Review Summary: Anathema's first release does a good job of showing their potential, but isn't worth getting.
It was a sunny day in England and the birds were sure to be chirping. A young band out of Liverpool had been signed to a label and were about to be given the chance to record the music that they had pored so much time over. It was probably with a giddy heart that Anathema set out to share their music with the world with nothing but a pocket full of dreams and this first EP. Ok, really, I couldn’t help writing an uplifting intro for such a depressing Doom band, but in all seriousness, this is their first release and it comes in the form of a five song EP called The Crestfallen EP
This EP starts off strong with “And I Lust” which is darker and heavier then the music that would eventually appear on their full length, but other then that it shares a lot of similar elements. It has the great Death vocals of Darren White who does so well with conveying emotion, while still sticking almost solely to Death growls, but not quite as well as he will do on their full length album, Serenades
. The same thing could be said about guitar melodies on this song; they’re good but not as fully developed as the songs on their full length. On the other hand, the heavier riffs are just as good, if not better, then the ones found on Serenades
. As mentioned earlier, they’re heavier and seem to have a more ominous tone to them, which is great for the atmosphere they create.
The description for the first song pretty much applies to the second track just as easily. It is another slow Doom song with some dark riffs, ominous melodies, and great vocals. Unfortunately, it’s the last song on the album that can be called “good Doom”. The next track, “Everwake”, is an acoustic number that contains very subtle keyboards and a guest female vocalist. It is a great song and does an excellent job of conveying a sense of sadness, but it really could have been fleshed out a lot more to take it to another level.
After those first three songs, the quality takes a turn for the worse. The last two tracks are both demo songs, complete with the bad production that comes with that description. Anathema’s Doom output was never very original or experimental, but it was always very solid, and unfortunately these two songs just don’t hold up. The vocals sound like he is growling while gargling water, and everything else is just washed over in too much treble. What makes it worse is that there are re-recorded versions of these two songs that can be found on various versions of the Serenades
album, and after hearing those versions first, it just makes these seem even worse.
For a first attempt, the first three songs are pretty good, and definitely show the direction that Anathema would take on their first full length release, but there just isn’t enough here to truly warrant any attention. When the horrible final two tracks are taken out of the equation, what you are left with is two good Doom songs, and a filler acoustic song with female vocals and that’s just not good enough to get them over a two.