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Anathema - Distant Satellites CD (album) cover

DISTANT SATELLITES

Anathema

 

Experimental/Post Metal

3.68 | 428 ratings

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praj912
3 stars Anathema have been widely praised for their latest effort, and they are riding the wave deservedly. But, greatness is hard to achieve all the time and this doesn't match up to their last two albums whilst also reminding me of the good points of earlier albums.

It opens with an incessant beat and keyboard synths. It doesn't really grab you on first listens like the opening songs of the two previous albums, but it has interesting interludes which set it up and in time it weaves its spell before flying to great heights at the end.

'The Lost Song Part 2' is pure magic. Anathema don't get any better than this. Beautiful intro before Lee's trademark trill comes in and a wonderful 3 something time signature kicks in. A beautifully building song before the slight pause and pure spine tingling climax. Masterful. The (hopefully) single edit will be short enough to make it on to radio, not that we care about singles, but bank balances do.

'Dusk' is a good song, with some nice changes, particularly the melodies in the middle section, but it's not a song that I would single out as greatness. 'Ariel' sees Lee's vocals return to the lead. Again, this is another good song with some nice strings before Vince delivers his impassioned vocals. Perhaps it's the simplicity of the lyrics, they just don't jag in your brain, but that said it's radio friendly.

'The Lost Song Pt 3" has a syncopated drum rhythm and a nicely unexpected vocal melody shared between Vincent and Lee. Again, there is a positive vibe to the lyrics and the song is good but doesn't quite reach any great heights.

It's interesting to see a song bear the name of the band after all these years. The lyrics can equally be interpreted as being about the band's history or about a relationship (same thing I guess). Once again we get the building climactic ending, it doesn't get old, it's one of the high points of the album.

'You're not Alone'. Through its repetitive sampled vocal and drum loops you would think that it would be annoying, it is in a way but then the guitars cut in. Not filler, but an interlude with some nice atmospherics. Quite heavy.

'Firelight' is your real interlude, perhaps fadeout track. Nice organ work and calming, goodnight?.but then 'Distant Satellites' rears its electronica head.

There's been elements of this album that remind me of Portishead (not a bad thing) and the title track adds to it. Some hate the electronica. Me, I don't mind it, it's just that the song, whilst having potential seems rushed. The repeated vocal melody of "Let it take me away, etc" combines detrimentally with the repetition in 'You're not Alone'. From there I could almost imagine myself in some trance nightclub that I didn't want to be in, losing interest and wanting it to end. Perhaps if there was more variation in that melody or they built on the melody more it could have been special. 'Take Shelter' is again kinda of nice, building nicely, but it's really just filler to these ears, the song they put on when the lights come on at the end of the gig.

So, overall, to me it's a 3.5, -0.5 to match PA guidelines. There's a little bit of a disconnect with the lyrics and some of it seems rushed. It's still the music I want to hear, but I may turn it off after 'Firelight'.

praj912 | 3/5 |

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