Review Summary: Unlike most bands, Anathema's change in direction did them nothing but good, allowing them to create a truly classic album with an incredible emotional strength.
In the early nineties a small British label by the name of Peaceville Records would hold three bands in its roster that would forever change the face of the heavy metal underground. Anathema, My Dying Bride and Paradise Lost would pioneer the style known as Death Doom and would in the meantime strongly influence the goth metal genre. However with time each of these bands would go their separate way, My Dying Bride would lose their characteristic melancholy, Paradise Lost would try their hand at synth pop and Anathema would create challenging works of atmospheric rock. “Eternity” is the band’s first album to head in this direction, and unlike most bands, Anathema pulls off the drastic change beautifully.
The album begins with the soft melody of a piano, accompanied by soothing guitar harmonics in the distance and a voice that occasionally sprinkles a few words into the mix. And as the voice fades into the distance a little guitar arpeggio begins the album’s first song “Angelica” a flurry of layered guitars and keyboards which drips with emotion from every chord. The whole album is a tremendously emotional piece where every element seems to blend in to create the perfect atmosphere, the perfect feeling that the band wants to get across. I am not really a friend of overdubs; however Anathema’s ability to layer guitars is unparalleled in all of rock music, even the tiniest sound and the most insignificant note is there for a reason and is pulled off perfectly. The album’s production is also downright incredible; the complex musical texture of the songs can be appreciated fully in a gladly clean mix that never sacrifices the albums genuinety or strength.
Dynamics are also a big part of the album, from the softer and more melodic side displayed in songs such as the haunting “Suicide Veil” and “Far Away” to the heavier more intense passages in songs such as “The Beloved” and “Cries On The Wind” which almost resemble The Tragically Hip, it all adds up to truly make the listener feel what the emotions the band is channeling in their songs. Singer Vincent Cavanagh’s voice is truly amazing, ranging from soft whispers to haunting screams he sounds like he every word is really coming from the depths of his heart, even though he doesn’t have a spectacular technique as a vocalist. The album’s golden moment comes early, in the form of the title track trilogy, a plethora of influences and styles, ranging from late 80’s no wave, to alt rock, all the way through Pink Floyd and flower power psychodelia, summing up the album’s essence perfectly. Anathema pulls the soft-loud game flawlessly executing the right amounts of intensity in all the right places, not only musically but lyrically, the words seem to be perfectly written to fit in with the dynamics of the music and the emotional strength of Cavanagh’s voice.
Perhaps the album’s only flaw is “Hope” a boring track with an extremely annoying guitar line that is only saved by its lyrics and Cavanagh’s intense vocal delivery. However the fact that this track is a cover and that the original song is equally stressful only helps to reinstate the fact that with “Eternity” Anathema, against all odds, changed their style drastically and made a truly classic album in the process.
your intro is off, my dying bride still have loads of melancholy, and paradise lost never made synth pop music, maybe synth rock if anything
also, for a classic rating, the review is really short, and aside from describing what it sounds like, there's nothing here. you should incorporate throughout the review what makes this a classic and what the band was trying to get across with the song/album. I wont neg but I just think this is lacking
Yeah, the review isn't bad especially since the album needed one. I don't really enjoy this album too often. I think his vocals are still kind of bad here, and the music is boring. It's not til "Judgement" that I started enjoying their change in direction.
This was my first Anathema CD which was immediate after downloading Angelica and The Beloved. I assumed the material would follow this pattern of atmospheric, yet emotionally intense melo-metal. I kind of feel like i should have been a bit more apprehensive with this purchase as there is way too much emphasis on building up to a climatic moment, with the first few minutes being a real test of patience.
Don't get me wrong, Far Away proves this can be done with an exceptional level of effectiveness, but in a way this CD becomes extremely redundant for me. There are a definate few times where i felt this band just made songs drone on until the inevitable climax just to see how many times they could get away with it. With that said, the few songs that really grab your attention do so with such a level of class that i still recommend it for people who aren't impatient with their metal.
Best Tracks: Angelica, The Beloved, Eternity pt.1, Far Away, Ascension
To be honest, out of all of their albums Alternative 4 is the one I've given the least amount of attention. I kind of grew away from them after this album and didn't check them out again until Judgement.