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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Be Flexible
Perhaps it is because I have been listening to Anathema for the last 2 years, the slight change in musical direction (and come on it is slight) doesn't jar with me as it does with others. A band needs to evolve/experiment otherwise surely there would be no challenge or satisfaction to the band. Also, It can lead to greater results in the long run. Yes, Weather Systems is...
Published 2 months ago by Gazzoowazzoo

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars They've Done Better
I agree with Martyn Hewitt's review. This album starts out as a good continuation from their previous album Weather Systems. Unfortunately the last four or five tracks dissolve into a huge disappointment. Anathema has developed a style to take you on a journey so well executed on Weather Systems, We're Here Because We're Here and others. The haunting vocals of Lee Douglas...
Published 2 months ago by Malcolm Robertson


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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars They've Done Better, 1 July 2014
By 
Malcolm Robertson (Moscow) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Distant Satellites (Audio CD)
I agree with Martyn Hewitt's review. This album starts out as a good continuation from their previous album Weather Systems. Unfortunately the last four or five tracks dissolve into a huge disappointment. Anathema has developed a style to take you on a journey so well executed on Weather Systems, We're Here Because We're Here and others. The haunting vocals of Lee Douglas appear briefly in the first few tracks and then she disappears. The music is generally mushy, gone is the musical crispness of previous albums. Anathema is a tight band with good musicians but this album overplays orchestral strings, there is but one major lead guitar solo on the whole album and the venture into computerised noise, rhythm in the last few tracks is honestly below the standards they should be setting.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Be Flexible, 21 Jun 2014
This review is from: Distant Satellites (Audio CD)
Perhaps it is because I have been listening to Anathema for the last 2 years, the slight change in musical direction (and come on it is slight) doesn't jar with me as it does with others. A band needs to evolve/experiment otherwise surely there would be no challenge or satisfaction to the band. Also, It can lead to greater results in the long run. Yes, Weather Systems is brilliant, but do we really want to listen to a re-hashed version of it? Let's move on! There are tracks on Distant Satellites that sound similar to WS so fine enjoy those to bring back the stirring emotions you had before. But be flexible with the more "modern" tracks because at their heart they are pure Anathema. For me, there is not a track on here that is sub standard and I welcome being able to listen to something different.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Best to treat as a mini album, 13 Aug 2014
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This review is from: Distant Satellites (Audio CD)
Having followed Anathema's development for a while it was always going to be interesting to see how they followed up the last two stunning albums which generated much deserved critical acclaim. Would they take the sound further or stick to what they have found to have worked, creating a Part 3 to We're Here Because We're Here and Weather Systems thus feeding a desire for more songs of such architectural beauty?

The answer is a bit of both. An enigmatic album title, evocative artwork and a track listing which contains the title track and also one labelled after the band's name sounds promising, surely after a long career such a track must be truly exceptional to merit such a tag.

Sadly, that initial promise doesn't follow through. As many have highlighted there is a marked difference here between the first and second halves which sit somewhat uneasily together. Tracks 1 to 6 echo WHBWH/WS and the early conclusion is that this is indeed a welcome Part 3, but somehow without the majesty. The Lost Song trilogy is pleasant, almost an easy listening version of the Untouchable tracks from Weather Systems. But it fails to genuinely excite, the highs are a little shallower and are less frequent. And the self-named closer to this section is just that- it's steady, a little one-paced, hinting at underlying power and aggression but doesn't quite explode into life. A good fit perhaps for earlier album A Natural Disaster, but certainly not the pinnacle of their catalogue. These 6 are good solid songs and will merit repeated listens even though you may reach for its predecessors, or A Natural Disaster or Judgement first.

It is then that the album gets into real trouble. A notable change of style is welcome and exciting, but the principal problem is that the vocals and lyrics are uninteresting, limp and at odds with the underlying music. The flawed and misjudged "You're Not Alone" would have been classic B-side material 20 years ago- here it jars and is spoiled by a not very successful vocoder treatment such as on Closer from A Natural Disaster, there it worked- here it doesn't. Frankly, the album would have had better balance without it. Firelight is simply a meandering 2 minutes of filling intro to the title track. Distant Satellites itself is probably the biggest disappointment, an upbeat almost disco-style rythmn suggests something special, but it doesn't arrive for it is matched again with a soulful, insipid vocal overlay. It goes nowhere, ambles around and ends just after one's attention has wandered. Shame- the underlying music is good enough, but it doesn't quite work as a whole. We then close with something crying out for Lee Douglas to bring it life, she doesn't appear and it is another undemanding few minutes of your time.

So my advice is to treat this as a mini album of 6 songs. It won't mesmerise you like some of their previous work but it is pleasant enough. As for the final 4 sadly, and this is a word I never thought I would use with Anathema, they just get a bit.........boring.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Just make up your own minds, 17 Jun 2014
By 
P. A. Clemons - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Distant Satellites (Audio CD)
I enjoy this release. Some will not. But reading some of these comments do make me smile. No wonder prog 'fans' are looked upon as being very strange people. If it dont sound like Yes or Genesis then it must sound like Coldplay. You do wonder who these 'prog reviwers' write for. Dandy, Beano maybe. Just make up your own minds. If you think it is 'progressive' then fine. Just please dont knock music to much, particularly at this time and this genre. The future looks grim for music. Help it why we still have labels such as KScope trying their best for us to keep it going.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A bit too much repitition, 15 Jun 2014
This review is from: Distant Satellites (Audio CD)
I always look forward to any new album from anathema, but having heard Lost Song Part III my expectations were less for this album than previous offerings. My issue with that track is the repeated beat throughout the song. Whilst this is OK when Danny plays acoustically live, it does not really rock my boat on the their recorded material. Unfortunately. my fears for the rest of the album were realalised and whilst there are some highlights on this record and the vocals are possibly the most emotional of any anathema album, the level of repitition, whether it a repeated piano rift, repeated loops, or repeated lyrics just takes the edge off for me and seems a bit lazy. Better than most of the music out there today and they are still my favorite band, hence the four stars.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thought provoking progressive-ness., 9 Jun 2014
This review is from: Distant Satellites (Audio CD)
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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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars This journey will need time, 11 Jun 2014
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Why do people always rush to brandish a new album as a masterpiece, surely they've learned by now that the best albums are the ones that take time to explore and months later you're still hearing new things. This album I suspect will be much the same.

I'm a long term fan of Anathema, musically I've grown in parallel with this band. I love their music and I love that fact that their music nearly always takes time to sink in and take hold.

Every time I hear a new release by Anathema it feels like they've moved in a slightly different direction. It usually jars at first before finally getting under my skin and ending up being my favourite album for some considerable time. Whether Distant Satellites will or not, I guess I'll have to be patient and wait to find out. Even Weather Systems took time for me to fully appreciate.

As for the Christina (three stars), I fully agree with you that people have been either very quick to praise or brand it boring (how you can say that within 24 hours of an album's release bemuses me). It is however a bit patronising to suggest that the people who loved the previous album were new to Anathema, and I fully disagree that it sounded as though We're here... was a B-sides album.

I'll leave the detailed descriptions of the album to others, personally I believe people should listen and make up their own minds, we all hear albums slightly differently. What I will say is that this does strike me as another grower which requires you to invest time in order to get the most from it. Some of the earlier tracks are of a similar style to Weather Systems (i.e. Ariel with it duet) however the more digital production on the latter tracks leads the listener somewhere new. It might be 'controversial' if you're that way inclined, fortunately most Anathema fans I've met prefer to just enjoy the journey this great consistent band always seem to take their listener on. The band has once again delivered well constructed, crafted music. It doesn't always have to be experimental or 'original' to be enjoyable.

If you do decide to take this journey to discover Distant Satellites, hopefully you'll enjoy it. Me too for that matter.
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4.0 out of 5 stars At times brilliant, 24 Aug 2014
By 
Mark Haynes (Telford UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Distant Satellites [VINYL] (Vinyl)
Hard to believe this lot from Liverpool were once a death/doom metal band. This is a long way from that, perhaps more comparable with Mike Oldfield's albums with Maggie Reilly as vocalist. This album is an excellent example of 'modern' prog where the emphasis is upon creating an atmosphere and moving the listener emotionally. Where this album tends to fall down is in some of the tracks such as the somewhat repetitive Lost Soul 3 and the rather tame stab at modern dance music which is You're Not Alone. Also the track Anathema is good but after repeated listening tends to appear 'bombastic' - the use of strings here maybe isn't ideal. Overall though when this album is good such as on The Lost Song part 2, Ariel or the title track it's great, it's just a pity that the whole album doesn't quite match up. My score: 84%
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A story of two halves, 12 Jun 2014
By 
Martyn Hewitt (Faversham, Kent United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Distant Satellites (Audio CD)
The first six tracks on this album continue where Weather Systems left off. The vocals are very dramatic and each song reaches a crescendo with both Vincent Cavanagh and Lee Douglas complimenting each other superbly. Highlights, in this respect, are 'Lost Song Part 1' and 'Ariel'.There is a greater emphasis on the acoustic piano (always a million times better that a electric one) and orchestral arrangements, both helping to build an album developing into one of intense beauty, with real feeling. Only the track 'Anathema' sees Danny Cavanagh unleashing a guitar solo.Then it all goes horribly wrong with the awful 'Your Not Alone' which destroys all before with its techno/ambient beat that is both self-indulgent and frankly not very good. 'Firelight' rescues the album momentarily with its church-organ inspired intro to the title track 'Distant Satellites'. Now, I have to say at this point this track just about survives the techno treatment but the album-closer 'Take Shelter' is ruined by it and only recovers when the band discover that they have a drummer and the track picks up more conventionally towards the end. Also, Lee Douglas is conspicuous by her absence in the second half of the album. In many respects, there is more of a post OK Computer Radiohead influence working here but I would not like to see Anathema take such a sharp change of direction in pursuit of some needless experimentation that could alienate their growing and appreciative fan base whilst attempting to broaden their appeal. If you like techno/ambient, you probably won't like Anathema so don't buy it. If, like me, you love Anathema buy it, enjoy the first half and see if you can get to grips with the rest.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Onward & Upward, 1 Sep 2014
By 
daniel thomas mullins (dewsbury, west yorkshire United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Distant Satellites (Audio CD)
The band goes from strength to strength, The tracks are more on the experimental, progressive side, yet they still retain their unique signature that this band have forged out for themselves throughout the last 7-1-yrs. Quite a lot of leanings towards their "Judgement" Album. any Anathema fan should not be without this release.
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