Anathema – A Fine Day To Exit
Finding your own niche in music can be a daunting task. Starting of with something you thought you always wanted to do, and then inevitably finding out, that it wasn’t anything like you’d expected. But where does this change start you may ask? Let’s say for now it starts with a little something called progression.
n 1: a series with a definite pattern of advance [syn: patterned advance] 2: a movement forward; "he listened for the progress of the troops"
This is the way www.dictionary.com describes the word. Ahh...very accurate Mr. Dictionary, I must say! The one I like the most is “a series with a definite pattern of advance", because this exactly what we are seeing when we talk about a band, aptly named, Anathema.
Anathema started of their career in Liverpool, the home-ground of the two brothers Danny and Vincent Cavanaugh. Debuting with their EP, and then finally with their first major length LP named Serenades, It was clear what they were all about-- Really, really slow doom marches, coupled with death growls that would make Mr. Berzerker and Aborted cringe in agony, and finished of lightly with recording quality that would make Mr."Morningrise"Akerfeld trim his nose-hair. Ok, I couldn’t resist that meaningless last part. :D
So it was clear that they were Doom Metal from the start. But in my opinion, I would even touch it with a long pole. Its really bad stuff.... (IMO!!!!)
Later on down the road of light-hearted success, they released a few more albums. But what’s this? They dropped their sound in place of something else? Thank God.
You want to know what the other albums sound like? Well, Imagine Roger Waters took over Pink Floyd indefinitely and started making the darkest, most introversive music of his time. Yeah, kinda like that. Also, it’s important to note that they were on the Peaceville record label back then. Why is this important? Still Life, one of the most popular Opeth albums, was on this particular label.
Anathema’s sound expanded from then to something every untouched in music today. Calling themselves Doom Metal back then, and sounding very depressed, didn’t really get the message across. The whole concept of Doom is to create an atmosphere, a world of sadness and emotion so strong that it actually changes how you feel! That is the concept of Doom music, and it is something I feel Anathema have written the rule book to with their latest 2 albums, A Fine Day To Exit, and A Natural Disaster.
A Fine Day To Exit takes tries to take off where Eternity and Resonance left off. I say tries because they don’t actually succeed in doing so. Instead we are left with more of this damned “progression". On this album they have left behind all notions about them and made an irresistible “mainstream" type album. They have come such a long way to where they are now. This album sounds like Radiohead made it, but then, something happens...
You see, this album is all very tight and neat and pretty and lush, but there’s something behind all that. It’s called atmosphere. A world where they control the emotions and they set the rules. After I listened to this album, you get a sense of refreshment yes, but there’s this clinging depression that follows on your heels. Something very faint but also very obvious. I will now attempt to delve where no MX’er has gone before and recreate their songs with words...nah, I’ll just review it! :D
Pressure: The songs starts with stomping dual piano chords and a marching type drum-beat. Vincent sings with deep intent and soon an acoustic guitar enters to complete the sound. In the chorus the Official Lead Vibrato’s of Anathema come into play to remind us they are still a rock band. The Chorus line repeats “I don’t care where you are, you won’t get away from me". Ahh, how romantic. So Sweet. But no, remembering that is Anathema we’re talking about here, these lines become much more scary and horrid. The song ends with nice breakdown of instruments and a nice solo. It’s nice, but a bit bland in the song-writing arena. 3.5/5
Release: Here a nice acoustic riff can be found with some awesome lyrics from Vincent. The singing really has improved from the Serenade days :D. OK, Bad joke. After the intro a bass riff enters sounding almost electronic-like. Starting with the first chorus, an electric guitar is added with some nice melodies. Some nice backing vocals from his brother makes his speeches in-between much more enjoyable. The one thing about this song that impresses me day after day is the variety in the choruses. The breakdown and outro are superb. The outro dual guitar riffs are inviting and atmospheric at the same time. 4.5/5
Looking Outside Inside: Here is the first song I heard off the album, and the clincher I must say. It’s an epic clocking in at 6.50 min, but it’s worth every second. Its starts off slowly and with some smooth guitar picking and lead-work from the brothers. A nice beat also keeps it tight. Later on in the bridge, some very nice effects are to be heard, but the best is still to come. After this, there’s a breakdown with some heavy distortion and some great, loud singing from Vincent. A epic song indeed, and the climax is very enthralling.
The rest of the songs are great as well! Leave No Trace being the one I dislike somewhat with it being a bit bland, but still listenable none the less. The song Barrier is a dreamy, echo’y type song which features Lee Douglas as back-up vocals. She also features previous albums and a great vocalist in general. The following Panic and Underworld sounds somewhat similar in sound and beat, but both are symbols that Anathema can still make some good, straight-up, rock songs. The Last two songs are the actual candy as it were. A Fine Day to Exit starts off slow and dreamy as well. When Vincent comes in with his slow melancholic vocals, you can’t help but be sucked into it. I love it when in the first few choruses; you can barely hear him singing at all. It so distant and faint, but meshes so well with the atmosphere. It kinda reminded me of Aenima where Maynard whispers, only audible through headphones. The song goes on to become a distortion driven song, but the atmosphere make it somewhat outstanding. True, and pure Anathema. The last song Temporary Peace is a great finisher. It starts off with sounds of a tide on a beach, and some really dissonant guitar picking. Very similar to the previous song, but builds up to a great outro with no chorus at all. But what an outro it is. Very sad, yet somewhere, a romantic atmosphere is created. There talent in this field seems limitless.
Anathema are a band that these days are making the most dreamy, atmospheric, and melancholic music, but a select few remember the muddy past (Serenades). They’ve come a long way since then and “progressed" to much, that they are in a sense the truest example of the word. They disserve all the attention they are getting, and somehow, they disserve more.
1. Lush, and Production values.
2. Radiohead-esque progression
3. Solid, atmospheric songs
1. Some songs are a bit bland and uninteresting
2. A bit out of place between albums like Eternity and A Natural Disaster
The Flabbit Rides High