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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$10.75
$14.33 (used)
We're Here Because We're HereWe're Here Because We're Here
The End Records 2011
Audio CD$11.21
$7.20 (used)
Alternative 4Alternative 4
Remastered · Extra tracks
PEACEVILLE 2017
Audio CD$7.30
$5.39 (used)
JudgementJudgement
Import
Sony Bmg Europe 2008
Audio CD$4.83
$6.75 (used)
SerenadesSerenades
Extra tracks
PEACEVILLE 2017
Audio CD$7.77
$6.38 (used)
Weather SystemsWeather Systems
The End Records 2012
Audio CD$39.97
$20.13 (used)
Distant SatellitesDistant Satellites
Import
Kscope 2014
Audio CD$12.25
$10.00 (used)
Fine Days 1999-04Fine Days 1999-04
Import
Imports 2015
Audio CD$12.76
$25.41 (used)
HindsightHindsight
KSCOPE 2017
Audio CD$9.82
$5.39 (used)
ANATHEMA Universal [Blu-ray]ANATHEMA Universal [Blu-ray]
Multiple Formats · Blu-ray
KSCOPE 2017
Blu-ray$25.44
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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)

2.35 | 193 ratings
Serenades
1993
3.15 | 225 ratings
The Silent Enigma
1995
3.60 | 315 ratings
Eternity
1996
4.08 | 552 ratings
Alternative 4
1998
4.16 | 636 ratings
Judgement
1999
3.83 | 445 ratings
A Fine Day To Exit
2001
3.86 | 506 ratings
A Natural Disaster
2003
4.04 | 831 ratings
We're Here Because We're Here
2010
3.82 | 381 ratings
Falling Deeper
2011
4.02 | 832 ratings
Weather Systems
2012
3.70 | 386 ratings
Distant Satellites
2014
3.60 | 45 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
3.94 | 143 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 | 11 ratings
All Faith is Lost
1991
2.89 | 9 ratings
They Die 7''
1992
2.21 | 54 ratings
The Crestfallen
1992
2.42 | 12 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
 The Optimist by ANATHEMA album cover Studio Album, 2017
3.60 | 45 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
3.60 | 45 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 | 225 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 | 832 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 | 832 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 Anaphema'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 to write 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. The 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. Then other 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 their 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....
 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 Windhawk
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars UK band ANATHEMA have been around for a quarter of a century by now, initially starting out as a doom metal band and then over time developing into one of the more cherished bands in the progressive rock scene. They have a dozen studio productions to their name at this point, as well as a good handful of live productions on CD and DVD. "A Sort of Homecoming" is the most recent of the latter, and was released through UK label Kscope in the fall of 2015.

This review covers the audio parts of this package only. This production is mostly sold as a CD/DVD/Blu-Ray package, so apart from those who buy the vinyl edition there's a concert movie part of this package as well, but as we live in an age where most promos are digital only that part of the package isn't covered here. It probably merits mentioning that the DVD/Blu-Ray concert movie was directed by Lasse Hoilie though, a name normally associated with quality products in such matters.

For those not already familiar with the nature of this live production, you should be aware that this isn't a recording of a typical live Anathema show. This concert was recorded on one of a series of shows where the band performed their material in a rather untypical manner that one might describe as semi-acoustic. And rather than merely replacing the electric guitar with an acoustic one and doing minor adjustments, at least from what I can tell the band have opted to rearrange their material to suit a mostly acoustic performance in this case. The drum patterns and bass are much more careful, the keyboards are mainly used to create fragile, atmospheric laden details, there is a wee bit of electric guitar details at hand too unless my ears deceives me, but then strictly limited to add frail, delicate nuances to the performances. Acoustic guitar and piano alternate between having the major instrument roles, and on occasion cello and violin are added to provide additional depth and scope, presumably instead of keyboards.

Anathema isn't a band that are strangers to delicate or even acoustic arrangements of course, as quite a few of their compositions may start off if not quite in an acoustic manner then at least in a comparable one, building from a fragile state into creations of a more majestic magnificence. These traits are present also when those compositions are explored in a semi-acoustic manner, with elegant build-ups a key feature for quite a few of the songs here. But the dramatic and emotional peaks are rather more subtle on this performance, the majestic passages more delicate in nature, stately and sophisticated rather than highly emotional to the point of being borderline overpowering.

This change in perspective ultimately means that the songs as a whole are more dependent on the main vocalists to carry the songs and to add the tension and emotional impact needed to maintain interest. Both main vocalists in the band are quality vocalists of course, and in this case it would appear that they both had a good night performance wise as well, both of them providing enthralling vocals as standalone vocalists as well as when alternating for in the main vocal roles or when interacting to create vocal harmonies. In fact it would appear that all the band members had a good night for this recording, as the performance is just about as spotless as you can expect from a live performance. That they have opted to include the sounds of the audience as well is a nice touch in my book, rather than fading out and in again in between songs the spoken words from stage and audience reactions and responses are captured, from what I can hear at least, in full. Which is a nice touch in my book, giving the people who buy this package a true to life experience of how the entire concert actually was.

Just how much you will enjoy this production ultimately comes down to just how fond you are of this band, as well as how fond you are of a band that pulls of a set of semi-acoustic renditions of their material. If you are fond of rock and metal bands that rearrange their material to suit an acoustic performance this is a production that merits a check, and if you are a fan of this band this is a concert production that will give you a new and possibly revealing experience of their material, and then in a good manner I would suspect. A quality production, at least when it comes to the sound recording and the performance it documents, and I'd be much surprised if the video capture of this performance is any less intriguing.

 We're Here Because We're Here by ANATHEMA album cover Studio Album, 2010
4.04 | 831 ratings

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

Review by Quinino
Collaborator Errors & Omissions Team

5 stars My ALL-TIME Greatest #4

Anathema formed in 1990 as a doom metal band, initially going by the name Pagan Angel, so when this album was released they had already a long road behind them, and a few line-up changes as well.
And if you go back and listen to the previous works, their sound evolved also a lot from the original.
I wont try to label the present work, its beyond my capacity (and does it matter, really) but I can and will tell you the feeling I get each and every time ? EMOTION ? sublime and pure Emotion.

Global Appraisal

These young fellows surely know how to move you: the lyrics and alike the music sound so intimate and emotional that I get a sense of familiarity and belonging, like they're playing and singing just for me, it's the better I can explain (or try to).

The band, now six with a permanent female singer for the first time, build their sound with a major support on guitars, which get contributions from 3 of the members plus the bassist.

Effects aplenty, undeniably modern arrangements and production but never, never for the sake of showing off.
The sense of contention is ever present notwithstanding the frequent emotional climaxes; in a way the music is slave to the feeling and not the opposite.

Goodies

Vocals are performed in a heartfelt style, particularly well achieved by Vincent yet with good support from his brother Danny and also Lee shines in a few interventions.

The orchestral arrangements are tastily crafted and suit perfectly the predominant melancholic mood.

The lyrics are mostly introspective, filled with emotion and intention which, we know from Vincent own words to a metalunderground.com interview, was also the drive to the choice of the title itself:

"The title 'We're Here Because We're Here' is inspired by a song that was first heard across the Allied trenches of World War One. Sung to the tune of 'Auld Lang Syne', the song served as a defiant rallying-call keeping up the morale of those who had to endure the incessant carnage and almost unimaginable horror. The spirit behind those words, and the deep questions they raised immediately struck all of us."

Note: Classic Rock magazine "Prog Album of the Year" 2010

 Falling Deeper by ANATHEMA album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.82 | 381 ratings

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Falling Deeper
Anathema Experimental/Post Metal

Review by Prog Leviathan
Prog Reviewer

4 stars If you love the modern Anathema sound - lush, sweeping, lovely, melancholic, cathartic - then Falling Deeper is a great supplementary addition to your library. If you don't love Anathema's sound, well then I sort of feel sorry for you, because you're missing out on one of the most beautiful voices in modern art rock. Though Falling Deeper is an instrumental re imagining of the band's older material, it stands up excellently alongside the group's recent material.

Falling Deeper utilizes sparse, mid to slow tempo palettes of sound that are made achingly emotional by use of acoustic instruments and orchestration. The moods shift between the nostalgically romantic, grief stricken, somnolent, and bereft. These are my interpretations of what is largely instrumental music, and as I think about it I realize how unappealing this might make Falling Deeper sound to those on the fence; however, that shouldn't dissuade you if you're looking for a subtle and sensation-rich album to add to your library.

Cavanaugh and the band treat us again with excellent performances, mature compositions, and genuine pathos. Recommended, though new fans to Anathema should definitely check out their more "normal" albums first.

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

 Distant Satellites by ANATHEMA album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.70 | 386 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

Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition. and to E&O Team for the last updates

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