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Anathema - We're Here Because We're Here CD (album) cover




Experimental/Post Metal

4.06 | 943 ratings

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Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars For Auld Lang Syne

It took some seven years from the release of "A natural disaster" in 2003 for Anathema to bring forward their next full album. In the interim, several singles were released, all of which are on this album, but until now a record label contract for the album's release proved elusive. The band continued to tour during the interim period, including supporting appearances with Porcupine Tree, and Steve Wilson is once again involved in the mixing of this album.

The album's title is taken from a song sung by the allied troops in World War 1 (to the tune of ("Auld lang syne"), the band feeling that the kindred spirits theme applied also to the ongoing atmosphere within the band. In the period between the albums, John Douglas' sister Lee Douglas joined the band on a permanent basis as a vocalist. Also contributing vocals to this album is Ville Valo of HIM, who sings backing vocals on the single "Angels walk among us". The album is produced by the band themselves, with Dave Stewart adding string arrangements where required. Since it took so long in development, the album went through a number of proposed titles, reportedly including "Horizons", "Paradigm Shift", and "Everything".

Perhaps predictably, "We're here..." sees the band continuing their move further and further away from their doom metal roots... no growling here! The opening "Thin air" sets the scene in this respect perfectly, the light vocals, building guitar, and string orchestration combining to deliver a quite stunning piece of prog pop. The vocal arrangement on the following "Summer night Horizon" is probably the most adventurous the band have attempted, Lee Douglas' contribution being particularly impressive here.

"Dreaming light" will catch even the most ardent Anathema fan off guard. Here we move into territories covered more recently by bands such as Elbow, the painfully melodic roots of the song being enhanced by a perfect vocal delivery and some exquisite lead guitar orchestration. Stunning.

While "Everything" has the same terrific sound of the previous tracks, the song itself is not as strong, placing greater reliance on a chiming guitar motif which fills its latter part. "Angels walk among us" is not the most obvious choice for a single, but that it was nonetheless. The song has a slightly Celtic feel, with a light whispy theme bookending a more powerful core section. "Presence" is a short interlude piece featuring organ and spoken word. The track harks back to the band's early days, but thankfully the speaking is still not growled!

"A simple mistake" is the longest track on the album at 8+ minutes. This piece is more reminiscent of the immediately preceding albums, with a heavy repeating guitar based theme building against a downbeat vocal. "Get Off, Get Out" works on a similar level, the distorted vocals betraying the Steve Wilson connection. "Universal" is arguably the most progressive of the tracks, the band's association with latter day Porcupine Tree coming through clearly. The string arrangement injects an extra dynamic into this plodding dirge, the piece developing well from its quite beginnings through to its majestic conclusion. I found myself reminded of Supertramp's "Crime of the century" at times with this highly appealing track.

The closing "Hindsight" sets out as a post rock number, with spoken female voice set firmly behind a chiming lead guitar theme. In true post rock style, this is driven louder by the predominant drums as it builds. It's hardly the most original track the band have recorded, and here it has the feel of an afterthought, but all the same it is rather enjoyable.

In all, another album of great beauty and superb musicianship from Anathema. The highs which they achieve on the opening tracks prove hard to maintain throughout, but this is a collection of significant quality. Recommended.

Easy Livin | 4/5 |


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