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Anathema - Resonance: Best of Anathema CD (album) cover




Experimental/Post Metal

3.21 | 37 ratings

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4 stars Resonance Vol I. is a compilation emphasizing Anathema's "mellow" moments (Vol. II, released a short time after, focuses primarily on the heavier end of the band's sound- spectrum). The material on offer spans the band's career during the years 1992-1998, when they were signed to the Peaceville roster. The disc aims to represent the less metal side of the band's approach by compiling songs based on or guided by acoustic guitars, piano, ambient keyboards, and occasional female singing. Selections from the band's first four full-length recordings, as well as the Crestfallen and Pentecost III EPs are featured. Additionally, bonus tracks from the Japanese version of Eternity (acoustic takes on "Far Away" and "Eternity Pt. III"), three tracks from the Peaceville X compilation from 1998 (covers of Bad Religion's "Better Off Dead" and Pink Floyd's "One Of The Few" and "Goodbye Cruel World"), an orchestral version of "The Silent Enigma", a live recording of "Angelica" from a show in Budapest in 1997, and a video enhanced track for "Hope" are also included. The adding of these non-album songs significantly enhances the appeal of the compilation not only in terms of contributing to the overall quality and concept, but also by allowing the Anathema fan an opportunity to acquire this material on a single disc.

Issue should be taken with Peaceville's marketing of this disc as "The ultimate chill out album for the metallic masses". Indeed, the material showcased here represents the more ethereal aspect of Anathema's art, yet quite often it is from this direction that the band's most emotionally penetrating moments arrive. The sheer emotional weight of moments such as "Inner Silence", Vincent Cavanagh's desperately anguished cries in the acoustic version of "Eternity Pt. III", or the paralyzing beauty of "Better Off Dead", in which the lyrics from the Bad Religion song are gorgeously sung by Michelle Richfield amongst an achingly beautiful piano/violin arrangement, contain an essence of "heaviness" that strikes the listener in an often deeper and more profound manner than much of the band's louder, or heavier, sonic expressions. These quieter, more musically relaxed songs contain an overwhelming degree of emotional and intellectual agony that is intensified by its delivery through a quiescent tranquility of sound, and it is this realization that exposes the inappropriateness of labels such as "mellow" or "chill out album" in the application to this music. Anathema do not make easy-listening music, and those listeners who are aware enough to connect with a song's inner core, the soul of the song, will undoubtedly realize such a distinction.

bleak | 4/5 |


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