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Anathema - A Natural Disaster CD (album) cover




Experimental/Post Metal

3.92 | 568 ratings

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Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars A natural development

Anthema's latest album at time of writing (2008) is already some 5 years old. Comprising of the by now familiar influences ranging from Porcupine Tree and Pink Floyd to the gothic style of Sisters of Mercy and The Mission, the album consolidates rather than develops what has gone before.

The opening "Harmonium" deceptively sets out as a lush keyboards piece before the heavy gothic rhythm powers in, reminding us of the band's former life. "Balance" on the other hand lightens things considerably, the Radiohead like atmosphere being radio friendly. The song segues straight into one of Anathema's most uncharacteristic songs ever. "Closer" has all the feel of a Kraftwerk number, complete with distorted electronic voices and repeating rhythms. It is an ambitious piece which actually works very well.

Principal songwriter for the album Daniel Cavanagh sings lead vocals on "Are you there", with Anna Livingstone providing ethereal female vocal accompaniment. The song is a delicate ballad like piece which builds slightly but remains understated. It is followed by a similarly soft instrumental track "Childhood dream", which features a strong, haunting baseline.

"Pulled Under 2000 metres a second" appears to borrow freely from Pink Floyd's "Animals" album, while delving deep into fast paced metal territory. The title track features unaccredited female lead vocals, presumably supplied by the aforementioned Anna Livingstone. While pleasant, the song has the feel of a Tori Amos or KT Tunstall number.

It seems an obvious thing to say, but "Flying" is another melancholy song. Here the mood is mainly acoustic, reverting to the Radiohead ballad style. The cascading guitar-work here is the highlight of the song. "Electricity" is a shorter number once again in the depressive style reminiscent of Talk Talk's final albums. The album closes with the 11 minute instrumental "Violence". The piece starts with "Moonlight sonata" like piano, joined by lilting guitar. This gives way to a building melee of guitars and keyboards becoming ever more frantic. There's actually a slight Camel feel here, and certainly a generally progressive atmosphere. Rather bizarrely, this fades rather than reaching a crescendo, to be replaced once again by the soft piano.

In all, an album which will please those who have been captured by the Anathema albums which immediately precede it. There is not a lot of progress or divergence here, apart perhaps from "Closer", but this is a well crafted and highly enjoyable release.

Easy Livin | 4/5 |


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