Review Summary: Be careful what you wish for because sometimes the results won't end up how you imagined.
In 2008, Anathema released an album called Hindsight
. Essentially, it was a collection of reworked songs from the band’s previous albums but it was also far more than that. It was more simply due to the amount of time and effort that went into presenting the songs under a new light while still staying true to the originals – to the point that some of the recreations actually rivaled their (already excellent) original counterparts. The only real problem was that the band completely ignored the songs from their early doom releases, but it seemed as though they were ready to correct that issue with the release of Falling Deeper
. Unfortunately, the problem isn’t going to feel corrected after listening to Falling Deeper
. Despite what has been said, Falling Deeper
isn’t nearly the masterful collection of recreations that its sister album was. Barring a few exceptions, Falling Deeper
feels more like a rushed and lazy attempt at silencing all of the people that had wished for a few older doom songs on the Hindsight
album and nothing more.
One of the best aspects of Hindsight
was its ability to re-create the older songs while still staying true to the originals, but that just doesn’t happen very often here. Instead, a majority of these songs are (largely) instrumental pieces that latch onto one or two melodies from the original track and recreate them with hardly more than a piano, the occasional guitar and subtle orchestral backing arrangements. So, instead of a new, more atmospheric version of the slow-building, ten-minute “We, the Gods”, we are presented with a three-minute instrumental version that has been distilled down to a single melody reproduced by a piano and a subtle synth undercurrent. This isn’t an isolated occurrence, either. The seven minute “Crestfallen” is whittled down to three minutes, “Sleep in Sanity” also loses three minutes from its original runtime and the list goes on. On the flipside, they’ve also extended the lengths of a few songs that really didn’t need it. The two-minute “J’ai Fait Une Promesse” was perfect as it was with its acoustic guitar and female-sung French lyrics, and definitely didn’t need to have its runtime doubled while stripping it of all vocals. Even more confusing was the band’s decision to take the underwhelming “Alone…” and extend it from a boring four minute piece to an oppressively long seven minute track that somehow manages to bring nothing new to the table.
I don’t know how the band let it happen, but they finally released an album that is completely unremarkable and even feels a bit lazy. From the abridged runtimes to the decision to make most of the songs instrumental, the band just didn’t seem to want to put much effort into this. Understandably, taking songs that were originally written for death vocals and transforming them into lush atmospheric rock could pose a few problems, but it could have been done. Tracks such as “Crestfallen”, “Sleep in Sanity” and “Sunset of Age” prove that it was possible for the band to transform lethargic doom metal into chill atmospheric rock, but they just didn’t make an effort. Anathema have referred to Falling Deeper
as the follow-up to Hindsight
, but anybody expecting the same remarkable quality as that album will be sorely disappointed. Whereas Hindsight
took the original songs and completely re-imagined them, Falling Deeper
seems mostly content to offer up abridged, lazy renditions that are short on creativity and effort.