Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Anathema - Distant Satellites


Anathema have over their last two albums developed quite a reputation within prog circles. They are now at the position that even the Guardian newspaper reviews this latest album and gives them a 5 star rating. For me, I don't really consider Anathema progressive rock. They may be signed to Kscope which does promote itself as a post-prog label, but for me that's where the connection ends. Why not prog? Well, the music is conventionally structured, they don't really push boundaries in terms of time signatures, instrumentation embodying different types of musical styles. But in saying all that I really do like them. So forget genre pigeonholes and just enjoy the music I say!

This latest album may be my favourite. It further develops the style set down by their previous two albums. Highly emotionally charged, atmospheric and epic songs. But they have added a significant new element. By applying "beats" to their arrangements. This has added a completely new dimension to their sonic tapestry and actually doesn't sound as contrived or out of place as you may think. If anything the use of synthetic rhythms gives the songs an added emotional depth, if that is possible for this band. I am reminded of the band Lamb who similarly produced emotive music backed by strong trip-hop rhythms. Apart from that, all the usual Anathema trademarks are here intact; Daniel Cavanagh's post-shoegazing guitar, the depth of Vincent Cavanaghs's emotional vocals and Lee Douglas, simply one of the best female vocalists around. Anathema are actually one of those bands where you just forget where in the scheme of things they belong. They transcend categorisation. You just accept that they offer a truly life affirming experience.


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