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Anathema - A Natural Disaster CD (album) cover




Experimental/Post Metal

3.92 | 580 ratings

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Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer
5 stars 'A Natural Disaster' - Anathema (9/10)

At the time of buying this album, I admitedly was not expecting something I would come to 'love.' I was already a great fan of Anathema, having loved their opus work 'Alternative 4,' and I figured that while this album was going to be good (after all, Anathema had a pretty good track record to that date) but probably not something that would really leave a resonant note with me. After all, this was an album that was pretty recent compared, released a fair bit after their 'golden age' (consisting of the prementioned 'Alternative 4' and the latter 'Judgement.') Regardless of any preconceptions, I slipped the CD into my player, and listened.

With the opening symphonic overtones of 'Harmonium,' this definately did not sound much like the Anathema I was used to. By the time the opening track hit it's sonic peak, I was pretty sure I was going to enjoy 'A Natural Disaster.'

My first true suprise did not come until the third track however. The first two still had an Anathema-typical melancholic art rock feel about them, but the atmospheric 'Closer' really challenged me to listen intently. Upon first song, I wasn't even totally aware a third song had started, as it had segued perfectly from the second song 'Balance' (which is a perfect climbing follow-up to the first song) into it's own riff...

The best way I can describe 'Closer' is as Anathema's version of an electronic trance track. It literally brings the listener into a 'trance' of sorts, and a robotic synth voice chants over a slow build-up of sonic power. While I can't guarantee that all prog-fans are going to enjoy 'Closer,' it was certainly an interesting suprise.

While I do love all the songs on here (there was a point I was going to call all of the songs on this album a 'highlight' of their own) I particularly like 'Are You There' (a beautiful love song) the emotive 'Flying' and the first 5 minutes of the monster track 'Violence,' which although it's not a multi-part suite like a typical prog fan would expect upon seeing an 11 minute track on a prog album, it's still great, although it would have been perfect if the last 5 minutes or so had been cut off, as they do seem to wander.

'A Natural Disaster' in total has actually changed my view of the band. From this point, I can't really listen to 'Alternative 4' without thinking of it as being excessively whiny and morose. With 'A Natural Disaster,' they channel their trademark melancholy through the use of maturity; a maturity that can only be brought on by years of musical experience.

This is an unexpected masterpiece, my friends. If you have 'A Natural Disaster' and don't love it already, I suggest you give it another listen, with these points in mind, and see if your feelings change. As it stands, 'A Natural Disaster' is possibly the best, most consistent work they have done.

Conor Fynes | 5/5 |


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