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ANATHEMA

Experimental/Post Metal • United Kingdom


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Anathema biography
Formed in the summer of 1990 in Liverpool (also home to THE BEATLES), by Daniel Cavanagh (guitarist). Their original line-up was: Darren White (vocals), Vincent Cavanagh (guitars), Daniel Cavanagh (guitars), Jamie Cavanagh (bass), and John Dougals (percussion), under the moniker PAGAN ANGEL. Since then, there's been too many line-up changes to mention here, although Vincent, Daniel, and John have all maintained status in the band, except Daniel briefly in 2002 (click on the album's for more line-up information). They would release one demo and then change their name to ANATHEMA. They released two more demo's and then were discovered by Hammy of Peaceville Records, who signed them. They went on to be the most overlooked gem of the '90's. Starting as romantic doom metal ("The Crestfallen", "Serenades", and "The Silent Enigma"), and then transitioning into an avant-garde experimental force. Each album bears evidence of progression. The vocals are always improving and becoming even more poignant, accenting the music and lyrics (which this band are probably the best lyricist's out there). "Eternity" was sort of a transitional album for them, somewhat abandoning the guttural cries of despondency and replacing that with Vincent Cavanagh's beautiful singing voice. Their influences range from PINK FLOYD to The BEATLES to RADIOHEAD. The future for ANATHEMA is promising because they are the future.

"The Cresfallen" and "Serenades" are mainly attracted by doom metal fans because of the pace of the music and Darren White's moody vocals. "Pentecost III" showed the band exploring long escapades into realms not traveled by any band in their genre. Also being the last release to feature Darren White on vocals. "The Silent Enigma" is a monumental album, blending beauty and despair, poetically. "Eternity" was the transitional album, where they explored the vast expanse of space (a la PINK FLOYD). "Alternative 4" and "Judgement" were both excellent editions to their catalogue, but lacking the experimentation of the next two albums. "A Fine Day to Exit" was a large step into various different soundscapes. It was followed by "A Natural Disaster," where they achieved a sound completely their own, surpassing even RADIOHEAD, with their absolute exploration of the unknown. "We're Here Because We're Here" was released in 2010 and continued to show signs of progression of the band's sound.

Highly recommended: "Pentecost III," "The Silent Enigma," Eternity," and "A Natu...
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Weather SystemsWeather Systems
The End Records 2012
Audio CD$7.48
$8.97 (used)
Distant SatellitesDistant Satellites
Kscope 2014
Audio CD$7.81
$5.31 (used)
ANATHEMA Universal [Blu-ray]ANATHEMA Universal [Blu-ray]
Multiple Formats · Blu-ray
Kscope 2013
Blu-ray$11.24
$11.74 (used)
JudgementJudgement
Import
Sony Bmg Europe 2008
Audio CD$3.96
$2.76 (used)
Fine Days 1999 - 2004 (3xCD/DVD)Fine Days 1999 - 2004 (3xCD/DVD)
The End Records 2015
Audio CD$17.79
$19.26 (used)
We're Here Because We're HereWe're Here Because We're Here
The End Records 2011
Audio CD$32.92
$20.99 (used)
Distant SatelitesDistant Satelites
Kscope 2015
Audio CD$12.99
Pentecost IIIPentecost III
Remastered
Peaceville 2004
Audio CD$6.64
$6.25 (used)
HindsightHindsight
Snapper Music Group 2008
Audio CD$7.22
$11.15 (used)
Fine Day to ExitFine Day to Exit
Import
Sony UK 2006
Audio CD$3.16
$3.15 (used)
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ANATHEMA discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

ANATHEMA top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.30 | 169 ratings
Serenades
1993
3.10 | 199 ratings
The Silent Enigma
1995
3.61 | 283 ratings
Eternity
1996
4.08 | 506 ratings
Alternative 4
1998
4.17 | 575 ratings
Judgement
1999
3.84 | 403 ratings
A Fine Day to Exit
2001
3.85 | 462 ratings
A Natural Disaster
2004
4.03 | 759 ratings
We're Here Because We're Here
2010
3.83 | 342 ratings
Falling Deeper
2011
4.00 | 750 ratings
Weather Systems
2012
3.70 | 319 ratings
Distant Satellites
2014

ANATHEMA Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.36 | 58 ratings
Untouchable
2013

ANATHEMA Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

3.40 | 22 ratings
A Vision Of A Dying Embrace
2002
3.29 | 43 ratings
Were You There live
2004
3.43 | 57 ratings
A Moment in Time
2006
4.55 | 102 ratings
Universal
2013

ANATHEMA Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.61 | 22 ratings
Serenades + Crestfallen
1995
3.20 | 30 ratings
Resonance: Best of Anathema
2001
2.56 | 22 ratings
Resonance 2
2002
3.93 | 134 ratings
Hindsight
2008
4.39 | 18 ratings
Original Album Classics
2011
3.75 | 4 ratings
Resonance 1 & 2
2015

ANATHEMA Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

1.08 | 9 ratings
An Iliad of Woes
1990
1.93 | 9 ratings
All Faith is Lost
1991
2.71 | 7 ratings
They Die 7''
1992
2.20 | 48 ratings
The Crestfallen
1992
2.50 | 10 ratings
We are the Bible 7''
1994
2.88 | 60 ratings
Pentecost III
1995
1.63 | 8 ratings
Alternative Future
1998
2.23 | 7 ratings
Make it Right
1999
2.55 | 13 ratings
Deep
1999
4.09 | 11 ratings
Pressure
2001
3.43 | 7 ratings
Unchained (Tales Of The Unexpected)
2008
4.54 | 29 ratings
Everything
2010

ANATHEMA Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Distant Satellites by ANATHEMA album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.70 | 319 ratings

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Distant Satellites
Anathema Experimental/Post Metal

Review by Prog Leviathan
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Distant Satellites is another marvelous addition to Anathema's excellent library, although it repeats the winning formula that the group has used in the previous two albums. While it doesn't break new ground, it does succeed at creating a poignant and well-crafted experience.

The album opens in what now seems to be the band's distinctive sound: an sensitive, artistic, a driving melody that builds and builds to a rousing and cripplingly emotional climax. In this case, we begin at the end, as Cavanagh's lyrics tell the story of catharsis after meeting the spirit of a lost love. The response, by what I assume is the spirit, features singing by guest vocalist Lee Douglas, whose gorgeous voice will probably leave you in a puddle on the floor. This opening passage is Anathema playing it safe, but also playing to their strengths, and it leaves an impact

The songs that follow continue to float the listener on a sea of tidal emotions; rising and falling in equal measure as the two voices lament for their lost love. Many will find the lyrics somewhat trite and simple, but more will hear them as poetic and soulful, telling a story in a way that is ambiguous enough for the listener to project themselves into the emotions. This, I think, is one of the most powerful features of Anathema's songwriting; it creates feelings of empathy in the listener that hit harder than any other band in my library.

The band creates sounds that are lush a delicate, electric and modern. The instrumental moments peak on "Anathema", with an elegant but very powerful by guitarist Cavangh. For me, that standout songs are those which drift into the somewhat electronic and ambient; these songs aren't as epic as the rock tunes, but they change the tone and feel, contributing to variety on this otherwise pathos heavy album. Unfortunately, you probably won't remember much except for the melodies in "Lost Song".

Part of me is disappointed in Distant Satellites because it's so similar in theme, sound, and content to recent albums, but Anathema is so good at making this kind of music - which continues to have an effect on me - that I still enjoy the experience. If you know and like Anathema, you'll enjoy Distant Satellites, but it's not their best album by a long shot. In terms of production and performances it's faultless, but for me it's good but not essential because it accomplishes the same thing the band's other albums do, but not quite as well.

Songwriting: 3 - Instrumental Performances: 3 - Lyrics/Vocals: 4 - Style/Emotion/Replay: 4

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 An Iliad of Woes  by ANATHEMA album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1990
1.08 | 9 ratings

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An Iliad of Woes
Anathema Experimental/Post Metal

Review by TCat
Prog Reviewer

1 stars This is Anathema's demo that includes 4 songs that were never released in any other way. It is totally black/doom metal with 100% growling vocals and heavy instrumentals. The recording is not very good and, even though there are hints to the greatness they would later achieve with some better than normal compositions, it gets really old by the time you get only half way through the 2nd track. The tracks are long, but don't offer much in the way of dynamics or variety, it's just loud with a lot of rhythmic changes. Not an enjoyable listen, but it is interesting from a historic viewpoint because it is their early attempts at becoming the great band they would later be.

Stay away from this unless you are an avid fan and you need everything they have recorded no matter how bad it is. All others should check out their later work which is much better.

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 Falling Deeper by ANATHEMA album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.83 | 342 ratings

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Falling Deeper
Anathema Experimental/Post Metal

Review by Rodrigo Andrade7

4 stars At first, I wasn't scared of listening to this album, but I have to admit that I was a bit skeptical if this album would live up to the hype it had back in the day. Now that I've listen to this album so many times I think I could sum it up and just say that this is a masterpiece of our modern times (which it is) But it's way more than that, this album reaches your heart and doesn't go away. Everytime I hear this album, all kinds of good things comes up to my mind...good memories or not...this album inspires calmness everywhere, makes life seem beautiful. This album is a living proof that is possible to arrange kinds of music that are so opposite to each other, such professionalism and high level musicians, it's just brilliant. I'm a fan of light Anathema over dark Anathema, so it's no surprise that this album would be a highlight for me, I just simply love modern Anathema and this album is a fantastic vision of it for sure. A unique album.

4* Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection.

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 A Fine Day to Exit by ANATHEMA album cover Studio Album, 2001
3.84 | 403 ratings

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A Fine Day to Exit
Anathema Experimental/Post Metal

Review by TCat
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Anathema finally settled in and defined their sound after changing from the doom metal of the early years. This was quite a stretch from their original sound and of course it alienated many old fans. But their sound was now established to a mostly somber and atmospheric sound. The topics of their lyrics were still bleak, but the lyrics were also more realistic and personal than before. Their sound took on the best sounds of Progressive greats like Porcupine Tree, Pink Floyd and Opeth (at their most mellow) and even took on sounds of Archive (trip hop-py sound except with less electronics...."Barriers" sounds so much like Archive that you would think it was if you didn't know any better) and there was no more growling vocals. The Cavanaughs were still at the helm as they would almost always be, but other members kind of came and went. But the music was beautiful but still quite dark.

This album was the first of their best work. There were still some weak tracks in the middle as the band explored a few different sounds to keep some variety in the music, but the album definitely begins and ends strong. More keyboards and acoustics are added to the mix and sometimes even drive the sound. The guitar here in this album is more atmospheric and instrumental as the band explores the sounds that they can get out of the instruments.

The best tracks are the ones that have the most feeling and emotion. These are "Pressure", "Release", "Looking Outside Inside", "Leave No Trace", the title track and the hidden acoustic track "In the Dog's House". The rest of the songs are good, but lack some development and are a little hard to remember. But you can hear the effort the band is making in exploring this new sound and it is a very worthy effort. Things would continue to get better with subsequent albums.

This album isn't quite up to masterpiece status yet, but it is close. The album's first 4 songs are worth the price of the album and the weaker tracks really aren't that weak, they just don't have as much of a personality, but they are still good. The improvement in the sound is obvious, it is well polished and the vocals are much much better. 4 strong stars signifies that this is still an excellent addition to your collection. Definitely a band with positive movement.

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 Falling Deeper by ANATHEMA album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.83 | 342 ratings

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Falling Deeper
Anathema Experimental/Post Metal

Review by TCat
Prog Reviewer

3 stars After the release of the album "Hindsight" which was an unplugged rendering of previously released material, Anathema fans wanted to know why there wasn't much in the way of representative music from the doom metal albums. "Falling Deeper" was the response to this. The tracks on this album are all orchestral renderings of select songs from the doom metal albums. Most of the songs are led by a piano and some mostly ambient vocals which in most cases do not repeat most of the lyrics from those songs. These are beautiful renderings done with a lot of flourish. But they can tend to come across as quickly composed and arranged. Most of the tracks are just way too short and rushed making them seem underdeveloped. The songs are just not given a fitting tribute and, even though I do think it's a great idea to orchestrate doom metal songs to symphonic songs, I feel the originals are just not given the justice they deserve.

However, it's not a complete disaster here. Like I said, the orchestrations are beautiful. "Sunset of Age" is a well composed and arranged piece with more vocals than the other tracks and the orchestra is given a chance to really develop this version of the song into a piece of it's own. There is also a very nice guitar solo played with the orchestra. The song has been given time to breath and take on a new life. "Everawake" is fronted more by an acoustic guitar and is a welcome variation from the symphonic sounds. This song is also headed by the female vocalist Anneke van Viersbergen who has worked with Ayreon, Devin Townsend, Within Temptation and many other bands. There is more a beautiful piano interlude on "I Made a Promise" that tends to take the rushed feeling of the album down to more relaxed feel. Anneke also sings lead on "Alone" which is also the only other track besided "Sunset of Age" over 7 minutes. The longer songs are so much better because the tracks seem so much more developed. With the overall album only being about 37 minutes, they certainly had more time to develop these versions better. Unfortunately, Anneke is underutilized on this track, but the track has a much better ambiance with the addition of acoustic guitar and spacey keyboards. There is a nice use of dissonance on this one too, where as the other tracks are just much to clean.

As much as I love Anathema's music, and as much as I would love for this album to work, there are only two really great songs here in "Sunset" and "Alone". These I would consider progressive, not just because they are longer tracks, but because they are better developed and go beyond just being symphonic. The rest of the tracks have a highlight here and there, but do not use enough of the lyrics from the originals and are too short to really be taken very seriously. They just are not given enough time to breathe and the music just seems too rushed. Unfortunately, I can only give this a 3 star rating, but it is a nice listen on occasion, but it's not something I put on very often.

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 Eternity by ANATHEMA album cover Studio Album, 1996
3.61 | 283 ratings

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Eternity
Anathema Experimental/Post Metal

Review by TCat
Prog Reviewer

3 stars This is Anathema's first attempt to venture away from their trademark doom metal sound into a more dynamic and varied sound. For the most part, they keep a lot of the same topics of interest in their songs, but they explore other sounds in a search for a sound they can call their own. The band does a pretty descent job of pulling it off, and there was a surprising lack of criticism from most of their fans about the sudden change of style.

Anathema has become a band lately that has received a lot of respect and it has been well earned. They have a pretty impressive discography and through most of it, you truly hear a progression to a much better sound, production and vocal quality. On this album, there are very few dirty vocals, where previous to this, all of their vocals were pretty much growling. The vocals aren't too bad, but there are a lot of issues and areas of weakness there that weren't yet worked out in this album. So you get a real raw feeling there, but it doesn't mix very well with the accent in the English lyrics. It's sometimes an irritating sound, but not bad enough to ignore the album.

As far as the instrumentals and orchestration, you can hear a huge improvement in the variation, composition and musicianship here. Even the instrumentals can be a little rough at times, but there is no doubt of where the band was going to go as far as professionalism. Here is a band that listened to criticism to improve their sound, and improve it they would do. That still doesn't mean you should ignore this album. There are some great tracks here and you can hear the attempts at emotion in both the voice and the instruments, and as a consequence, you get some great moments, notably in the "Eternity" trilogy and other songs where the vocals even come close to early David Gilmour vocals as in the Gilmour/Harper penned tune "Hope".

You can also pick out their explorative side starting to grow in "Suicide Veil" where if you can get around the vocals, you end up getting a very beautifully written song with a lot of emotion. The problem with the vocals and emotion is that sometimes it is over dramatized in an attempt to make the emotion stand out more, but again, the band was learning. Actually, the believability level is a lot higher in the sections where the vocals approach the most emotional points and come close to, but don't quite reach, the old dirty sounding vocals. It is actually a trait that is welcomed on this album mostly because it is done with better control than in previous attempts, and of course, dynamics are playing a much bigger part in this album. Even the use of dynamics would continue to improve as the band continue to put out more albums.

I have a lot of respect for this band and the growth they have had over the years. I was pushing my friends to listen to this band and some of them actually did listen to them and are now true fans. It is good to see them now getting the respect they deserve for improving their sound and perfecting it. On the way to perfection though, they were able to influence the sound of Goth- metal with albums like this one that would be released. I know there are a lot of fans that love this album, I have a slightly harder time with it because they were still working out the kinks in the new sound they were exploring. When they finally do find their own sound, what we have is a band that is up there with the best post-metal or progressive metal bands and for that I have respect for what they were doing with this album. They took some great steps with this album and they still came out of it with a lot of respect, so it was a step in the right direction. With some slight hesitation because of my respect for the album, I can only rate the album as good, but not essential. But it is a very bright 3 star album and if you like this post-metal sound then you should check it out at least, it might strike a stronger chord within you.

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 Weather Systems by ANATHEMA album cover Studio Album, 2012
4.00 | 750 ratings

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Weather Systems
Anathema Experimental/Post Metal

Review by Thai Divone

5 stars Some bands one discovers by purpose, going through listings of great albums, looking and asking for recommendations. Others one discovers by accident, a strange set of circumstances, the stars turning right, something like that. Anathema's Weather Systems was such an album for me. And unlike many other accidental "discoveries", this one is no less than a masterpiece.

A few years earlier, it turns out, Anathema were a Prog-Metal band, and then they decided that they wanna change their style. Weather Systems came after the change and finds them stronger than ever (or at least, that's what they say. I don't know their earlier stuff too much, mainly because I'm not that much into the Metal-realm).

Their music is based on repetitive riffs. We are presented with a riff in the beginning of the song, and then they build upon it and/or detract from it. Some will say that it's too monotonous, but for me it is just beautiful. One thing that can't be taken from them, though, is their ability to write melodies. Weather Systems is a Master Class in melody-writing, utilizing their talent but with no need to show off. They know what they're doing.

Their lyric writing, on the other hand, is far less impressive. Their lyrics are simple and very emotional, but they're a bit too na´ve for my taste sometimes. The great voices of the singers keep those words alive and touching.

The album opens with a great fingerstyle-guitar riff, joined by a nice walking bass. Vocals join not much later, and the song starts to get a life of its own. Layers are slowly added, building the feel and atmosphere of the album, an album one has to listen to from start to finish, in a single sitting. The song builds itself, climaxing near the 3 minutes' mark. Some nice heavy rock influences during those moments. "Untouchable, Part 1" concludes on a very high emotional level, starting our spiral towards the distance, foreshadowing the storm that begins to show and come.

"Untouchable, Part 2" starts with a great piano riff, in a much slower pace. The hubris is a bit broken, feelings start to abound. Near the 1:40 the song starts to change a little, and layers are again starting to be added, creating the song as it is being played. Slide guitar joins and not much later the drums and bass show their presence. Very melancholic, very winter- y. the second part references it's earlier part quite a lot during the next moments, before concluding, leaving us with a heavy dose of emptiness.

The Gathering of the Clouds starts with storm, both literally and figuratively. Fingerstyle guitar for the riff, a very quick pace throughout. The singers harmonize each other, showcasing their great singing abilities. And it all leads to? A lightning. Which is much slower quite surprisingly, even though no less atmospheric. The contrast between this song and the earlier one creates a small dissonance in the mind, making us think, making us feel the coldness and coolness of the situation. Around the 3:13 mark the suspense pays off, with a great guitar solo accompanied by a great drums work. The bass line in here is no less than amazing. So many layers in this song, and yet it feels so elegant and right. 4:30 and we're back in the beginning of the song, the lightning is behind us.

And then a sunlight comes out, and we feel a little bit better. A slow pace, with much Hammond work and a nice little fingerstyle guitar accompanies a lone voice, joined sometimes by another. Suspense is starting to be created, though, and a steady drum bit grows louder and louder as the time and the song move onward. Electric guitars show presence around 2:40, only to accelerate the building, to culminate around 3:11 to the song twists and turns, and then stops almost abruptly, continuing almost whispery for a second or so more.

Then a storm comes, a storm that comes before the calm. A bass line that is just pure genius accompanies a great bass- drum line, before all hell breaks loose and it just gets colder and colder. Melancholic, emotional and a maybe even depressing. In most albums, this song will feel a bit out of place, but here it feels so right somehow. A completely different style of a song, and yet so fits. Some nice electronics around the 2:45 mark, heard over a storm made of a drum and a bass. A wind blows around the 4 minutes mark, and then we're slowing towards the 5 minutes mark, only to see the damages, to understand what we have lost. A completely different song emerges, so different yet the same one. A new world, maybe?

The Beginning and the End is my favorite track in this wonderful album. A great keyboards riff on which the song slowly builds itself, layer after layer joining the mix. A little bit before the 2 minutes mark the electrics join in, and the singer asks for help because "the silence is raging" inside him and all around him and everywhere in between. A nice guitar solo comes afterwards, and the drums and bass almost but not quite attack our ears, doing it just in the right level. Another, yet different, guitar solo, and then a beautiful keyboards riff joins, softly and gently guiding us away and onwards towards our next stop, towards our future.

Then comes The Lost Child. A slow, moving song, starting in the low volumes and slowly grows fuller and richer, even though not louder in the common sense. A great keyboards line takes us next, before the vocals join in. it starts to slowly accelerate around the 1:30 mark, before slowing again around the 3:10. Then the pace starts to build again, leading to an explosion on the 5 minutes mark. And yet the basic riff is still there, keeping us somewhat still in control, holding the song back a little. Around 5:55 we slow again, going softer and lighter, even though not happier.

Then we go within, into the Internal Landscapes. A few spoken words guide us next, leading us towards our last station on our journey. Guitars join the Hammond around the 1:40 mark, and then: "I was peace, I was love". We've completed a circle, we were born again. We feel again, we love again. Now it is said clearly- this is a spiritual album, this is a search for identity. Drums and guitars join forces, 4:10 and electrics are back. Guitar and singer harmonize around the 6 minutes mark, and then, around 6:30- silence. The spoken words come again, and again we hear those words: "I was peace, I was love". And then- a lone Hammond takes us to the end, leaving us to think?

And then it ends.

2012 was a busy year for prog-heads and yet, for me, this album is the real treat of that year. Maybe it is because I read into it a bit too much, and maybe it is because my taste changes as the years go by, but? I can't grant this album any less than five stars. Even though it doesn't bring anything new to the table, it is, for me, an essential album, and almost no-less important: another great rebuttal to the statement that "Prog is dead". Well, it's not, it's only a little bit harder to find?

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 Distant Satellites by ANATHEMA album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.70 | 319 ratings

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Distant Satellites
Anathema Experimental/Post Metal

Review by Dr÷mmarenAdrian

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 title) doesn't sound good. I would like to call it boring music but I cede. This eleventh album by Anathema: "Distant Satellites" from 2014 has a red and quite anonymous cover and it features the musicians "Vincent Cavanagh"(voice, guitar, vocoder), Danny Cavanagh(guitar, keyboards, vocie), Jamie Cavanagh (bass), John Douglas(drums, keyboards) and Lee Douglas(voice).

I am sorry but after some listening to this music I can't help but feeling bored and a bit tormented. I have hard to see charm and hear lovely music in this even if I try. I found the compositions whiny and the performances so unvaried that I felt it was all the same song. That hadn't of course been a problem if it was a good song. Of course the album has great moments! Just as the landscape has its valleys are there mountains to climb and views to oversee. This lowland has some hills of which the second part of "Arial"(6/10) is the highest. From that hill you can stand and feel the power of being a living man. But the climbing uphill was whiny as usual. The track with the famous name "Anathema" had similar merits(6/10) that made me overlook my difficulties. The instrumental ending of "Take shelter" wasn't bad at all(6/10).

The other compositions weren't necessarily bad but definitely boring and I do not recommend this record to anyone. I know music is a matter of taste and this was not in my taste. Though do I recommend one song: "Ariel" for its instrumental second half and I feel generous enough to give the record two stars.

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 Judgement by ANATHEMA album cover Studio Album, 1999
4.17 | 575 ratings

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Judgement
Anathema Experimental/Post Metal

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE Team

4 stars ANATHEMA (which is Greek meaning something dedicated to evil) is a band that I have heard a few tracks from over the years and they have always rubbed me the wrong way therefore I have avoided this band like a flea-bitten varmint carrying the plague. The truth is this band has had so many different sounds over their career and judging them from any particular phase could leave out one phase that might actually rub you the right way. In this case their 5th studio album JUDGEMENT does just that and rubs that spot that feels oh so good. With a long list of credentials including a sound in alternative rock, acoustic rock, art rock and more, this album finds the band steering their ship out of doom metal waters into a progressive rock sea. In fact if you ask me this band is heavily influenced by the Porcupine Tree albums of the same era with a bit of alternative metal sounds a la Alice In Chains in the mix. Fortunately these influences are strong but not putting them into any particular clone department.

What I am finding pleasing about this album is the strong melodic melancholy with aspiring acoustic arpeggios mixed with grungy chords and passionate pleas to placate the pain. The story is the two Cavanaugh brothers recently lost their mother so the mood of the album fits. This album also finds the band losing bassist Duncan Patterson who was a major contributor in the songwriting department leaving Danny Cavanagh to take the major role as such. This was an album I picked up with much trepidation but since it was one of their highest rated and praised I thought I should at least give it a spin. I was fearing I would find it in the same camp as Opeth, which is a much beloved and highly praised band that I seem to lack the digestive enzymes to comprehend, but to my surprise despite the heavy influences being just a little too obvious, I find myself liking this album a lot. It has enough of its own personality to win me over. Now I can tiptoe through their discography a little bit more hoping to hit on another winner such as this.

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 Distant Satellites by ANATHEMA album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.70 | 319 ratings

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Distant Satellites
Anathema Experimental/Post Metal

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 it┤s 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 band┤s music is as prevailent here as it┤s always been. This is not depressive music though and although it┤s 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 band┤s 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 "You┤re Not Alone" kicks in, the music style changes a bit as a result of the electronic drums. It becomes more ambient and I┤m 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. It┤s the perfect example of how far Anathema have come since their early doom/death metal days. It┤s 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 it┤s 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. I┤ll 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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