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4.2 out of 5 stars66
4.2 out of 5 stars
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on 1 January 2015
Gentle stuff but good music and a depth of mood in all the tracks.
Sometimes a bit too much orchestra for my taste but it is what I expect from Anathema and I enjoyed the album
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on 4 November 2014
Just found this band through a classic rock review. Awesome album/band but the dvd is just the same but in high quality sound, no actual video of the band to watch!
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on 29 July 2014
In my opinion, not as good musical quality as Weather Systems, there is no outstanding song. It is all right, but I had waited a little bit more perhaps
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on 4 August 2014
Anathema always produce such luscious silky albums this is no exception, a must by if your fan, if not give it a listen, you wont be disappointed.
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on 7 July 2014
Lovely to have a new Anathema. They have kept pretty much to their previous style so there was no disappointment. This a regular on our playlist
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on 9 June 2014
Could they do it?

That was the question. After We're Here Because We're Here, after Weather Systems and after the triumph that is Universal...could they deliver?

Oh god. Yes.

I got hold of the deluxe CD edition, with the normal CD, 5.1 DTS (which plays through the BluRay player) and a 'making of' DVD. Not having a 5.1 system I sat down with the next best alternative; decent headphones through a hi-fi setup.

I'd noticed in pre-release reviews that no two reviewers could agree on their favorite track, which is always promising.

The key bit. Are the songs 'catchy'? That's one of the joys of Anathema music. Working class kids now grown-up who didn't hail that far from the two worlds greatest song smiths in history. Writing a melody seems to come naturally to Anathema. Must be something in the water. And boy, does Distant Satellites deliver. Some write it might take a few plays to catch-on, but stuff that; there are huge melodies that imprint themselves on the first listen.

'The Lost Song part 1' sets the scene perfectly, unleashing Vincent in all his glory. It's a powerful track, a show-opener as good as 'Untouchable, Part 1'.

But 'The Lost Song part 2' is just crystal magic. And instantly you can hear the confidence in Lee Douglas' voice - the knowledge that she really deserves the recognition she has finally gained (and the awards). If that song doesn't bring a tear to your eyes, you should probably best to check you are human.

And with those first two tracks we are off-and-running, and I was grinning throughout my first listen, knowing that Anathema had done it. Delivered.

From then on you are bathed in the beauty and sheer passion of this music. 'Dusk' takes us to what will be another jaw-dropping anthem, whilst 'Ariel' again unleashes Lee (who must just love having songs written for her that suit so perfectly) and what must be the most heart-wrenching riff from Daniel which I can't get out of my head.

TLS pt3 was already known to me and it goes suitably stratospheric at the perfect moment. 'Anathema' encompasses everything that is Anathema - quiet, soft, melody, intense power and emotion.

There's might have been a risk of the album just becoming too 'epic-heavy', with the danger that Anathema would horribly morph into a sort of British 'Trans-Siberian Orchestra' and it is at that point that the band reveals its willingness to extend its boundaries.

'You're Not Alone' introduces rhythm and adds a bit of 'dirt' when it is needed. It's the weakest track where there are no other weak tracks. But even then its placement on the track-listing is perfect - making a clean break to make it clear that the previous two-thirds of the album are distinct from the final third.

Keyboards and electronics dominate the music in that last third and John Douglas contributes what might just be the equal best track on the album with the title song. I can't attribute a 'best track' - out of nine (skipping 'Firelight') - five are instant favorites.

Anathema though is the sum of its parts - Daniel Cordoso, who isn't yet completely integrated into the studio setup, nonetheless contributes fantastic acoustic drumming (and I presume John had to be confident in handing over the role) whilst Jamie, often-overlooked Jamie, puts in a startling shift with his best bass ever on an Anathema studio album (he's already well-proven live).

A key feature is that the orchestration isn't (sometimes) too intrusive, ensuring less reliance on backing tracks when played live. The temptation to tour with a substantial string section is best to avoid; plenty of bands have come unstuck trying that over decades.

Unlike the previous two studio albums, Distant Satellites doesn't drift away into 'fluffy' songs near the end. 'Distant Satellites' (the song) has such a fantastic dance groove to it that is going to introduce a completely new audience to Anathema, and 'Take Shelter' has such a majestic finale that you stay focused right to the end as the band takes flight. John L would have been a fan of Anathema, and Macca should own a copy of this release.

Favorites? The Lost Song part 2, Ariel, Anathema, Distant Satellites, Take Shelter.

Better than WHBWH and WS? Yes. And finally, better than Judgement, my long-time favorite Anathema album.

Finally. Just a note about the packaging. In a world where many artists moan about illegal downloading stripping away their earnings, Kscope and Anathema have confronted the problem in the best way possible; sell a package that is so desirable that thieving the music through a download or even buying the MP3 is just daft. When music is this good, you really want something to own and possess.

___________________________________

Three months on.

And I still play this album, once-or-twice a week. The Manics 'Futurology' only managed three spins. Tim Bowness' 'Abandoned Dance Hall Dreams' - touted as the 2014 album-of-the-year was played for just a few weeks. My wife purchased a vinyl copy of Distant Satellites, which sounds even better than the CD, though I don't have a 5.1 setup to try out that disk. So once again I have multiple purchased copies of Anathema releases, and absolutely don't mind spending the money on them!

Easily the best album of 2014. And Ariel and The Lost Song pt 2 managed to give progressive rock anthems for the 21st century that leave anyone who listen to them for the first time just gob-smacked with their quality.
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on 20 July 2014
What an incredible album this is. It has hardly been off my PC, stereo and phone since I bought it, interspersed with Weather Systems, the previous Anathema cd, to which this is a worthy successor. It is perhaps a little less guitar driven than Weather Systems, but there are a number of tracks which continue where its wonderful predecessor left off and give it a familiar feel. And there is also an exciting move into some electronic soundscapes which finish the album off with an evocative and ethereal feel.

The three parts of the Lost Song make up the bulk of the album, over 15 minutes of brilliance between them. Not quite the impact of the Untouchable tracks from Weather Systems, but similar in feel and full of meaning and atmosphere. All three are excellent. Part 1 just builds and builds and builds around a simple and lovely melody until it reaches a crescendo and then fades into part 2 which introduces the melody again using piano and leads into a beautiful and haunting vocal from Lee Douglas. Absolutely gorgeous song!

Dusk (Dark is Descending) follows. A powerful, insistent song driven along by drum and bass and Vincent's increasingly strident and emotional vocals. Finishes with a crunching guitar chord and then the simple melody of Ariel emerges, perhaps my favourite track.

'I found you in the dark ....' Lee sings. 'Don't leave me staring at the sun, love so strong it hurts ....'

The song is truly addictive as it weaves its way around the melody and the lyrics, building to a peak where the guitar takes over the theme. Pretty soon you find yourself humming 'love so strong it hurts ....' while you are buttering your toast in the morning!

Lost Song part 3 follows and it is yet another piece of brilliance. An almost jazzy start and a mournful vocal by Vincent is then taken up by Lee. No chorus here. Just driving guitar chords and the ultimate finish in mid-air you always knew was going to come. Superb.

Anathema is another slow burner of a track but once it gets going it is great! Great space and timing in this one, with drums echoing around like distant thunder until at 4 minutes in the guitars start to take up the theme and become a wall of solo's.

OK, even I admit that You're Not Alone is a big mistake by the band. Not only is a very poor track it effectively breaks the spell that the album has created up until now. But it is easy to delete from the computer! I can forgive them.

Firelight is beautiful. Just a sombre piece of organ sounding synth that acts as an intro as it fugues into Distant Satellites. Opinions seem to polarise over the closing tracks of the album but I find them fascinating and haunting. Satellites is a sort of stripped down chillout with simple piano motif over a New Orderish drum rhythm and synth. The vocals by Vincent (I presume) are incredible and the track easily reaches its 8 minutes with you wanting more. Super track.

Luckily you do get more with the captivating Take Shelter. This starts with a quiet male vocal and a beautiful refrain, 'lost myself in you, found myself in truth, lost ourselves along the way ....' This keeps repeating and repeating as the song builds, underpinned by a repetitive drum machine and synth, lounder and louder and with that lovely vocal echoing to a finale.

Despite the duff track this still gets 5 stars from me. Heck, I'd give it 10 if I could! Love this album!
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on 12 June 2014
Anathema are a progressive band in the way that Radiohead are a progressive band. That sometimes makes for division within the fanbase as the band refuses to stick to one particular ‘era’. That’s why there are reviews here that will pine for the days of Serenades, while others aren’t happy that this isn’t Weather Systems II. But it is still Anathema and it has Anathema stamped all over it.

I have to say that I was a little underwhelmed by the first listen. I left it a day then listened to it again. And then I gave it a third go. In my view (and I can’t offer anyone else’s), Distant Satellites stands up to anything else Anathema have done.

I’d say that the first six songs of the album are very much in the WHBWH/WS mode. The album starts with a Part I and a Part II (of Lost Song), an obvious echo of Untouchable on WS. There’s no huge departure in terms of structure at this point – quiet starts, slow build, crescendoing towards a finale. For me, the album turns around ‘You’re Not Alone’ (a song that really wouldn’t feel out of place on earlier Anathema offerings). It’s followed by three tracks that dabble in a more electronic approach. We’re not talking the leap from Ok Computer to Kid A, but it’s definitely new territory for Anathema. Not a huge risk, but it at least shows a willingness to not stand completely still.

Distant Satellites won’t bring Anathema to a whole new audience. But it’s a solid offering and adds admirably to the band’s catalogue. It’s a grower. So glad I didn’t review after a single listen (beats me why anyone would for any kind of music).
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on 28 March 2016
This is my first experience of Anathema. The review in prog Rock was spot on and I now find myself liking another superb band.
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on 9 June 2014
I have been an avid follower of Anathema's productions for quite a while now. I have a few of they're albums, and this is just another exemplorary addition to those past achievements. For what it's worth, I highly enjoyed "Weather systems" and this is a perfectly natural successor to that album. From a progression of doom metal on they're earliest efforts to what we have now is obviously a big transition, but I think where they have arrived at now on "Distant Satalites" is likely the most comprehensive progressive album from them yet.

There is mellow - beautiful melodies; superb front and backing vocals, and a subtle production. One of my favourite songs on the album is probably 'Dusk', as the track soars to then dip in the middle, which is lovely. So this music can probably be best described as a subtle and melodic brand of progressive music that has a focus on atmosphere, effect and the colours & shades of light and dark. I certainly found this album most refreshing and telling in character, it also has a deep personality to it that I thoroughly enjoyed; and so for that reason I think it worthy of the maximum five stars to hand.
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