Anathema
Serenades


4.5
superb

Review

by Trey Spencer STAFF
January 11th, 2008 | 88 replies


Release Date: 1993 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Anathema's Doom Metal peak and one of the most depressing albums out there.

I would love to be there to see the face of any new Anathema fan that likes them for their Radiohead and Pink Floyd influenced albums, when they unknowingly picked up this album. They would put the CD on and for the first ten seconds everything would seem normal as a simple keyboard sound fades in, but suddenly there would be these heavy riffs, slow pounding drums and double bass, and after a short spoken word intro, deep, guttural death metal vocals. The look on that poor person’s face would be priceless. What some might not know is that Anathema started out playing doom metal with a vocalist named Darren White. If Darren was a fan of Pink Floyd, his vocals never displayed it. He delivered his lyrics in a harsh growl that conveyed a strong sense of sadness and loss.

As previously stated, the album jumps right in with slow, pounding double bass, heavy guitars, subtle keyboards and guttural death metal vocals accentuated by Vincent Cavanagh’s black metal rasps and clean singing. With few exceptions, the entire album sticks to slow, pounding doom with every song having something to do with dying or coping with death. One of those notable exceptions is the acoustic song, “J'Ai Fait une Promesse” featuring a guest female vocalist singing in French. The song is beautiful and sorrowful at the same time, and is the only one that may appeal to people who didn’t know what they were in for when purchasing this album.

After the beautiful acoustic song comes one of two flawless doom masterpieces on the album; “They (Will Always) Die”. It has a perfect blend of heavy riffs combined with mournful (and slightly sinister) melodies, and Darren’s vocals making it sound as if he could just fall apart at any moment. It is a song about coping with the inevitability of death in the world and Darren wears his pain on his sleeve. While listening to this song I thought that this had to be the peak of the album, but I was wrong. The song that is even more perfect is “Under a Veil (Of Black Lace)”.

“Under a Veil (Of Black Lace)” is quite possibly the most perfect doom song I’ve ever heard. The lyrics deal, once again, with the death of a loved one but in a more direct and personal way than the songs previous. Before this album I never thought that death metal vocals could actually convey such a huge sense of sadness, and nowhere am I proved more wrong than here. When you combine them with Vincent Cavanagh’s clean backing vocals, and heavy, sorrowful riffs you have what would have already been a great song, but half way through they kick the sadness up another notch. At the halfway point all the music stops, and the only thing left is an acoustic guitar and Darren comes in (still in full death metal mode) and says “I loved her and now she’s gone”, and the music kicks back in with one of the most depressing melodies on the album.

I wish that “Under a Veil (Of Black Lace)” was the song that Anathema closed the album with because it would have ended a perfect album, but that isn’t the case. Instead they end with a meandering and formless “song” that is over 20 minutes of keyboard droning. It is a waste of space and should have been left off. Fortunately, the band put it at the end so it is easily avoidable and doesn’t go too far towards ruining the overall experience. If you like doom and were unaware of Anathema’s past then you owe it to yourself to track down this album – an album that I would place in the top three of doom albums, ever.



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user ratings (224)
Chart.
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Comments:Add a Comment 
Willie
Moderator
January 11th 2008


16149 Comments

Album Rating: 4.2

I've wanted to review this for awhile, and I finally made myself do it even though I'm still kind of in my Electronic Music phase again right now (just look at four out of my last five reviews)... hope it doesn't show through on this review, I tried to do the album justice.

Digging: Mors Principium Est - Dawn Of The 5th Era

Crimson
January 11th 2008


1935 Comments


You've made it sound awesome, but I've figured out that no matter how good it is made up to be, I just cannot get into doom metal at all.

Willie
Moderator
January 11th 2008


16149 Comments

Album Rating: 4.2

If you can't get into Doom Metal then this won't change things... this is Doom in every sense of the word. Maybe you should check out the band Solitude Aeturnus (they have a Myspace Page), they may change your mind (if you like higher vocals).

TheGreatD17
January 11th 2008


1141 Comments


once more Willie, a fine review, I guess I'll have to give this a try

now, on a more selfish note, did you ever get around to listening to Faunts, I'm curious to see what you think of it

Willie
Moderator
January 11th 2008


16149 Comments

Album Rating: 4.2

I did and I like them... I meant to say so on your review. I have yet to check the iTunes Music Store to see if they're available, but I'm going to this weekend (if it's not then I move on to Amazon and get the physical CD instead).

TheGreatD17
January 11th 2008


1141 Comments


yeah theyre stuff is on iTunes, and now I have questions about this review, which version of this did you review? and are you sure the tracklist is correct?

Willie
Moderator
January 11th 2008


16149 Comments

Album Rating: 4.2

The version of this that I reviewed is the one that doesn't have any bonus tracks... it's strictly the actual album.
There is another version (that I used to have) that dropped the 20 minute "song" and included the "Crestfallen" EP instead.
As for the tracklisting, now that you mention it, the word "sears" should actually be "scars" on track 7.
Cool, I'll get that album from iTunes this weekend.

Confessed2005
January 11th 2008


3314 Comments


Love your intro, made me laugh.

I really need to get into Anathema but I just don't know which album is best to begin with.

Altmer
January 11th 2008


5652 Comments


This is an Anathema album I still need to check out, good review.

I am more of an Anathema fan for the Radiohead/Pink Floyd influence though, I love their later works.

but I also dig My Dying Bride and Paradise Lost, so maybe I'll like this too.This Message Edited On 01.11.08

Zoo
January 11th 2008


3759 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

One of the many albums I have that I haven't listened to yet.

Willie
Moderator
January 11th 2008


16149 Comments

Album Rating: 4.2

I really need to get into Anathema but I just don't know which album is best to begin with.
based on what you have rated as a 5 and 4.5, I would say that this one would be the best one to start with, as the last two albums are their best in their new direction, but are much more mellow then a lot of what you've rated highly.

Edit: For you other two, check this out!!! Especially if you already have it.This Message Edited On 02.07.08

Altmer
January 11th 2008


5652 Comments


Judgement is better than either of the last two, imo. I love A Natural Disaster but Judgement just rules it.

Willie
Moderator
January 11th 2008


16149 Comments

Album Rating: 4.2

I really like Judgement and it restored my faith in this band since I didn't really like anything after "Silent Enigma"... but I still have to say that their two newest are my favorites of their new style, with A Natural Disaster edging ahead. Although the songs I've heard from the new album sound like it may beat all and set a new Anathema standard.
Did you check out the songs I posted for this CD?

BallsToTheWall
January 11th 2008


44805 Comments


Good review. This is one of those bands I have been needing to check out. My Dying Bride's The Light At The End Of The World was pretty cool. I'll check that myspace you posted when I get back.

jrowa001
January 11th 2008


8750 Comments


i need to get his one along with Judgement

rasputin
January 11th 2008


14555 Comments


GOod review. I want to get this, it's the one big Doom band that I am yet to listen too. I also highly doubt I'd like any of their later stuff, this looks more like my kind of doom.

Crysis
Staff Reviewer
January 11th 2008


16494 Comments


I still need to expand my library of Doom metal.

freudianslipknot
January 11th 2008


803 Comments


good review - I have avoided Anathema for some reason so far, despite searching for all the doom I can lay my hands on - I always knew it was a gap in my collection.

Willie
Moderator
January 11th 2008


16149 Comments

Album Rating: 4.2

Link dead...This Message Edited On 02.07.08

freudianslipknot
January 11th 2008


803 Comments


Yes, "They will always die" and "under a veil of black lace" are both very solid tracks. J'Ai Fait une Promesse is also good - but different . . .



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