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SERENADES

Anathema

Experimental/Post Metal


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Anathema Serenades album cover
2.30 | 153 ratings | 20 reviews | 11% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 1993

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Lovelorn Rhapsody (6:24)
2. Sweet Tears (4:15)
3. J'ai Fait Une Promesse (2:40)
4. They (Will Always) Die (7:16)
5. Sleepless (4:120
6. Sleep In Sanity (6:52)
7. Scars Of The Old Stream (1:10)
8. Under A Veil (Of Black Lace) (7:340
9. Where Shadows Dance (1:59)
10. Dreaming: The Romance (23:23)

Lyrics

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Music tabs (tablatures)

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Line-up / Musicians

- Vincent Cavanagh / guitars
- Daniel Cavanagh / guitars
- Duncan Patterson / bass
- John Douglas/ drums and percussion
- Darren / vocals
- Ruth / Vocals on "J'ai Fait Une Promesse"

Releases information

Futurist 11037

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Tuzvihar for the last updates
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ANATHEMA Serenades ratings distribution


2.30
(153 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(11%)
11%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(9%)
9%
Good, but non-essential (25%)
25%
Collectors/fans only (34%)
34%
Poor. Only for completionists (22%)
22%

ANATHEMA Serenades reviews


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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by billyshears'67
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Not "Prog", but I've been a huge ANATHEMA fan for almost 6 years now, so I still like this album.

Impressive debut from the Liverpool lad's. Darren White's tortured and moody vocals gave Anathema a completely original vocalist. I might add that White's vocals are an aquired taste. The guitars really are what captures the listener, presenting an ear for melody and a beaufiul type of sorrow. The lyrics are good, but not up to par as later albums would evidence. "J'ai Fait Une Promesse" is a romantic folk song with french lyrics and the beautiful voice of Ruth. The artwork sets a fitting ambiance to the proceedings. Recommended for those looking to expand their musical boundaries.

Highlights are: :"Lovelorn Rhapsody," "Sweet Tears," "They (Will Always) Die," and "Sleepless."

Not prog, but still great, if you like early Anathema.

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Send comments to billyshears'67 (BETA) | Report this review (#30082) | Review Permalink
Posted Tuesday, May 25, 2004

Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
1 stars An overt deception

When I first heard this album, I was convinced something was wrong. My initial reaction was that I was playing a 45rpm record at 33rpm, but ruled that out as I was listening to a CD!

It's the vocals, and I use the term loosely, which are the source of the problem, they are just awful. "Darren" doesn't sing as such, he just growls very slowly, on virtually every track. For me it's as bad as rap, there's no melody to the singing just a very annoying monotone. This is pure death metal, without any suggestion of prog.

Now I have got that out of system, there are some positives. Instrumentally, the band are melodic, with powerful driving guitar riffs, and delicate acoustic sections. The brief "J'ai fait une romesse" is sung delightfully by "Ruth".

The final track, "Dreaming: the romance" is a 20+ minute instrumental, along the lines of Tangerine Dreams more abstract pieces. It's not so much a composition, more just waves of ambient sound which doesn't really go anywhere, but is certainly more rewarding than the other tracks.

Lyrically the album is well written, and the packaging is attractive to the point of being an overt deception but, woe is me, those vocals!

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Send comments to Easy Livin (BETA) | Report this review (#30083) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, June 25, 2004

Review by OpethGuitarist
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars Doom beginnings.

Serenades is a modest start for Anathema, while not being particularly great, it is also greatly different from their later material. This is slow, prodding, and methodical doom metal. The vocals are greatly different from the later vocals of Cavanagh, and the instrumental style is also much different, although the overall attitude and emotional connections are very similar.

Sleepless is my personal favorite, which opens in a dark, clean, muddy manner, but has an outstanding guitar tone and solo. The final track Dreaming is quite different, but essentially not captivating. The band would improve after this.

Unfortunately, this album really gives little insight into the band's future sound, which would lose most all of the death-like vocals in favor of a more somber, melodic vocals of the Cavanagh brothers. For those with a taste for any kind of extremes in metal, this can be quite enjoyable, but not exactly "prog".

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Send comments to OpethGuitarist (BETA) | Report this review (#112196) | Review Permalink
Posted Thursday, February 15, 2007

Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Serenades is Anathemaīs debut album and one of the classic albums in early doom/ death metal. I was very much into this genre in the early nineties and I have lots of albums in this style on my shelf.

The music is slow and occasionally mid paced doom death metal with just enough variation to keep it interesting. Some songs are more exciting than others though. The more trivial doom death tracks like They (Will Always) Die, Sleep of Sanity and Under a Veil (Of Black Lace) are not that exciting to me. They ( Will Always) Die is also featured on Anathemaīs debut EP The Crestfallen but here it is re- recorded in a better and updated version. Under a Veil ( of Black Lace) and especially Sleep of Sanity reminds me of My Dying Brideīs debut album As the Flower Withers but they are not nearly as good as the songs on that album.

Serenades starts out pretty strong though with Lovelorn Rhapsody which is pretty good doom death IMO and with the video song Sweet Tears which might be the best song here. I remember seeing this video on Headbangers Ball and thinking that I had to have this album. Itīs a pretty seventies inspired doom death song really, note the slide riff which is pretty cool IMO.

J'Ai Fait une Promesse is a very strong female led ballad. Itīs a very pretty song and Ruth who is credited for the vocals is a very good vocalist. Note the beautiful vocal harmonies in the song.

Sleepless is another favorite of mine from this album and together with Sweet Tears it represents Anathema the best I think. It has got an eighties gothic feel to it, like a Sisters of Mercy or The Mission song. Scars of the Old Stream and Where Shadows Dance are short instrumental pieces nothing to get excited about really.

On the version here in the archieves The Crestfallen EP ( minus They( Will Always) Die is added to the playlist, but my version doesnīt include these tracks. Instead there is a 23+ minute long ambient song called Dreaming ( the Romance) as the final song ( number 10). This song consist solely of long melodic keyboard notes played in layers. Nothing that excitet me back then and today I find it even more trivial.

The sound quality is pretty good for the time. A time where that was not the order of the day.

The musicians are questionable at best. Especially the drummer is really untight and lead singer Darren White is really a bad growler and an even worse singer. The level of musicianship is not why you should buy this album.

Itīs really hard to evaluate an album that I personally feel had some historical significance on the doom/ death scene on a prog rock site. IMO this deserves 3 stars, but on the other hand there are many trivial songs on this album and what is even worse they happen to be the longest ones. The prog relevance is also very small, and the reason Anathema is in the prog archieves at all is for their later more post rock releases. Iīll rate this 2 stars as it is only for the fans but it could have been a 3 in another forum.

Related listening:

My Dying Bride: As the Flower Withers, The trash of Naked Limbs Paradise Lost: Lost Paradise, Gothic Cathedral: Forest of Equilibrium, Soul Sacrifice EP Enchantment: Dance the Marble Naked Katatonia: Dance of December Souls, Brave Murder Day

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Send comments to UMUR (BETA) | Report this review (#163073) | Review Permalink
Posted Monday, March 03, 2008

Review by The Crow
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars It's well knows that the musical beginnigs of this bands were very different of the music they make today... But it's still interesting to hear the evolution and discover that this first albums had some of the elements of the last!

"Serenades" is doom metal... A cascade of slow, distorted and heavy guitars with lyrics talking about desperation and love. This genre (and many others...) was primarily painted by Black Sabbath in the seminal "Black Sabbath", and at the end of the 80's / beginnigs of the 90's it was popularised by bands like Candlemass, Cathedral... And Anathema! Their albums "Serenades" and "The Silent Enigma" are still two highly apreciated albums between the doom metal lovers.

But in "Serenades" we can hear some of the elements that his band would use and increase in later releases... Some of the melodies are not really differnet of the ones included in albums like "Alternative 4" and "Judgement", like some Daniel's trademark guitar sounds, although the style is really far from the alternative prog they make since "Eternity". Also the lyrics, speaking about tortured love and obscure feelings are in a similar vein (but obviously not so good...) The end of the album is also special for a doom metal band... A 23 minutes new age song! It's something the band would use again in the future, at the end of "A Fine Day to Exit" and "A Natural Disaster".

So although this album is not for everyone's taste, if you like Anathema's last albums, then you should give "Serenades" a listening... Maybe you'll be surprised, because you'll discover that after all the years and all the changes, it's obvious that we are talking about the same band.

Best tracks: Sweet Tears (I love the groovy guitas...), J'ai Fait une Promesse (it remembers me to Parisienne Moonlight in "Judgement"...), Sleepless (a little gothic classic... Cradle of Filth made a cool version of this one!), Under a Veil (of Black Lace) (precious guitar melodies...) and Nailed to the Cross / 666 (Bonus track) (I love this great stoner feeling...)

Conclusion: if you like doom metal, you must hear this album... It's one of the genre's pillars, and it has great songs. If you don't like it, then avoid it, because it has anything interesting for you, and of course it's not progressive at all. Nevertheless, it can also be enjoyed by Anathema's fans, because it has a lot of links with later and more famous releases. But writing in a progressive rock web, I must consider "Serenades" an album for collectors/fans only.

My personal rating: ***1/2

ProgArchives rating: **1/2

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Send comments to The Crow (BETA) | Report this review (#223850) | Review Permalink
Posted Monday, June 29, 2009

Review by Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog Metal Team
2 stars Death metal grunts and slow oppressive doom riffs. There's little in this music betraying the masterpieces that were lurking in the minds of the Cavanagh brothers. Nevertheless, together with As The Flower Withers from My Dying Bride and Shades Of God from Paradise Lost, this was the very album that brought me to doom death and all great things that resulted out of it back in 1993.

Anathema's debut pales in comparison to the other pioneers. I had heard the excellent Sweet Tears and Sleepless on my favourite radio show but I was very disappointed with the rest of the album. Given that I could only afford 2 CD purchases in a month back then, I felt particularly cheated, the remainder of the album is very tough to sit through.

Well, some artist start with their best work, others need a few years to mature. Great artwork though!

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Send comments to Bonnek (BETA) | Report this review (#256010) | Review Permalink
Posted Monday, December 14, 2009

Review by EatThatPhonebook
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars In a way, this is a pretty good debut, unlike many people think. In fact, I tend to prefer this album to their following studio album, "The Silent Enigma".

"Serenades" sure has some tired and forced vocals and melodies, being just plain death doom metal with no other original elements, but the good moments aren't completely absent; "Je Fiat Une Promesse" is a beautiful, acoustic ballad, sung almost all in French by fragile, female vocals. "Sweet Tears" has a good melody, and creates a very effective and creepy atmosphere. "Sleepless" is a tense and neurotic song, but very impressive in many parts. Even in the last, final song, the ambient piece "The Dreaming", has some haunting and wonderful moments, even tough after 23 minutes it gets a little repetitive.

But the rest is easily forgettable, emotionless doom metal, that doesn't transmit any emotions whatsoever.

As a conclusion, I gave this 3.5 stars, only thanks to the few songs I mentioned. The rest, like I said, is avoidable.

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Send comments to EatThatPhonebook (BETA) | Report this review (#306536) | Review Permalink
Posted Monday, October 25, 2010

Review by ZowieZiggy
PROG REVIEWER
1 stars One reviewer is rating this album with the masterpiece status... Well, I guess that I will balance this rating for sure.

It is especially true when you bear in mind that there isn't one single track to obey to any prog concept in here. It is not because "J'Ai Fait Une Promesse" is an all acoustic song that it should be considered as prog. It is just a boring lamentation; sung by a young lady. Period.

As Easy Livin has said in his accurate review (as usual); there are some interesting instrumental parts featured on this album. But I want to add that these aren't really innovative since the doom metal genre was invented a long, long time before this work. And everybody knows of whom we are talking about, right?

If you like growling vocals (which I hate personally), you might be interested by this "work". One of the extremely few decent moments is the closing and instrumental part of "They Will Always Die". The second one is probably the "Cure" oriented "Sleepless". It is seriously borrowing from the great "A Forest" ("Cure"). Vocals are almost decent as well (but only during the first half, unfortunately).

The long and instrumental closing number is a peaceful electronic (!) prog moment. I have no clue as of how this track was generated but it is a fine and pleasant piece of music, although very simple and truly repetitive.

One star for the whole.

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Send comments to ZowieZiggy (BETA) | Report this review (#312067) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Review by Conor Fynes
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars 'Serenades' - Anathema (4/10)

Although the band Anathema has since gone down a much more atmospheric and melodic route with their music, it's important to note that the group began as one of the pioneers of death doom metal, a style of music similar in its melancholic feeling to what Anathema has done more recently, but much heavier and darker in the one it is executed. With a few demos and this debut 'Serenades', Anathema would be setting the groundwork for a style that has since become much more popular by the likes of bands like Swallow the Sun. Although 'Serenades' is a classic work for its development in that doom metal sound, it is an incredibly hit-or-miss ordeal throughout, and may be better appreciated for its place in history than as a listening experience of its own.

Fronted by growler Darren White, the sound of Anathema at this time is generally very heavy, downtempo and foreboding, using equal mesaures of the doom metal style innovated by Black Sabbath, and the newer death metal sound to create something that is dark, solemn and full of sadness. The album unfortunately however falls into a weak standing for its lack of cohesion and flow as an album; although Anathema is making some great steps forward with music here, they fail to create a piece of work that is bound together tightly. Instead, what we have here is a collection of tracks that range from excellence to somewhat boring exercises in distorted heaviness. The album's opener 'Lovelorn Rhapsody' has since become a classic song for death doom; a piece of music that cycles through darkness and beauty very powerfully. The real hit here however is 'Sleepless', a much more melodic and concise track than most on 'Serenades', featuring a post-punk mentalitty that wouldn't feel out of place on a Cure album. Besides that, the songs here so consistent, although moments arise where the more melodic beauty overpowers the raw heaviness. 'They Die' features a symphonic end that is a really nice breath of fresh air for the sound, and 'Under A Veil' has some beautiful guitar harmonies to work with.

Another issue is the weak production of the album here, which at times works quite well, but the heavier sections generally suffer as a result . Darren White's vocals are also quite inconsistent as a vocalist; at times his voice can make some really great growls that only add to the vibe of the music, and at others sound like nothing more than an adolescent whisper.

A disappointing album considering its great importance to the development of doom metal as it is heard today, but it is not without a few gems.

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Send comments to Conor Fynes (BETA) | Report this review (#414160) | Review Permalink
Posted Thursday, March 10, 2011

Latest members reviews

1 stars 2.5/10 My God, this album is very bad. Gives me a heartache to know that I had to hear it. I already knew that in his early career Anathema away a doom metal band, with a sound radically different alternative post-rock/rock heard in his later albums. But anyway, I did not expect to have to ... (read more)

Report this review (#992924) | Posted by voliveira | Saturday, July 06, 2013 | Review Permanlink

2 stars Serenades ? 1993 7 ? Best Song: The stupid one with the French title Oh, how this album channels deep into my soul, my windswept, despairing sense of inner turmoil, and characterizes the epitome of human suffering for all eternity. Serenades is a catechism of anguish and torment, FOREVER! ... (read more)

Report this review (#459137) | Posted by Alitare | Saturday, June 11, 2011 | Review Permanlink

2 stars Anathema's first album is, unmistakeably, a doom metal offering. It growls and groans and thunders and crunches and thunders its unstoppably behemothic way through pain and misery, as any such album should. That's not to say, of course, that this is some uninventively meat-headed metal stereotype. ... (read more)

Report this review (#457493) | Posted by stranded_starfish | Sunday, June 05, 2011 | Review Permanlink

2 stars Please note this is a review of the original album, the first pressing. This is the debut album from Anathema. It is radically different from their later life as a Pink Floydish act. Serenades is a doom metal album. Although the music on this album is not as slow as Cathedral's seminal album ... (read more)

Report this review (#249045) | Posted by toroddfuglesteg | Sunday, November 08, 2009 | Review Permanlink

2 stars About Anathema: From the beginning of their career to 1995 there is nothing so special about them. In the "Pentacost III" ep and in "Eternity" they manage to make us understand that they are meant for something bigger, something that would latter come with what I consider their best album "Alt ... (read more)

Report this review (#91982) | Posted by sularetal | Monday, September 25, 2006 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Anathema were part of the "Big Three" of Doom Metal in England in the early 90's along with Paradise Lost and My Dying Bride, yet they seemed to be the most underrated of these. Something which I never could understand. For Serenades was, in my opinion, the hands down winner of the three debu ... (read more)

Report this review (#85976) | Posted by bleak | Sunday, August 06, 2006 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Even if can be considered as prog I think that Anathema's Serenades is a really good album. They added growling vocals and other littles elements of "death" metal to what could be called "doom" metal and filling it with significant emotional lyrics (make sure you have a written version of the ly ... (read more)

Report this review (#80565) | Posted by Dr4Wazo | Tuesday, June 06, 2006 | Review Permanlink

2 stars I bought this CD as part of a serenades/crestfallen double CD mainly to complete my Anathema collection. Like on the Crestfallen EP, this is doomdeath with occasional melodic passages. Songs again are sometimes good, sometimes average. "Lovelorn Rhapsody" is probably the less melodic song on ... (read more)

Report this review (#64610) | Posted by zaxx | Friday, January 13, 2006 | Review Permanlink

2 stars Just I said on my (short) review of "The Crestfallen" EP, ANATHEMA's "Serenades" is nothing more than doom metal. The only song that makes a difference is the beautiful acoustic track "J'ai fait une Promesse" sung by female vocalist Ruth, and of course not forgetting the 22-minute ambient trac ... (read more)

Report this review (#46489) | Posted by Prosciutto | Monday, September 12, 2005 | Review Permanlink

2 stars On "Serenades" you can clearly hear the band "Anathema" is still trying to find there sound. There are only a few songs worth mentioning like, "J'Ai Fait une Promesse" it really make me emotional. Personally I like the album, but its not impressive. ... (read more)

Report this review (#30084) | Posted by | Thursday, June 02, 2005 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Fantastic doom metal from England that most of you Proggers would be better off avoididng. However, their depressive balance between melody, Romanticism and heaviness should impress even the most hardheaded music listener. 'Serenades' is as a great an introduction to the genre as any. Anath ... (read more)

Report this review (#30081) | Posted by | Saturday, May 22, 2004 | Review Permanlink

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