Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography



Experimental/Post Metal

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Anathema The Silent Enigma album cover
3.10 | 269 ratings | 19 reviews | 17% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

Write a review

from partners
Studio Album, released in 1995

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Restless Oblivion (8:03)
2. Shroud of Frost (7:31)
3. ...Alone (4:23)
4. Sunset of Age (6:56)
5. Nocturnal Emission (4:20)
6. Cerulean Twilight (7:05)
7. The Silent Enigma (4:24)
8. A Dying Wish (8:11)
9. Black Orchid (3:40)

Total Time: 54:37

Bonus tracks on 2003 remaster:
10. The Silent Enigma (Orchestral) (4:12)
11. Sleepless 96 (4:31)

Line-up / Musicians

- Vincent Cavanagh / vocals, guitars
- Daniel Cavanagh / guitar, orchestral arrangements
- Duncan Patterson / bass
- John Douglas/ drums, percussion

- Deryk Fullwood / spoken word (2)
- Rebecca Wilson / vocals (3)

Releases information

Artwork: Joseph Wright (1734-1797) "Lady In Milton's Comus" painting

LP Peaceville ‎- VILE 52 (1995, Europe)

CD Peaceville ‎- CDVILE 52 (1995, UK)
CD Peaceville ‎- CDVILED 52 (2003, UK) Remastered with 2 bonus tracks

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
Edit this entry

Buy ANATHEMA The Silent Enigma Music

ANATHEMA The Silent Enigma ratings distribution

(269 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(17%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(26%)
Good, but non-essential (33%)
Collectors/fans only (17%)
Poor. Only for completionists (7%)

ANATHEMA The Silent Enigma reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
2 stars Meet the new vocalist, same as the old vocalist.

In my review of "Serenades", I was somewhat scathing of the vocals which were not so much a weak point, as a complete disaster. It was therefore with some optimism that I noted that Darren White was no longer with the band, Vincent Cavenagh having assumed vocal duties.

Unfortunately, Cavenagh "sings" in exactly the same way as his predecessor. It really is a pity, as there's some really good instrumental work here. Musically, the sound is similar to Black Sabbath around the time they almost become progressive (Sabotage"/"Sabbath Bloody Sabbath" the latter incidentally featuring Rick Wakeman). The tracks are well constructed with sensitive lyrics, soft acoustic sections, and powerful riffs. There are symphonic overtones, a lovely soft female vocal lead track ("..Alone"), and a melodic instrumental track to finish ("Black orchid").

All the other tracks however are completely spoiled by the death metal, monotonic, growled vocals. Occasionally, they do threaten to break into song, but never actually get there. It really is such a tragic waste, this could have been a really good album, if only they'd employed a singer. (Nice packaging too.)

Review by OpethGuitarist
2 stars The band really takes form.

This is when Anathema really begins to take their shape, taking elements from their doom days and adding on to those in a more melodic and stylistic manner. Cavanagh's vocals utilize both death like qualities as well as traditional style singing. The material isn't quite at the progressive stage yet, but there are considerable leaps from their previous album.

The most notable thing here being the increased presence of the clean electric and acoustic as well as the track A Dying Wish which has a riff that was used on a later album. It's heavy, but not so ultra-heavy as to alienate many like a more complicated band such as Meshuggah might. The Black Sabbath references cited are poor choices, as this band really has little connection to them other than overall genre.

This is my least favorite studio release, and the most mundane, as it sort of sits in the middle of the fence without especially being great. Not as atmospheric as later albums, nor as emotionally deep. Pick this one up last after the other ones.

Review by Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars After my disappointment with Serenades I didn't pay any attention anymore to Anathema till I heard Alternative 4. I've revisited their entire catalogue since and this second album came as a pleasant surprise. Or should I say a remarkable one, as 'pleasant' isn't really the appropriate adjective here.

Anathema's imminent change towards more laid-back atmospheric rock pops up here on plenty of occasions. For instance in the moody chord picking intro of Restless Oblivion and a clearly Fields of the Nephilim-inspired Nocturnal Emission. There's also the acoustic pastoral moment Alone. As on the title track, also the influence from Celtic Frost is quite prominent. Some songs have a loose and lengthy structure, featuring melodious lead guitars and atmospheric synths. Elements that might win over the more gloomy prog fans here.

The attention for atmospherics, the organic song development and the entrancing repetitive nature of the music would serve as a huge inspiration for Agalloch. Still, the dominant features of this album are the oppressively slow doom dirges and the gruff vocals, this time from Vincent Cavanagh. It's a vocal style that suits him pretty well here. He doesn't have full control of his voice but he delivers with a unrelenting conviction. He would soon give it up this gruff style in favour of a more melodic approach.

The Silent Enigma isn't on the same level as the breakthrough albums of Paradise Lost and My Dying Bride, but still it provides a good case why they were listed with those two other bands as the instigators of the doom death metal.

A good 10 years later, the American band known as Agalloch would take the rough material of this album, add some early Katatonia to it and mould everything into one of the most beautiful dark rock albums ever. By consequence, this Anathema album might be worth seeking out if you're curious about their doom death roots. 3.5 stars

Review by EatThatPhonebook
2 stars The second Anathema studio hasn't much more to say than the debut "Serenades".

1995 is the year when the band started to change the sound a bit; with this release, together with the EP "Pentecost III", the band explores some of the progressive soundscapes, always maintaining their death doom metal style. The music is even darker than the debut, especially in songs like "Resteless Oblivion" or "A Dying Wish". The band uses even more calm, delicate moments, alternated with the violent ones. We know that very soon, with the release of their third "Eternity", these calm moments will prevail.

There are only a few good songs that save the album from a bad rating; the already mentioned "Restless Oblivion" is perfect, not one bad moment here; creepy, violent, nd a little disturbing at times. Perfect doom metal song. Even "Sunset Of Age" and "A Dying Wish" have some great moments, very haunting, but a little disquieting.

The rest is OK, definitely better at times than some songs from the debut. Maybe "Cerulean Twilight" is the song i dislike the most, boring and not appealing at all.

As a conclusion, I must say that, I prefer by a little bit the debut, since "The Silent Enigma" has only one great song, while "Serenades" has a few.

Review by ZowieZiggy
2 stars One of my friends is a huge "Anathema" fan, but he warned me about their early releases that he dislikes profoundly. I can only agree with him. A combination of doom with growling: ouch!

I thought that this album would be better since a "new vocalist" appears and while listening to the very first notes of the opening number, I was nicely surprised. But this effect only lasted for a few seconds, unfortunately.

As I have written in a prior review, as long as the instrumental passages are concerned their music sounds OK although it is hugely borrowing to Sabbath who remains the master in the genre IMHHO. At times, the music is surprisingly melodic but it is rapidly ruined by these atrocious vocal parts; but I am afraid that I will have to cope with this for a while?

This is really a shame because "Shroud Of Frost" holds some fine instrumental elements and could have been an excellent number by all means. Some great doom feel (I don't dislike the genre, per se) is filling your ears with "Sunset Of Age". But you know the story: doom with growls?

I can only agree with Easy Livin: it was a good opportunity that has been missed. Still, this work IS better than their debut album. Two stars.

Review by Warthur
4 stars If, out of the bands which formed the so-called Peaceville Three, My Dying Bride have stayed the most loyal to doom and death-doom metal over the years, whilst Paradise Lost have wavered back and forth between doom and gothic realms, Anathema may well be the member of the trinity that has strayed furthest from its roots, with heavily Pink Floyd-influenced atmospheric rock dominating the group's discography and little sign of a return to metal happening any time soon.

That makes The Silent Enigma, their last full-on death-doom album and only the second in their extensive discography, a crucial turning point for the band. The subsequent Eternity would steer away from death-doom into a sort of goth- doom hybrid, and then from there on metal would fade away from their sound altogether. Here, though, their death- doom roots are very much in evidence- especially in Vincent Cavanagh's growled vocals and Daniel Cavanagh's crushing riffs - but they're mingled with just enough touches of atmospheric not-quite-prog to be a bit of a different prospect from standard early death-doom.

As such, it's a transitional album, and I personally find that Anathema are more interesting on the cusp of this transition than they ever were before or since.

Review by The Crow
3 stars A doom band trying to find a new path... That's The Silent Enigma.

After the dissappointing and boring Serenades, Anathema expanded their sound by introducing a lot of keyboards and even orchestral arrangements in an album with a much deeper songwriting and variety. The result is a doom/gothic record with traces of progressive rock and psychedelic elements which is really interesting and very important for the band's career.

The production is also better than in their previous release, while Vincent took his role in vocals that he would never leave. He can't really sing in this album, but he sound tortured and dramatic enough, making him an appropiate frontman for a doom metal band. They also used female voices here, another trademark of Anathema's sound.

The Silent Enigma opens with Restless Oblivion, which starts with a 100% Anthema-typical guitar. After that we find a strong doom metal track with powerful bass lines and aggresive voices. The composition is surprisingly variable, almost progressive. And so is also Shroud of Frost, with a tortured vocal line from Vincent and excellent Danny's guitars toward the end.

Alone is my favourite track on the entire record, starting with a mellow acoustic guitar and keyboard melody. After that comes a beautiful female voice, with a strong melancholic feeling which introduces the mood of later releases like Alternative 4 or Judgement. Sunset of Age is a bit more gothic, very melodic, while Nocturnal Emission is a slow doom metal track with surprising psychedelic elements.

Cerulean Twilight es another typical doom metal song which suddenly transforms itself in a semi-acoustic tune in its second half. The Silent Enigma has very good melodies and a romatic ambience in the vein of the later Eternity. Good song! And also pretty good is A Dying Wish, maybe the best song of the album with typical riffs and Anathema's first epoch.

Black Orchid is an appropiate instrumental ending which woks as a summary of the album's style, both mellow, romantic and very dark.

Conclusion: the fans of Anahtema's last records will be dissappointed with The Silent Enigma. But this was my first Anathema's album two decades ago, and I still have a special affection for it. It's a good example and a band searching new ways to expand their music while maintaining the core style of their first album. Therefore is a perfect recommendation for doom metal lovers, but also for people desirous to discover one of the most interesting and stimulating transformations in prog rock history.

Best Tracks: Alone, The Silent Enigma, A Dying Wish.

My Rating: ***

Latest members reviews

3 stars Thank Heaven, the Cavanagh brothers and Duncan Patterson quickly realized that Darren White as a vocalist was simply not suitable for Anathema, so he was dismissed from the band, and Vincent Cavanagh took his place, and it was he who became the main vocalist from The Silent Enigma. The replacement w ... (read more)

Report this review (#2542220) | Posted by Peacock Feather | Wednesday, May 12, 2021 | Review Permanlink

3 stars On The Silent Enigma, Anathema started leaving behind the death-doom sound of their debut album Serenades and incorporating traces of the more melodic songwriting that will dominate their future discography. Fans of the band should have seen this coming: already on Serenades the band had showed thei ... (read more)

Report this review (#2489736) | Posted by lukretio | Saturday, January 2, 2021 | Review Permanlink

2 stars Anathema very slowly progressing to prog! Not only is the first awkward vocalist gone but the growls of Cavanaugh are a bit more bearable - it is more screaming than growling which suits his vocal better. Musically, the band has improved on all fronts: drums, interplay between guitars and keys, ... (read more)

Report this review (#2040874) | Posted by sgtpepper | Thursday, October 4, 2018 | Review Permanlink

3 stars 5/10 One effort more rewarding than the horrible debut. But the vocals ... ... They screw it up again. And that's because there's a new singer, one of the brothers Cavanagh. To my misfortune, his vocals are just more of the same, slow and guttural growls that drag unnecessarily undermining ... (read more)

Report this review (#993840) | Posted by voliveira | Tuesday, July 9, 2013 | Review Permanlink

2 stars Silent Enigma ? 1995 (2.4/5 almost 3 stars) 8 ? Best Song: ?Alone? Have you acclimated yourself with the up and coming gothic rock phase? Well don't sweat it that much, I've been here and I've been there, and I for sure haven't found anything otherworldly. Usually the group will stipulate ... (read more)

Report this review (#459138) | Posted by Alitare | Saturday, June 11, 2011 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Crushing emotional weight. With their second album, Anathema took their despondent Doom Metal into the darkest depths of agony while broadening their songwriting and sharpening their overall approach. Bleak, foreboding soundscapes merge with devastatingly heavy outbursts of anguish revealing t ... (read more)

Report this review (#85980) | Posted by bleak | Sunday, August 6, 2006 | Review Permanlink

3 stars A first transitional album in the career of Anathema. The vocals are still extreme metal, but this time they are done by someone who can actually sing. The music is now much more atmospheric, with a lot of melodic passages. The album starts with "Restless Oblivion" and "Shroud Of Frost", two cl ... (read more)

Report this review (#64622) | Posted by zaxx | Friday, January 13, 2006 | Review Permanlink

3 stars "The Silent Enigma" is somewhat a transitional album for Anathema. They are leaving the "doom metal" sound and becoming a gothic metal group. From this album on, guitarist Vincent Cavanagh handles the vocal duties. As opposite to former vocalist Darren White, he actually sings (and also screa ... (read more)

Report this review (#46573) | Posted by Prosciutto | Wednesday, September 14, 2005 | Review Permanlink

3 stars The orchestral part of "The Silent Enigma" is, most beautiful, the way they transform theese harmonic tunes into raging guitar riffs and devestating vocal, is less impressive I must admit, though in the songs "Dying Wish" "Sleepless 69" they manage to hold a relatively balanced sounds, where they ... (read more)

Report this review (#30097) | Posted by | Thursday, June 2, 2005 | Review Permanlink

4 stars If you like your music a bit heavy then try this. If you like your music heavy and you've never heard Anethema then definitley try this! Progressive and heavy. This album definitley shows potential from Liverpools best kept secret. If you like The Silent Enigma then listen ot Eternity. Eterity ... (read more)

Report this review (#30096) | Posted by | Friday, March 4, 2005 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This album rock's so hard it has givin me so much inspiration as a guitarist and a singer. I would love to see Anathema do alot more tour's in the uk and i'm sure alot of other people would as well. I have a very high respect level for this band as they have helped me get through the good and ... (read more)

Report this review (#30095) | Posted by | Wednesday, November 24, 2004 | Review Permanlink

4 stars "The Silent Enigma" is a highly melancholic, Romantic DOOM metal album. It has nothing to do with prog rock whatsoever. However, Anathema were excellent at playing that British doom style that they, along with bands like Paradise Lost and My Dying Bride, helped to create. The vocals are certai ... (read more)

Report this review (#30094) | Posted by | Sunday, June 27, 2004 | Review Permanlink

Post a review of ANATHEMA "The Silent Enigma"

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.