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on 21 November 2011
Actually 3,5 stars from me.

I have mixed feelings about this album. In short I could say it is enjoyable but not outstanding. Perfectly produced and performed, yet lacking some hook, some originality and sometimes even good ideas. I've already listened to this album a few times and thought I would share my thoughts...

Anthem - the first song and the title for the album. It sounds GRAND but the song is actually very shallow. Well produced, with a steady rhythm, some voices (chanting heyoo ye hey...)and a simple piano melody. Sounds nice, but simple. Too little though for such a big title...

That Place in Your Heart - again quite simple song with a simple message of peace and unity, however this one a has a great hook - the lyrics are sung in a perfect, delicate manner (makes me think of some of the gentler Delerium songs!) and, while it is not the most original song, it still is one that I really liked from the first time. This is really memorable song.

Run Away - again a gentle chillout song with a touch of techno - similar to Anthem, but also similar to Solas songs. Nothing new but enjoyable!

Ready for Life - might be the weakest song on the album. I usually skip it. Repetitive, bland lyrics and nothing new in terms of instrumentation. I don't like this song.

Salve - This is really something! An operatic voice and a Gregorian-sounding choir. This should be titled Anthem! The album would be perfect if there were more songs like this! The most accomplished song here.

Never - Enjoyable song in the manner of Solas. Nice chillout song. Nothing more, but is it wrong?

Worlds Apart - similar to the above.

Ancient Lands - is very similar in form to Salve. A very good choir track. However it sounds a bit out of place comparing with the more poppy songs on the rest of the album.

Where Are you Now - again a chillout elevator music. Good to relax, nothing more but nothing less.

Heaven (waiting...) - well... This is a reworking of the song "Heaven" from Solas album. The Solas version was - imho - the weakest song on Solas, however it was maybe the deepest in meaing as it was written for a deceased friend. I didn't like it though - sorry. The Anthem version has proper lyrics and a more poppy character. And I'm still not very keen on it.... sorry...

As I said before - there are lots of chillout songs, good for relaxing after a hard day. Something like Clannad or Enya, or maybe more recent albums of Vangelis. And there's nothing wrong with it. I just wish the piano interludes (characteristic for this album and for Solas) would be more artistically accomplished (they sound too simplistic sometimes). Don't get me wrong - this is a good chillout album, but sometimes too superficial.

In comparison with Mr Hardiman's previous offer, Solas, it sounds quite similar, it only has more "techno" elements in it - which is what I like (it makes it sound more "dream dance" like, less like a usual sugary-sweet new age album). Salve and Ancient Lands - are hands down the best tracks here. But they sound very different from the rest.

Hope my "review" was of any help.
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on 6 October 2000
Yesterday I received my copy of Ronan Hardiman's new CD Anthem and I just have to write a review of it! What do I think of it? Its WONDERFUL! But anyone who has ever heard any of Ronan's music must already know it would be nothing less.
The album is very much similar in style to Solas , but with a few differences. First of all, the feeling it projects is very different. In general, the tracks on Solas seem designed for relaxation and meditation, and as such works very well... however, Anthem is not only very relaxing, but many of the songs create a very uplifting and joyful feeling that Solas didn't.
The opening track "Anthem" is a good example - this is typical Hardiman, with a good, steady beat, beautiful electric piano melody, and some wonderful female vocal work by Leslie Dowdall, with a very upbeat, joyful chant that makes me feel happy.
The next track "That place in your heart" is another departure from Solas - this is a real song with real lyrics (very thought provoking ones too) which is beautifully sung. This is followed by "Run Away" which has the distinct Solas sound with the usual piano and beat, with the lead vocals being very Enya-esque. Next is one of my personal favourites "Ready for Life", which isn't technically a song, but has some lyrics... there is something about the mood that this one creates that is hard to describe.... Maybe its just me, but this song makes me feel very happy for some reason, the lyrics, the piano melody...everything about it is just wonderful. This is real mood enhancing stuff!
To balance things, the next track "Salve" is a very brooding, powerful piece, which really stands out from the other tracks. This has a very symphonic sound, and features the male choir used for his Feet of Flames work. I have always been a great fan of what Ronan can do with the male choir (his work with them in Feet of Flames 2000 is fabulous - why cant we have this on CD, Ronan?) but he doesn't use them a great deal, which is a shame because they add a tremendous effect.
"Never" is a very Solas-ey track, in fact the vocals on it sound almost exactly like "Heaven" in places. Nonetheless, a very nice track. "Worlds Apart" is another great track, which also has the distinct Solas sound. Following this is "Ancient Lands", which is my personal favourite. There are no words to describe how brilliant this track is, its incredibly powerful, very well written, it really conjures up images of ancient lands in the East somewhere... this is also shown by his choice of instrumentation, sounding almost Egyptian in places. The male choir are used again on this in the second half, although I was a little disappointed because they don't seem to do much, their phonetic chanting is very limited, which is a shame because I have heard Ronan do wonderful things with them in the past. But the first part is without a doubt my favourite of all the tracks!
"Where are you now" has very good sound effects, conjuring up images of rainfall - this is a nice relaxing, sad piece, which turns into a fairly upbeat tune. The final track is a remix of "Heaven", but this time with full lyrics, and an almost gospel feel to it.
All in all a fabulous CD, if you loved Solas then you will love this. If you love good music you will love this. The only bad points are that there are only 10 tracks, which is a shame, because I feel they could have added his "Silver Swans" millennium piece, and maybe even "Dance of the Swans" from FOF2000, as that would fit in with the style quite well, I think!
So there's nothing left for me to say but BUY IT! You wont regret it! If you want your spiritis uplifting, this is just the music for you!
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on 20 February 2014
If you want relaxing and endearingly haunting sounds with a bit of a beat - Ronan Hardiman will deliver. Great album to listen to at home and in the car. Have always been admirer of Mr Hardiman and this album was equally impressive.
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on 16 July 2010
Great album, I loved it, review on youtube first or on amazon in case not your kind of music, relates to the Lord of the Dance themes, great, fabulous, want more!! Love it, love it.
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on 23 May 2016
Got this one for one track as Enya s song "love song "is in this album and I absolutely adore Enya so am not disappointed, recommended
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on 27 December 2013
This is his best album he has produced in my opinion, I really love it. Especially the track named 'Heaven'
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