on 24 January 2011
I love music,- all types of music, as long as it is a little special - and for more than 40 years I've been building a collection of thousands of albums. I missed this when it was released, but caught up with it recently and felt it necessary to spend some time writing a review. This is a masterpiece. It's an instant all-time classic album. I cannot recommend it highly enough to those of my (mid-fifties) generation who hunger for melody, energy, atmosphere, 'feel' and a mysterious 'something else' that blends all of those elements to create work that is much more than the sum of its parts. This is wonderful, very special. I wish I'd written and performed it. But it's not just for my generation. There's something about the best music that makes it universal and ageless. This album has all those qualities. It has a flavour of eternity about it.Go and buy it. Listen and feel it.
on 1 June 2012
Im new to Anathema, I don't mind admitting that from the off. I bought Weather Systems a few weeks ago and thought it was amazing so I heard this was also a good album so I thought Id give it a go. It cost me £12 which these days seems expensive for an album but if I had any idea exactly how good this was Id have happily paid double the price for it. Its simply astounding work.
I dont think Ive ever felt this way about an album before, its actually improved my life in general. I wake up each morning without the usual dragging feeling of having to go to work. I actually look forward to my journey now because it means I get to listen to this. I dont know how many times Ive heard it, I havent kept track but it must be around 18 times in the first few days.
Id love to pick out particular tracks but I cant, they're all amazing in their own way.
on 30 May 2010
It's been a long wait, with only "Hindsight" to see us through but Anathema has returned ~ the literal journey of time passing reflected in these new songs of melancholy, beauty and light. Put the album on; lie back, close your eyes and let yourself be transported into moments of blissful dreaming. Album of the year without doubt.
on 29 June 2010
I managed to miss Anathema - their long gone 'Doom / Death' image had stopped me from checking them out.
However on a car trip to a meeting with my boss, the usual chatter about football, holidays etc was muted as we both listened in silence to his new CD - Anathema. He had been a fan for years and had kept it quiet but wanted to hear it on the trip as he had just recieved it from Amazon. With an open mind I listened, flicking the CD case in my hands as we headed towards London.
The 100 odd miles was not the only journey we took that day, as Anathema took us on an amazing musical journey. Just as 'Tool' disregard the usual verse chorus, verse chorus, solo, chorus in favour of creating soundscapes, with vast sprawling epics that meander (in the best way) across the whole CD, Anathema treat us to an albeit lighter, shorter version of 'Tool's' philosophy, sometimes sounding a bit Marillion, other times a bit Floyd but always skillfully creating emotional, melancholic, euphoric and glittering musings.
From the starter song 'Thin Air' the melodies are tight, focused, sometimes obtuse, but more often than not achingly beautiful if on the first listen hidden. After a few listens, the beauty of each melody shines through - this is music for the head, and like a fine meal is best taken slowly and each morsel fully appreciated.
This is a nailed on classic already, and I have already bought my copy, and will go back through their catalogue to find their other gems.
Friends, this is good, very good...
on 13 January 2011
Introspection: if one word were to describe Anathema's latest, and much awaited, tour-de-force, it would be introspection.
A musical initiation awaits the listener who is drawn into the mystically crafted musical universe of the Liverpool band; a cathartic remedy to the pangs of the soul and heart; a journey of discovery and rediscovery of the self, at the centre of the limitless universe around us.
Anathema pursue their own musical experience with an album which at times sounds decades away from their early, darker, material but testifies to their own wanderings on the seas of inspiration, where old influences are heard afar as new ones rise on the skyline.
The uncertainties and sense of loss are challenged in the album's first track, Thin Air, with one of two recurring promises, or hopes one can hold on to, being called upon in the album: unselfish love.
Rising into thin air, without the burdens of woes and concerns, also highlights the attraction of the artist for liminal places and times; whether one is rising to the exosphere or contemplating the Summer Night Horizon, which gives the name to the haunting second track on the album, it is always in these uncharted, undefined settings that the consciousness of the listener is challenged, where oceans rise, worlds collide.
Two ballads ensue and they both follow up on that one promise: Dreaming Light's gentle emotional revelation flows in osmotic fashion into the harmonious ballad, Everything, where everything is energy and energy is you and me. The electric thrill of two souls brought in unison by the combination of evocative voices (and Lee Douglas' vocal contribution if fundamental) makes this track worthy of a separate single.
The second promise appears in the fifth track, Angels walk among us, and that is the promise of self-healing and the regeneration of life: only you can heal inside, only you can heal your life.
The interlude, Presence, challenges our fears of mortality with a beautifully read extract (Life is eternal ... the echoed memento) which is accompanied by the slow chanting from the fifth track.
A simple mistake, the seventh track, feels like the completion of a journey where not even time, nor fear of the future, can hinder our natural serenity and our trust in what truly matter. The climactic crescendo in the second half of the song highlights the sheer exhilaration that the album can reach at times, right before fading into peacefulness and imperturbation.
A heavily Porcupine Tree-inspired track, Get off, get out, paves the way for a final track, Universal, which strengthens the conviction of the promises sought by the artist in liminal places (above the clouds we flew to heaven).
Curtains close majestically with the instrumental masterpiece, Hindsight.
In conclusion, We're here because we're here is an extraordinary addition to Anathema's incredibly variegated discography, alternating instants of melodic bliss to philosophical insights as well as a progressive shift from uncertainty and sadness to glimmers of hope and soothing promises. It is a thing of dreams with nostalgia seeping in at all times.
It is most of all, an incredibly inspirational and introspective album; its inner messages are universal but individuals will find emotional solace in songs that mirror the yearnings and fears of any human soul. Close your eyes to the world and channel the music within and without.
on 12 November 2010
Seeing all the great reviews and the detailed description of the whole album, I won't get too much into discussing the different tracks as such, but rather give my overall impression of the album.
This might be indeed the album of the year. Every song is a world on its own, driving us through a journey of emotions, beautifully inspired by the sonic landscapes of a band who started playing Doom Metal and has found its maturity in the form a melancholic and progressive rock inspired by the likes of Pink Floyd. Anathema are the probably the "new classics" in what they do. They know how to reach people from different music backgrounds and unite them by the power of a music that knows no boundaries. They have evolved, their music has evolved, but their fan base hasn't decreased by their risky move, having been able to retain all the old fans while opening to different styles. We are not talking mainstream pop opening here. This is purely a rock album.
The album is borderline perfect, and there's not much else we could have hoped for. The only reason why I'm giving this album 4 stars is because of the dimmed "first impression" effect and the extremelly high expectations. After so many years, Anathema have been re-releasing some songs in different albums (i.e. "Hindsight"), demos and via online means in order to keep the fans awake and that is certainly something appreciated. No doubt. But yet, it reduces the huge impact of insterting your new cd in your stereo just to find out that you can sing along half of the songs at a first listen, despite the vastly improved arrangements and changes. This didn't happen with "A natural disaster", that came as a new born baby full of surprises. In other words, this would have worked perfectly well if released two years after "A natural disaster". But it is a long time and we, as Anathema's most hardcore fans, need their new releases as the air we breathe.
Again, the album is just perfect and it's already become a classic. Now we just hope we can enjoy another amazing release with brand new material in a not too far future.
on 19 December 2010
Well, I bought this album when it came out in mid-summer and finally got round to adding a review (in mid-winter, as I listen to shake off the blues!).I'll get straight down to saying this is a beautiful album of music,it is truly Anathema coming into the light at last and the album cover is so befitting the music.I have followed the band from early days and welcome their evolution from epic doom to what we hear today;lush arrangements, beautiful vocals, joyful chiming guitars.
Anathema's move to blue skies and hope comes just as I feel ready for them to sound like this and I thank them for staying together and creating such beautiful music.My favourites? I would pick track 9, 'universal', a soaring epic, though I like the whole album.
Music this good needs to be heard by so many more.
on 22 June 2010
This disc takes a few listens. Even for the seasoned Anathema fan like myself. Really like most of their stuff and really thought they ended on a high note with 'A Natural Disaster' which had some incredible moments. I was glad to know they had been working on something new after 'Hindsight', and god knows they took their time. But this disc really is a journey unto itself.
This release is years beyond that one (Natural Disaster). It sounds incredible! Excellently Produced (finally). The brothers producing and Steven Wilson mixing was definitely what this band needed after some not so stellar production of past releases.
It has a good flow to it, it does not bore the listener and is really easy to 'hear' but not to describe. Its music is so haunting for the most part as the writer is almost trying to 'fool himself' through the upbeat tone to most of the lyrics. Its hard to describe, but when you listen you can feel it. Its uneasy but that is what makes you come back for more.
'Thin Air' opens and has a similar style as 'Closer' did on 'A Natural Disaster'. That steady, one paced drum beat. But a real punch to the chorus. Excellent, desperate vocal performance.
'Summernight Horizon' is a good driving track. Excellent vocals again with a thick Bass sound and Heavy/Light parts. Mystic Piano opening and segmented into the track.
'Dreaming Light' is a great stripped down track with Piano / Vocals and light Orchestration. Kind of in the 'Electricity' mode, just smoother and a bit more 'Full' sounding. A really nicely done song.
'Everything' is a pretty sound with the female vocals echoing the main vocal. Gives a nice trippy vibe to the disc. Energetic yet rich. I guess it was the 'single' in the UK (as I am from US).
'Angels Walk Among Us' is well done and sounds like the most Floyd inspired tracks on the disc with its heavy closing. Good stuff and a great Vocal delivery. Very sincere.
'Presence' is just a voice over piece but is interesting and adds to the flow of the disc. Almost a transitional point to the next section. An interlude. The words found in the center of the booklet. Some Vocal passages at the end.
'A Simple Mistake' is a great great song. Light to Heavy that is 8 minutes but seems like 4. I really think this is the discs highest moment and what the band does best. A building song with a good heavier sound at the end. Has a GREAT mix and incredible, emotional build up near the end of the track that is done very very well. The piano (reminiscent of the end of 'Hurt' by NIN) has explosions softly cascading in the background is intense.
'Get Off Get Out' is another Driving track with a haunting midsection and chorus. I say Driving because of its pace because it isn't really Heavy. This is not a Heavy Metal disc whatsoever. A bit progressive, but not Metal. Closer to Porcupine Tree than the band usually ventures. But its great, creepy track.
'Universal' has a strange paced, 'heart' beating sound that is truly mesmerizing. Its a great, droning track that is calm and hauntingly 'airy'.
'Hindsight' ends this with an epic, slow delivery. Great song after a few listens. I must admit it took me a couple to see its brilliance. Almost like the light on the 'other side'..(RIP Z)
This disc is Anathema's best. After all this time they have hit it 100% on this. So far its the best of 2010 for me. I have waited for a long time and they have delivered. Good to have them back and good to know they have grown in this time.
This release is very 'rich' in atmosphere and should be appreciated more with repeated listens. Highly recommended for Prog and Anathema fans alike. Or for any open minded music listener who can spare an hour.
I am sure it will fall under the radar in the US as we still cant seem to promote real music or real emotion in our music. Its a shame, but i hope this is received relatively well as it is an excellent piece of Art. They should be proud. Not many bands could create their best work so far into their careers. Its quite an experience.
As for you? Buy it. And experience it.
(Edit 10/10/2010 - Since writing this review and giving this disc literally hundreds of listens I am convinced that it should be heralded as a MAJOR 'release' moment in music. In the vein of classics like Pink Floyd's 'The Wall' or the Beatles' White Album. Its a majestic, haunting and beautiful piece of music. A Classic is what it truly is. Anathema really nailed it. Finally!
I am a 30 year music fan and 20 year Metal / Music consumer and know my music. This release has blown me away but in an entirely different way. It just flows with emotion. An hour journey that is void of words. Will make you smile and cry. Think and wander. Break your heart and tape it together again. Unfortunately this will not get its notoriety. Saddens me. It is THAT special! Especially to me. R.I.P. 'Z')
Not to mention the brilliant title.
on 13 May 2010
Anathema is back after 8 years with new songs and their new studio album called "We're Here Because We're Here" and it features 10 new songs, well one of them was released in their previous compilation called "Hindsight".
Thin Air: What a great opener for this album. This one boroughs a few elements from their previous work "A Natural Disaster", such as the singing method used, the usage of a lot of background keyboards. But the song kicks off slowly and before you know it speeds up and then it drops down. It catches you by surprise. This states that Anathema is back for good.
Summer Night Horizon: Well for this one I have no words. It starts off with a nice piano intro and then it kicks off really fast. In a way I would say it's a part 2 to the song called Empty (from Alternative 4) but in a slower tempo the fast part. This was features a great guitar solo and it is structured extremely well. What a perfect song for the car.
Dreaming Light: Here their melancholic side kicks in, by having great vocal performance, the usage of piano and synth. After the first minute the drums role and makes the song great. And after a few minutes the guitar roles in amazing riffs that matches the whole atmosphere of the song. What a beautiful song.
Everything: I knew this one from its demo format. And also I have seen Anathema performing it live. The official studio version is great. The band has worked into this one a lot. There are a few modifications here and there. This one I would say is something in between Judgment and A Natural Disaster. This one is still a great song that keeps the same tempo throughout the song.
Angles Walk Among Us: Also I know this one from its demo format and seen Anathema performing it live as well and mostly I love the title of this song. This one has changed a bit from its demo format. It starts off like "Everything" slow tempo until have way through where the song picks up on its tempo. And towards the end it drops down just like the way it started.
Presence: It one starts straight away and wow it has the same guy speaking from their song called "Hope" (from Eternity). Which the person speaks you hear these great small guitar solos and great organ plays. This song is the smallest one in the album not even 3 minutes. This one features Lee on the vocals and makes the song simply amazing and very beautiful.
A Simple Mistake: Once again I know this one from its demo format. And from its start it has some changes such as a great bass line in between the vocal lines. Vincent here sings amazingly. The chorus of the song will simply give you goose bumps. An extremely great song and way better from its demo version.
Nearly have way through the song; we have the background vocal of Lee while Vincent sings and wow what a great song. And then the amazing guitar riff kicks in and will make you anxious to get to the musical tempo change. It will keep you hanging until it takes place.
Get Off, Get Out: The intro of this song is similar to "Thin Air" in a way but then the drums roles and then it has a nice tempo change. The vocals feature a nice modification. This song can be classed as the heaviest song of the album. Build up extremely well and sounds like the band worked a lot over this one.
Universal: Anathema hits their melancholic side once again. This one starts off slowly and picks up bit by bit, great atmosphere and there is the usage of violins. There is this slow nice beautiful guitar solo once this finishes the piano kicks in and it brings a whole different vide into the song. Here we have the definition of Anathema and means melancholic/ atmospheric songs.
Hindsight: This is known for their previous release "Hindsight" that featured older songs in acoustic format. This one is instrumental. Starts off really slowly and then the drums and the electric guitar kicks off and makes the song very worthy.
I haven't heard a great Anathema album since Judgment. This one left me speechless and it was worthy the 8 years wait since "A Natural Disaster". If you like Anathema you will love this one, ok it is not "Eternity" or "Alternative 4" or even "Judgement" but is a great album!
on 14 August 2010
where to begin? I had bumped into the lads from Anathema in the early 90's when they were all Doom Metal and riffing away with abandon. Never really my scene but they seemed really switched on guys. 17 years later im staggered at the change and depth in their music.
"We're here because We're Here" is a truly spiritual masterpiece and one that could have only been written by songwriters who are approaching middle age and have experienced all the joyful ups and severe downs life has to throw at us. We all must pass through these corridors at one time in our life and here there is such unparalleled Joy resonating through every track it left me speechless. Life is energy love is energy and we get to chose how we feel about anything. We are the architects!