The Silent Enigma CD+DVD, Original recording remastered, Live
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As part of the Peaceville 3, along with Paradise Lost & My Dying Bride, Anathema have carved a strong legacy since their inception at the turn of the 1990s, to become a widely revered & respected band from both the metal world & beyond, as their sound & compositions progressed from doom/death metal into more rock & progressive territory with each subsequent release. The Silent Enigma, the band's second studio album, was originally released in the summer of 1995 and is the first release on which guitarist Vincent Cavanagh took over the vocal duties of recently departed Darren White. Where Darren's vocals were guttural, Vincent's style pushed the possibilities for Anathema onwards and upwards, with a scope and breath beyond his years. The Silent Enigma contained elements of acts such as Celtic Frost & emerged as a fine example of highly-atmospheric & often emotional gothic doom, spawning classic Anathema songs such as Restless Oblivion, Sunset of Age, The Silent Enigma & A Dying Wish. Lauded by the metal press & fans alike as a doom metal classic, the album's popularity has only grown over the years.
Top Customer Reviews
"The Silent Enigma" beautifully builds upon the basis that "Serenades" had previously formed. The songs have more depth and contrast and encorporate a very subtle keyboard approach that suggests a more mature style of song-writing. The production sounds very "full" and the bass is more prominant than ever, most likely because bassist Duncan Patterson wrote most of the music! As ever, the guitars are heavily distorted, the drums powerful and the tempo slow. Cavanagh offers similar vocals in the same "growly"/"moany" style of White although it must be said that Cavanagh also appears to have been much influenced by Celtic Frost's Thomas G. Warrior.
Opener "Restless Oblivion" is one of the strongest songs on offer, incorporating a sing-a- long chorus that is almost completely absent in most doom metal bands. "A Dying Wish" is a crowd favourite that slowly builds to a magnificent crescendo. As with Serenades, female vocals are prominant on the occasional track. This time it is the song "...Alone": a simple track with only female vocals, accoustic guitar and haunting keyboards.
The main gripe I have with this album is the vocals. They do tend to grate after a while and its such a shame because the music would work so well otherwise. All in all though, this is a fine album, slightly flawed, but well worth a look if doom metal rocks your boat.
But it's not all like this..., black, doom or straight death metal this is not. This a rather varient package, where dark transient atmospheres are key, and this means that luscious melodies play just as much of a role as the more heavy parts. In essence, this is a well balanced array of musicality. To gain a full appreciation of this disc, you will certainly need to be able to enjoy and appreciate a wide range range of musical themes that come under the rock and metal umbrella. To gain a certain cue of the diversity within, why not compare the opener of 'Restless Oblivion' and '...alone'?!.
Personally, I enjoy the latter period of Anathema a little more, as the fluid sensibilities on more recent albums show a much more accomplished interpretation. Still, this is well executed/raw music with genuine depth; and despite a few lapses in songwriting concentration, this is an excellent early album from the band that I still like to give a spin every now and then. *My 1CD digipak release contains 2 bonus songs, in-addition to the 9 available from the standard album. These tracks have the titles of 'The Silent Enigma Orchestral' & 'Sleepless 96'; both are relatively average and non-essential, but acceptable inclusions none-the-less.
However, this should not put you off - as The Silent Enigma is a classic album. Steeped in misery and gloom, the tracks slowly playout with growls and wails accompanying the slow crunch of low guitars. That's not to say there isn't melody though, quite the opposite the entire album has strings, keyboards and other touches in the background, along with frequent accoustic guitars intros. Simply put the band never descend into heaviness for the sake of being heavy. And you can see the elements that they would combine to become the band they are today.
Something the band have never lost is their way of creating sorrowful, melancholic sounds. The lyrics are not happy, without constant themes of loneliness and death.
The package is quite a nice one too, being the 2003 digipack remaster. The carboard sleeve is solid enough that it won't instantly fall apart (although the edges may fray a bit). Also included are 2 extra tracks, a beautiful orchestral performance of the title track and and re-recorded version of the Sisters of Mercy-esque Sleepless, from their (rough but decent) debut album Serenades.
A great album, taking the heavy death/doom from their debut and adding in many more melodic and arty flourishes. Fans of metal should check it out for its influence on modern doom bands, while fans of the prog Anathema should check it out to see the evolution of one of Britians best bands
Most Recent Customer Reviews
not as good as enigma I really thought they would be similar to enigma still I enjoyed their music. good cdPublished on 18 Dec. 2013 by jbefc09
I dont like their old style very much and this recording sounds too much like their old material.i prefer stuff like were here because were herePublished on 7 April 2013 by k d binder
This is an unexpected album. If you were looking for something towards Weather Systems then its not but it grows on you and you will end up enjoying it.
I was initially excited when I received an email from Amazon alerting me to 'Anathema's New Album'. Excellent, I thought, although I hadn't heard of any imminent releases despite... Read morePublished on 1 Jan. 2013 by P. White
this was the first album after the line up change ,the vocals are are really compressed and combined with the 'moaning' style if you listen to it with earphones it sounds like hes... Read morePublished on 27 Mar. 2012 by nuclearwaster
Its amazing to think that the Anathema of today created this essentially death/doom metal full-length considering the musical road they have gone down in recent years, notably... Read morePublished on 31 Mar. 2009 by S