Anathema – A Sort Of Homecoming - Review


(Recorded 7 March 2015 – Liverpool)


The last few years have seen Anathema at centre of attention , more ‘cause of the discussions between fans , old ones , new ones and devoted ones rather than their music ; It has not been an exclusive matter just for Anathema but for plenty of bands who have through their careers, tried to experiment and push them selves , beyond usual boundaries. Progressive music, rock or whatsoever should be focused on experimenting but not always this is seen and considered like a positive thing. So we will leave out all our subjective feelings , taste and preferences in order to try and give you  a “taste” , even if written of the bands new live project.
A sort of homecoming was recorded in Liverpool at the Anglican cathedral and also a video was shot during the performance which was directed by Lasse Holle. Being said, it seems to be very much in fashion to display, perform and record acoustic performances and many artists have been releasing acoustic products , which seem to be matching the public’s desire to listen and buy alternative versions of previously released records.
The live performance concentrates a lot on the last 2 albums covering over 60% of the performance. The sound is clear and full of atmosphere and melancholia but not always gives the listener the impression to reach full drive. Sometimes the acoustic set seems to penalise the feel and mood which full set Anathema performances manage to produce; Untouchable 1 and 2 set the example, proving somehow seems to be lacking something of the musical side. On the other hand Anathema have turned their fortunes since bringing Lee Douglas on board the artistic project. Lee is the true queen of the display, transferring passion through her soul driven voice, a truly and undoubtfully magical performance all through the concert. Moreover Lee fills in perfectly with the Cavanagh’s voice creating a very intriguing mixture of tones and interpretation. Let’s take again Untouchable 1 and 2 as an example, when Lee comes into action the mood changes and everything appears perfect.
Thin Air is another massive song when played full set and the acoustic version doesn’t seem to match the original version but half way through the song it starts to grow and transfers to a feeling of being perfectly right. Throughout the performance it all sort of goes into place and the mood becomes catching enabling the listener to travel through music and imagination as in a positively built aura.
Songs like Ariel , The beginning and the end and A Natural disaster take the performance to another level ; a level where music is contaminated by feelings, by something strange and difficult to express , something worth listening to and to take in with an open mind, to slowly sip and taste the extra passion put into the artistic display; just like when you open a high quality bottle of wine , you may not be used to that quality taste, so it has to sink in to be appreciated fully.
The night ends as usual with the much loved Fragile Dreams accompanied by  a mistake during the beginning of the song, thing that strangely happened also in previous acoustic tours. Nevertheless Fragile Dreams is such an iconic song , maybe one of the most beautiful songs in music ever written , it’s total and has everything and always sets the crowd alight as you will be hearing by the clapping and shouting. Should have Anathema  varied the set a little and made it at least of 20 songs, this could have been a masterpiece must have record !

Songs / Tracks Listing

CD 1:

1. The Lost Song Part 2 [6:39]
2. Untouchable Part 1 [6:29]
3. Untouchable Part 2 [6:25]
4. Thin Air [6:44]
5. Dreaming Light [6:23]
6. Anathema [7:32]
7. Ariel [6:08]
8. Electricity [3:53]

CD 2:

1. Temporary Peace [5:54]
2. The Beginning And The End [5:21]
3. Distant Satellites [8:04]
4. Take Shelter [9:28]
5. Internal Landscapes [7:03]
6. A Natural Disaster [8:45]
7. Fragile Dreams [7:32]

Blu-Ray, 3 Lp, 2 Cd/Dvd/Blu-ray on Kscope Store .

 Review by Alessandro Vaneffi

Lavori precedenti





An anniversary album, Distant Satellites is the tenth studio album from Anathema, an evolution compared to the last four releases of the British band, since 2010, when We're Here Because We're Here, mixed by Steven Wilson, was released; and then Falling Deeper, Weather Systems and Universal, the amazing concert film directed by Lasse Hoile.
Distant Satellites consists of 10 tracks and was recorded in Oslo with the producer Christer Andre Cederberg, with the addition of an extra mix by Steven Wilson, while the mixing in 5.1 has been entrusted to Jens Bogren of Opeth.
In the first two tracks, The Lost Song Part 1 and 2, the singer Lee Douglas delight us with her vocals and backing vocals that accompany the voice of Vincent for the duration of the first part of the song, which ends with a melancholic thread to introduce the second part, almost a whisper accompanied by piano and keyboards until the track, with a nice progression, does not take a more complete form. The song Dusk is closer to the classic composition sounds that are typical of Anathema.
On Ariel, the enchanting voice of Lee Douglas, accompanied by the piano, take the listener in the 'darkness of the story of a dream, and towards the middle the song begins its inevitable progression with the voice of Vincent Cavanagh, then only the first in a duet with Lee. This track will leave you breathless; interesting is also the guitar solo that accompanies the end of the song, by Daniel Cavanagh.
The Lost Song Part 3 is the third and last final part of the trilogy, which is more or less the amazing sum of the parts one and two.
But it's with the song Anathema, named precisely as the band, that this album reaches the highest technical and emotional heights. Here, where the rhythm is the host, is notable the work of Jamie Cavanagh on bass, of John Douglas on drums and the guitar by Daniel Cavanagh.
I would rather relate to the song You're Not Alone as if it were a tribute to the band Oceansize, now disbanded, not meaning to make a comparison with a minor band, but I feel that Oceansize have left a deep  imprint of their style and way of playing, and the sound of You're Not Alone it is a worthy anthem. While Firelight, the beautiful intro with fantastic keyboards by Daniel Cardoso is very reminiscent of Rain Taxi, an old song of the first Porcupine Tree, who knows maybe a tribute by Anathema to this band with which they shared many fruitful experiences.
Distant Satellites: the song that is the title track has a soft start with a background reminiscent of Bass Communion, in fact one of the peculiarities of this work is the dynamic use of electronics and this particular song starts the singing in a repeated, almost obsessive style, accompanied only by the keyboards by Daniel Cardoso and John Douglas' drums; in fact in the middle of its course the song implodes to the end.
The last track is the charming Take Shelter, if it were not for the unmistakable voice of Vincent it could be pleasantly mistaken for a song by Sigur Ros for the music and ethereal atmospheres dilated to the rate at which the song grows up to abandon softly itself to an inevitable end.

An amazing job that collects every element of the characteristic sound that Anathema have developed over the years, the album Distant Satellites for release on June 9, is available, as well as on the official site of Anathema, also on Burningshed in different versions, double LP, CD and the stunning deluxe version with three disks, CD, DVD, of which one is the documentary about how Distant Satellites has been realized, in addition to a book of 44 pages all bound in a hard cardboard box.

Anathema will embark on a long promotional tour from June to November and will be in our country on 2014, October the 6th at Alcatraz, Milan.

Review by Evaristo Salvi, translated by Domizia Parri

Graphic elements are from CSS Zen Garden theme by Pierre Antoine Viallon (Creative Commons license), Lasse Hoile and Porcupine Tree.