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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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The OptimistThe Optimist
KSCOPE 2017
Audio CD$10.99
$11.58 (used)
UniversalUniversal
KSCOPE 2017
Audio CD$11.31
$11.56 (used)
Weather SystemsWeather Systems
Import
Snapper Import 2013
Vinyl$22.63
$32.08 (used)
We're Here Because We're HereWe're Here Because We're Here
Import
Snapper Import 2010
Vinyl$24.47
$154.00 (used)
Fine Day to ExitFine Day to Exit
Import
Sony UK 2006
Audio CD$5.45
$5.98 (used)
ANATHEMA Universal [Blu-ray]ANATHEMA Universal [Blu-ray]
Multiple Formats · Blu-ray
KSCOPE 2017
Blu-ray$40.82
$19.99 (used)
Fine Days 1999-04Fine Days 1999-04
Import
Imports 2015
Audio CD$12.76
$15.53 (used)
Alternative 4Alternative 4
Remastered · Extra tracks
PEACEVILLE 2017
Audio CD$7.14
$5.46 (used)
JudgementJudgement
Import
Sony Bmg Europe 2008
Audio CD$5.14
$5.79 (used)
HindsightHindsight
KSCOPE 2017
Audio CD$9.42
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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)

2.34 | 194 ratings
Serenades
1993
3.15 | 226 ratings
The Silent Enigma
1995
3.60 | 315 ratings
Eternity
1996
4.09 | 554 ratings
Alternative 4
1998
4.16 | 636 ratings
Judgement
1999
3.83 | 446 ratings
A Fine Day To Exit
2001
3.86 | 507 ratings
A Natural Disaster
2003
4.04 | 835 ratings
We're Here Because We're Here
2010
3.82 | 382 ratings
Falling Deeper
2011
4.02 | 836 ratings
Weather Systems
2012
3.70 | 389 ratings
Distant Satellites
2014
3.62 | 58 ratings
The Optimist
2017

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

4.49 | 78 ratings
Untouchable
2013
3.98 | 34 ratings
A Sort of Homecoming
2015

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

3.38 | 27 ratings
A Vision Of A Dying Embrace
2002
3.34 | 47 ratings
Were You There live
2004
3.48 | 63 ratings
A Moment in Time
2006
4.53 | 129 ratings
Universal
2013

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

2.52 | 24 ratings
Serenades + Crestfallen
1995
3.20 | 35 ratings
Resonance: Best of Anathema
2001
2.62 | 27 ratings
Resonance 2
2002
3.95 | 145 ratings
Hindsight
2008
4.50 | 22 ratings
Original Album Classics
2011
4.14 | 7 ratings
Resonance 1 & 2
2015
4.17 | 6 ratings
Fine Days 1999 - 2004
2015

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

1.25 | 12 ratings
An Iliad of Woes
1990
1.97 | 12 ratings
All Faith is Lost
1991
2.89 | 9 ratings
They Die 7''
1992
2.22 | 55 ratings
The Crestfallen
1992
2.46 | 13 ratings
We are the Bible 7''
1994
2.87 | 66 ratings
Pentecost III
1995
1.62 | 10 ratings
Alternative Future
1998
2.38 | 10 ratings
Make it Right
1999
2.63 | 16 ratings
Deep
1999
3.92 | 13 ratings
Pressure
2001
3.56 | 9 ratings
Unchained (Tales Of The Unexpected)
2008
4.54 | 31 ratings
Everything
2010

ANATHEMA Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Weather Systems by ANATHEMA album cover Studio Album, 2012
4.02 | 836 ratings

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Weather Systems
Anathema Experimental/Post Metal

Review by The Crow
Prog Reviewer

4 stars After their very welcomed comeback two years before, Anathema released an album just as good as We're Here Because We're Here. If not even better!

Steve Wilson was not involved in the mixing of the album this time, but the production is also splendid, with a bigger predominance of strings and an even more variaty of moods and ambiences. The direction in this album is a bit more melancholic of in the previous effort, especially in the second half of the album, but not so dramatic like in preterits times.

Untouchable, Pt. 1 opens the album brilliantly, with an obvious continuation in style and mood. I think that Weather Systems was composed through the years along with We're Here Because We're Here, because the two albums are rather similar and they share too many points in common. Great guitars, beautiful melodies and intimate lyrics.

Untouchable Pt. 2 is follows the same musical theme, but in a slower and very melodic way. Lee's voice is introduced in the second verse and in the second chorus Vincent and Lee offer a marvellous duet. Just marvellous! The Gathering of the Clouds opens in a very dramatic way, with fast guitars and ominous piano chords and overlapping vocals in the style of Savatage.

This song is some kind of introduction to Lightning Song, the best Anathema's song in my opinion and a moment of pure magic. Lee's voice is just disarming in this one, and so are the touching lyrics. I chose this song for the end of my wedding... And the guests were really surprised!

Sunlight comes with the voice of Daniel Cavanagh, and his warmth help to create another great song for this album. The Storm Before the Calm is just life Get Off Get Out, the experimental moment of the album. But luckily much better this time! The cold robotic voices are perfect for the lyrics, and the second half of the song is a return to the style of A Natural Disaster.

The Beginning And the End is in my opinion another highlight of this album, with its marvellous piano keyboard, strong bass and the best Vincent's singing. Period. Just an almost perfect song! Sadly The Lost Child is a bit boring and repetitive, despite its classicism and fine orchestral arrangement. And Daniel's singing is also not so good in this one.

Internal Landscapes follow the path is like a mix between Presence and Hindsight from the previous album, but better than both and with an outstanding central section in the purest Anathema's style. Intense and strong guitars, alongside a bit of prog and charming melodies.

Conclusion: Weather System was not a big surprised compared to We're Here Because We're Here. Is like a second part of this album, but a bit better in my opinion. The 2010 released had an outstanding first half, but a weaker second one. Weather System is regular and therefore more enjoyable as a whole, making it the third better Anathema album after Alternative 4 and Judgement.

Sadly the band would not be able to achieve this great level on later releases... But that's another story.

Best tracks: all of the, except the weaker The Lost Child.

My rating: ****1/2, rounded down to four stars.

 We're Here Because We're Here by ANATHEMA album cover Studio Album, 2010
4.04 | 835 ratings

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We're Here Because We're Here
Anathema Experimental/Post Metal

Review by The Crow
Prog Reviewer

4 stars We had to wait seven years for Anathema to come back... And they returned with one of their best albums!

Taking the deep and mature sound of the underrated A Natural Disaster, Anathema developed their sound a steep further with the help of the mixing of Steven Wilson, achieving not only their best sounding release to date, but also their most homogeneous in terms of songwriting and quality.

Thin Air opens We're Here Because We're Here energically, with beautiful lyrics and enough progressive moments to satisfy the most demanding fans of the band. The general ambient of this song is a less dark and melancholic the in previous albums, offering a surprising change in the band's direction, a lot more optimistic and bright. Just like the cover of the album!

Summer Night Horizon brings back the best moments of A Natural Disaster with mellow melodies but intense drums and a precious duet between Vincent and Lee, confirming that this album of 2003 was an advance of what the band would later do. Dreaming Light is even better, and a tremendous proof of how Vincent Cavanagh improved his voice through the years. Maybe the lyrics are a bit corny, but that's not so important while we are hearing the marvelous guitar and keyboard solo.

Everything was a single that we heard years before We're Here Because We're Here was released, and a great song despite its obvious Coldplay influences. It's also a very good act in live performances of the band. Angels Walk Among Us is my favorite song of the album. Another sentimental lyrics with splendid guitar melodies in the background. Prodigious!

Presence is musically a follow up of the previous track, but it contains some kind of philosophical speech in consonance with the mood of the album. A Simple Mistake is a bit more melancholic, a bit in the vein of Judgement but without reaching the best moment of this album. A good track nevertheless, with strong guitars towards the end.

Get Off Get Out is the most experimental moment of the album, and also one of its lowest moment. Is not a bad song, just anodyne? Luckily Universal is a better. A orchestral song with beautiful singing from Vincent and a very powerful second half. This should have been the ending of the album, because Hindsight is just pleasant, but not brilliant. And also a bit too long, making a good second half of the album, but not so outstanding as the first five songs.

Conclusion: despite its weak moments, We're Here Because We're Here is a very good Anathema album. Sometimes even excellent. It introduced a brighter and more optimistic stage for the band, which would encounter an excellent follow-up on Weather Systems. It has also a very competent production and mixing (the hand of Steve Wilson is there) and even the sometimes showy lyrics can't ruin the excellent songwriting that the band achieved during its almost seven years without releasing an album.

Best Tacks: Thin Air, Summer Night Horizon, Dreaming Light, Everything, Angels Walk Among Us.

My rating: ****

 The Silent Enigma by ANATHEMA album cover Studio Album, 1995
3.15 | 226 ratings

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The Silent Enigma
Anathema Experimental/Post Metal

Review by The Crow
Prog Reviewer

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: ***

 Serenades by ANATHEMA album cover Studio Album, 1993
2.34 | 194 ratings

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Serenades
Anathema Experimental/Post Metal

Review by aglasshouse

2 stars Serenades' story is an unfortunate one, mainly due to the album being unknowingly doomed from the start to be cast aside because of how much of a reputation Anathema would gain with preceding albums. I'm not the first one to say it, but it's fairly cut-and-dry that Anathema's debut does not match up in quality to nearly every other release the band had following it. This goes for not only Anathema's progressive rock material but also in terms of their doom metal albums, because they made leaps and bounds with their previously half-baked ideas with the Silent Enigma two years later. So really what makes Serenades generally thought of as bad?

Well aside from the aforementioned comparisons it gets to later material (that is usually judged to be much higher quality), Serenades is generally not very interesting. It's unnaturally melodic in unfitting places with overly loud guitars drowning out dull, growling vocals from Darren White, making for a seemingly confused doom metal album that shows a different genre within it but refuses to show it to it's full potential, in this case the progressive side of Anathema. I will admit on first listen it packs quite a punch- the double kick, crisp drumming from John Douglas really contrasts well with the very large-sounding guitar duo of the Cavanagh brothers. And then they do it again. And again. And so forth. It really is a neat concept that could use more exploring, but here it's just really maldeveloped. The melodies also get stale extremely quickly. 'Eternal Rise of the Sun''s opening hook isn't anything really special, but it is substantial. Then it gets repeated so much that it just gets annoying.

Honestly I think the biggest problem is Serenades doesn't want to be a gritty, Winter-esque album with very low production value and little eclecticism. Young Anathema wanted to be more than that, obviously, but how they show that is with an underwhelming release that can't decide whether it wants to be complex or simple. And don't even get me started on the twenty-three-and-a-half minute long pseudo-orchestral snooze-fest that is 'Dreaming: The Romance". Usually when you see a song of that length you'd assume something spectacular. Instead you get almost a half-an-hour of flat, programmed strings with very little variation, and sounding like an intro or interlude stretched out twenty minutes too long. Really it's a disappointing ending to an already disappointing album.

Serenades is an album remembered among really only fans, and not really for a good reason. It's an underdeveloped...well, I wouldn't really call it a "mess" but more along the lines of a misstep. It was corrected fairly well but it's a tangled debut with bigger aspirations than it can fit in it's tiny box.

 The Optimist by ANATHEMA album cover Studio Album, 2017
3.62 | 58 ratings

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The Optimist
Anathema Experimental/Post Metal

Review by Timdano

4 stars I'll keep it simple on this one: next-to-perfect. After about 20 or so spins the anthematic (is that a word; if not it should be) Anathema rises from what some see as a recent slump of semi-decent albums (in my humble opinion) to an album I can't put down.

The Optimist strikes such high notes - and emotionally low lows I'm not used to hearing from this band - flowing song to song in the story continued from A Fine Day to Exit.

My brief takeaway from about 20 spins:

- Dark and melancholic

- Stunning production

- Not dull as a lot of Distant Satellites was for me

How is it that this band doesn't fill stadiums and is not a household name? Sadly, there is no justice in the music scene.

 The Optimist by ANATHEMA album cover Studio Album, 2017
3.62 | 58 ratings

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The Optimist
Anathema Experimental/Post Metal

Review by javajeff

4 stars The Optimist is another solid album from Anathema, and more music from them is always welcome. Leaving it Behind is a track that starts things off after a concept oriented starter track, and reminds me of the Distant Satellites title track. There is no Lost Song part 1 & 2 or Untouchable 1 & 2, and as a result, The Optimist may be a little more accessible for nonprog folk. Leaving the last two cookie cutter albums alone, The Optimist falls into the mold between A Fine Day To Exit and A Natural Disaster. Since it is a sequel to 2001's A Fine Day to Exit, this makes sense. I enjoy the variety of their albums since it breaks up the monotony. The Optimist title track is a standout with lush orchestration and the familiar Anathema feel. The Optimist is an excellent addition to your collection, and it will be in my heavy rotation for a while. Only time will tell how it stacks up to their amazing catalog of albums.
 The Silent Enigma by ANATHEMA album cover Studio Album, 1995
3.15 | 226 ratings

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The Silent Enigma
Anathema Experimental/Post Metal

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

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.

 A Sort of Homecoming by ANATHEMA album cover Live, 2015
3.98 | 34 ratings

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A Sort of Homecoming
Anathema Experimental/Post Metal

Review by javajeff

4 stars This acoustic set is just stellar! it is the perfect type of atmosphere for Lee Douglas' angelic voice to soar. There is such sparse instrumentation that this performance is all about the vocals, and the excellent songwriting that Anathema has compiled over the years. Vincent Cavanagh delivers a fantastic vocal performance as well, and you get some stunning duets with the two of them. He is an excellent vocalist, and has grown from the doom roots. I love Anathema albums with full instrumentation, but this is a real treat that adds variety for any collection. It is a must listen for fans of the group, and an excellent entry into progressive with a singer-songwriter appeal. I highly recommend this magical performance.
 Weather Systems by ANATHEMA album cover Studio Album, 2012
4.02 | 836 ratings

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Weather Systems
Anathema Experimental/Post Metal

Review by Prog Leviathan
Prog Reviewer

5 stars Weather Systems is one of the most rousing, beautiful, bitter-sweet, and powerfully emotional musical experiences I have ever encountered. The first suite of songs will build you up, shatter you to pieces, leave you at your most vulnerable and introspective, and then restore you to something stronger than you thought possible. Is this hyperbole? No. I purchased this album shortly before ending a very long-term relationship very tragically, and Weather Systems articulated the circumstances almost too apropos... and so wonderfully musically, that it literally sent me to the floor through cathartic metamorphosis. To. The. Floor.

The first 20 minutes, an extended suite of four tracks, are basically a break-up song, but holy cow is it perfect. Anathema has slowly transitioned from their bleak dark metal roots to masterful romantics, creating lush and sweeping songs that combine thoughtful compositions, a rising swells of dynamics, outstanding musicianship, artistic sensibilities, and pure class; class that puts them in a class their own. For me, these 20 minutes are the pinnacle of the band's output (to date). The songs roar with acoustic and electric guitar sounds, interwoven piano and percussion textures, and deeply resonant bass work. And the vocals... Cavanagh is masterful: pitch-perfect sustains, emotive phrasing, and genuine inflection. Feminine guest vocals by Lee Douglas and orchestra strings just tip things over the edge. Even years later, and after dozens of listens, it still effects me. If you enjoy rock music and life, you'll fall in love with Anathema by the time that "Lightning Song" comes around. If you don't, then I don't think we can be friends anymore.

The second half of the album is just as good, covering more ground conceptually and dynamically. Anathema shows us tracks that are some of their heaviest, yet also most fragile, which is saying something. The band is on an outstanding winning streak, but with Weather Systems they manage to create a release that may be their definitive combination of sounds and styles.

Among my highest recommendations. The perfect place to be introduced to a wonderful band, and perhaps to cross- over into the world of more progressive music.

Songwriting: 5 - Instrumental Performances: 5 - Lyrics/Vocals: 5 - Style/Emotion/Replay: 5

 Weather Systems by ANATHEMA album cover Studio Album, 2012
4.02 | 836 ratings

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Weather Systems
Anathema Experimental/Post Metal

Review by Booba Kastorsky

2 stars I belong to the minority here that can't dig all of that hype about Anathema. And we are minority indeed, if you take into consideration that it was voted Band of the Year by UK's Classic Rock's Prog Magazine a few years ago. My experience with prog tells me that if you don't like it after first listening, it doesn't mean it's not good. So I swear I tried hard to figure out what's behind the hype. I listened a few times WE'RE HERE BECAUSE WE'RE HERE, Weather System, Distant Satellites, and Falling Deeper. But alas I failed to hear what other fellow prog fans hear in those Anathema's most hyped opuses. In my humble opinion, Anathema is not a prog band at all. They are very good, but rather shallow pop band, both musically and lyrically. The band members have good voices and capable of writing very simple (usually consisting no more than 3-4 simple cords or even notes) but nice melodies. The vast majority of their songs are slow to mid-tempo, and they are lushly, although simply, arranged with strings played by session musicians. The majority of their songs are built according to the following simple but showy formula. Most songs begin quietly with male or female voice along with piano or acoustic guitar. It introduces the song's theme that, as mentioned above, quite simple and straightforward. Then drums start, slowly and simply: no tricky time signatures, etc. . Then another instrument (guitar or piano) and probably an extra vocalist pick up the theme, and they started playing and singing it in unison for a while. Then strings stars. The volume goes up gradually until the song reaches its very loud climax, stays there for a couple of minutes, and then the song either starts gradually goes down in volume and drops, then goes quietly and then ends. During that sound roller-coaster, the main simple theme remains the same, it's just played louder or quieter, it may stop unexpectedly and starts again. But you won't find other changes: no improvisations, no time signature shifts, etc. Solos are simple and straightforward. That's why the majority of songs are pretty monotonous. What I like: 1) The album is professionally arranged and produced, sound quality is really good. Big plus to me. 2) Performers have good voices and pop-song composing skills, and they use both very well: most songs are nice and melodic. What I don't like: 1) The music is quite boring, and usually you need to listen to it just ones to get full impression. Unlike most good prog albums, you may listen to it 100 times, but you wouldn't find anything new, because their music and arrangement are very simple, although often effective. 2) The almost obligatory "Climaxes" of their songs are quite loud and annoying. They often simply ruin potentially good song. 3) Sound and structure of their last few albums are very similar, so if you hear one of them, you shouldn't bother too much obtaining the others. It's similar to Ozric Tentacles phenomena :), although in my opinion Ozric albums have much more variety, energy and life and less predictable than Anathema's. So, why so many prog fans like them? I guess because even prog fans like moody but showy melodic pop music with nice boy/girl voices. And if you add to the mix "epic" ( 3 cords) songs with "part 1" and "part 2", the prog fans are sold! :) Well, most of them....
Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition. and to E&O Team for the last updates

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