Anathema
Hindsight


4.0
excellent

Review

by Trey Spencer STAFF
August 11th, 2008 | 98 replies | 19,963 views


Release Date: 2008 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Anathema never fail to impress, even when it's simply an album full of acoustic remakes.

At the risk of stating the obvious, acoustic remakes generally turn out worse than the original because something is usually lost in the translation. It seems that when a band strips a song down to its acoustic base they also strip the elements that made the original any good. A lot of it has to do with the fact that bands seem content to simply unplug the amps and recreate the songs without any other changes. When you remove all that was special about a song and do nothing to make up for it than you can’t help creating a boring experience. Apparently, the four years since Anathema’s last release was enough time for them to contemplate the subtle nuances of the acoustic remake because they have released an entire album that manages to not only live up to the originals, but also exceed them in a few cases.

The reason they manage to create such a great acoustic album is because they weren’t content with simply unplugging the amps and playing the songs with whatever elements were left. Instead they took the time to re-imagine the songs with new melodies, subtle arrangement changes, new percussion and added instrumentation such as cellos and pianos. A song such as “Are You There” was really good in its original form, but is easily exceeded by this version. They replaced the synths of the original with a beautiful and uplifting guitar melody that provides the song with a whole new feel that is only accentuated by the new layered backing vocals, new synth melody and the removal of any percussion. Really if it wasn’t for them keeping the same melodic vocal arrangement and lyrics this could almost feel like a whole new song, and it is this kind of attention to detail and focus that can be found on this entire album.

While other songs don’t get quite as much of a facelift, they still benefit from new melodies and arrangements. “Angelica” from the Eternity album is one of those songs that has benefited and exceeded the original. The original made good use of contrast by combining a great guitar melody with percussion that seemed a little harsh, but it pales compared to this. “Angelica” now feels almost dream-like and innocent in no small part due to them taking the original melody and adding a shoegaze element to it. The guitar melody now seems to float over a bed of subtle synth, strummed acoustic guitars, subdued percussion, and much-improved vocals. Another song that has benefited from this album is my favorite Anathema song, “A Natural Disaster”. Not a lot was done to this song stylistically excluding the addition of some string accompaniment and additional melodies, but the delicate nature of this version allows the melodies to take on a larger role and also allows the vocals to really shine through.

As enjoyable as this album is, I can’t help feeling that it could have been better. Don’t get me wrong, they do a great job of representing every album from Eternity to the last release, but they completely ignore their first four doom-oriented releases. If they had taken the time to rearrange some of their older songs the way they did for their newer ones than this album could have really been special and bridged the gap between their beginnings and where they’ve ended up. Instead of reworked songs from their doom albums they end the album with a new song titled “Unchained (Tales of the Unexpected)”. This is probably the most melancholic song on the album, featuring an echoing piano melody and a morose guitar/violin melody. It’s a great way to finish off the album, but there was still enough room for at least three doom-era songs.

I admit that I wasn’t too happy when I read that Anathema’s first release in over four years was going to be a collection of acoustic remakes, but my opinion has changed based on the strength of this album. Anyone expecting to hear a collection of stripped-down songs that are virtually identical to their originals is going to be in for a very pleasant surprise. Anathema haven’t just presented us with simple remakes of past songs, but actual re-workings of those songs complete with new melodies, instruments, riffs and arrangements, going so far as to actually better a few of the originals. This is easily an album that any fan of the band could purchase and be happy with and also an album that those into dream-like, mellow rock could find plenty to enjoy as well; highly recommended.



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user ratings (191)
Chart.
3.9
excellent
other reviews of this album
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Beautiful. Gorgeous. Go buy it....


Comments:Add a Comment 
Willie
Moderator
August 11th 2008



15900 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Just so it doesn't get deleted... it might seem strange to have a US release on a Monday, but it is on iTunes because I checked and bought it (but have had this for quite awhile already).

Altmer
August 11th 2008



5652 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Not heard this yet, want to.

Hewitt
August 11th 2008



371 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I preordered this, just waiting for it to get here. The three tracks I've heard sounded really good though. Looking forward to it.

IAmInsect
August 11th 2008



3800 Comments


great review as always

Willie
Moderator
August 11th 2008



15900 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I preordered this, just waiting for it to get here. The three tracks I've heard sounded really good though. Looking forward to it.
You can tell that they really put a lot of effort into this release. It just makes me look forward to their next real album even more.

Hewitt
August 11th 2008



371 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

It was after hearing "Are You There" that I preordered it. I really enjoyed the original but what they did with it on here was really something.

fireaboveicebelow
August 11th 2008



6837 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I didn't know this came out yet awesome!

Altmer
August 11th 2008



5652 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

It's Anathema. They have always ruled.

Willie are you catching them on tour? They're playing 6 miles from me in October.

Kage
August 11th 2008



1173 Comments


good review. this release sounds good, but im hesitant because im sure it will be pretty boring

Wizard
August 11th 2008



19304 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I've always thought these types of albums were cop outs but you make this sound alot more interesting than I would have expected. Great review.

I've been meaning to check these guys out for some time now. Where should I start? I thought the album that Altmer reviewed a few weeks ago looked interesting. Any other suggestions?

Digging: Downer - Downer

Willie
Moderator
August 11th 2008



15900 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

good review. this release sounds good, but im hesitant because im sure it will be pretty boring
I thought it would be boring too, but as long as you enjoy the originals you'll enjoy these. Like Hewitt said, songs like "are you there" are even better on this disc (ok that's not exactly what he said).
I've been meaning to check these guys out for some time now. Where should I start? I thought the album that Altmer reviewed a few weeks ago looked interesting. Any other suggestions?
Which one did he review?
Willie are you catching them on tour?
I haven't looked at tour dates yet to see if they'll be near by.

Wizard
August 11th 2008



19304 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

A Fine Day to Exit and I haven't checked it out yet. What would a heavy metal 'kind of guy' like me want to check out from these guys (I will most likely look into this album as well)? This Message Edited On 08.11.08

Willie
Moderator
August 11th 2008



15900 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

A heavy metal kid (who doesn't like doom) would probably want to start with Judgement, because A Fine Day to Exit and A Natural Disaster are both really mellow and radiohead-ish.

Wizard
August 11th 2008



19304 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Hey now, I've recently been digging some Swallow the Sun and Worship sooooooooooooooo, I'm kind of getting converted hahahaha. I will check out Judgement and those other two albums because I love Radiohead.
This Message Edited On 08.13.08

BallsToTheWall
August 11th 2008



44164 Comments


Any doom album I review pays an homage to this band in one way or the other. I'll follow you're lead Willie. Swallow The Sun^^^ check out some Ereb Altor or Isole. Nice review willie.

Willie
Moderator
August 12th 2008



15900 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Hey now, I've recently been digging some Swallow the Sun and Dooom
Really? Of all the bands to finally get you into doom, it's them? To me, they seem more like a mid-grade band. Basically, there's a lot better out there.

Shattered_Future
August 12th 2008



1539 Comments


Swallow The Sun is a good entry band though. They're quite easy to get into, and some of us still enjoy them.

I've never really dug Anathema too much. The first couple were decent (the death doom ones) and Alternative 4 is good once in a while, but everything else seems really boring. This one, however, compels me now. I'll check it out. Well done.

Wizard
August 12th 2008



19304 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

To me, Doom is like being constipated; Fucking slow as hell and when it finally gets through (to the listener), damn it feels good!

Willie
Moderator
August 12th 2008



15900 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

yeah, but it's also like constipation where sometimes you just sit for an hour, it hurts, and get nothing else from it.

rasputin
August 12th 2008



14538 Comments


Good review Willie, I'll check this out when I get the chance.



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