive, and starry eyed, and not exactly written with the greatest finesse. Iīll even go as far as to call them teenage-angsty, which is a bit odd to me, as I know these guys (and girl) are in their 30s/40s. Oh well...they are fortunately sung by strong voices and wrapped in beautiful melodies, so it is a minor complaint and a 3.5 - 4 star (75%) rating is still deserved.

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Send comments to UMUR (BETA) | Report this review (#1279203) | Review Permalink
Posted Thursday, September 18, 2014

Latest members reviews

2 stars It's my birthday so I gave myself time to listen to and review a new album of a band that's new for me. It is time to introduce the English band "Anathema" which has done eleven studio albums between 1993 and 2014. The genre "Experimental/Post-metal", I have no idea what it is but it(the genre t ... (read more)

Report this review (#1292010) | Posted by DrömmarenAdrian | Wednesday, October 15, 2014 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I'd heard very mixed reviews about this album so was pleasantly surprised when I finally got to know it. It always takes me a few listenings before I get into any new Anathema piece, but this is beginning to get under my skin nicely. Not a drastically different direction, and possibly a bit ' ... (read more)

Report this review (#1272866) | Posted by Deathangel | Monday, September 08, 2014 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Anathema to me can do no wrong. After their last album being an epic masterpiece, and their previous effort being a brilliant album in its own right, I was so incredibly stoked for this album. The band have shown an almost found love for what they do after coming back from a hiatus in 2009, and ... (read more)

Report this review (#1219113) | Posted by arcane-beautiful | Tuesday, July 22, 2014 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Prog, post-rock, metal, borderline mainstream rock? 10 albums in, and it's hard to really know what to call this style of music, other than Anathema-style. Yes, this is Prog Archives, so technically this is for progressive acts. Whilst this Liverpudlian 6-piece can't be said to produce mu ... (read more)

Report this review (#1213776) | Posted by blueavenger | Tuesday, July 15, 2014 | Review Permanlink

4 stars In Transition Something occurred to me a few months ago about Anathema, whilst I was watching last year's Universal concert film, a stunning live show recorded in an amphitheatre in Bulgaria. I was supposed to be blown away, and to a certain extent I was, but for some odd reason, hearing 20 ... (read more)

Report this review (#1199105) | Posted by Gallifrey | Friday, June 27, 2014 | Review Permanlink

5 stars So much can be said about an album when I want to listen to it over and over again. That is what is happening to me right now. I will admit that I am a fan of this band, and Distant Satellites is delivering pure enjoyment for me. It is the offspring of "Weather Systems" and "We're Here Because ... (read more)

Report this review (#1196727) | Posted by javajeff | Saturday, June 21, 2014 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Anathema have been widely praised for their latest effort, and they are riding the wave deservedly. But, greatness is hard to achieve all the time and this doesn't match up to their last two albums whilst also reminding me of the good points of earlier albums. It opens with an incessant beat ... (read more)

Report this review (#1195857) | Posted by praj912 | Thursday, June 19, 2014 | Review Permanlink

5 stars I have not written a review for a little while, however I simply had to mention my appreciation for this fantastic work by Anathema. When I was a teenager I got to see these guys playing various venues in London, usually in support of bands like Paradise lost etc. They always had something spec ... (read more)

Report this review (#1195226) | Posted by Kevman28 | Tuesday, June 17, 2014 | Review Permanlink

5 stars 4.7 Stars. Distant Satellites is their 11th album and marks a significant change from their last album Weather Systems. I was initially very impressed with their last effort due to its high emotional intensity. But that feeling quickly went as the songs were just too similar to each other to ... (read more)

Report this review (#1191568) | Posted by LakeGlade12 | Thursday, June 12, 2014 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Anathema are one my all time favourite bands. Their music resonates with me on an intensely emotional level that no other band does. Their music is pure emotion. Distant Satellites shares many similarities with their previous two releases, but at the same time pushes the band into new territory ... (read more)

Report this review (#1183814) | Posted by Hrvat | Wednesday, June 04, 2014 | Review Permanlink

1 stars Many steps backward from Weather Systems. Distant satellites is a very unbalanced and badly flowing album. The level of quality fluctuates significantly through out the album. Now there are some very solid songs in Ariel and the title track, but there's just not that much else going on here. ... (read more)

Report this review (#1181558) | Posted by Hopsings93 | Saturday, May 31, 2014 | Review Permanlink

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