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Customer reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
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on 30 December 2001
An inspired outing from Merseyside's finest(well, not including the Beatles that is).
Eternity is the first album in which Anathema begin to sound like a prog rock outfit. 'Dreaming: The Romance' on 'Serenades' had hinted at this, but was perhaps overlooked as an aberration, rather than a portent of things to come. THIS album however, illustrates the band's creative diversity as previously unseen. The album sounds all at once truly original and yet inherently similar to nearly any rock band you care to mention - Pink Floyd, Metallica, Megadeth, Tangerine Dream etc. (the list is unending) - yet somehow this improbable mixture sounds original, and it's a paradox to be sure, because of its unexpected nature.
The opener 'Sentient', and 'Eternity pt II' are blissful, melodic guitar solos that speak of an influence visited upon the band by the fiercely talented David Gilmour. This is surely no coincidence, as track 6, 'Hope', is a cover version of a Roy Harper tune, co-written by the 'Floyd guitarist. 'Hope' also incorporates the spoken word offering 'Bad Speech' by Harper, and indeed it is Harper himself whose voice we hear. The song itself is competent, though my only grievance about it is that Vincent Cavanagh's ability to sing is acutely exposed as inadequate, and woefully so - a recurrent shortfall on many tracks from this platter - and one is left wondering just what regime of vocal exercise the frontman underwent to get in shape for 'Alternative4' (qv.), which was recorded a couple of years later.
The other highlights of this album are 'The Beloved', which offers a guitar riff reminiscent of Dave Mustaine; 'Radiance', a veritable pastiche of emotion, giving us a paced, aggressive atmosphere that melts without compromise to yield before the richest, warmest synth you're ever likely to hear this side of Rick Wakeman; 'Far Away' is ecclesiastic with the entry of its organ(more tea, vicar?), yet the poor vocals let it down AGAIN; 'Suicide Veil' is AWFUL for about three seconds, and then the music starts, and we are treated to some terrific acoustic guitar work, and 'Cries on the Wind', possibly my favourite track here, metes out an almost sub-sonic baseline that paves the way for some unquestionably brutal guitar riffs, the last of which is both wailing and addictive.
One final point to address is this: those familiar with Anathema might debate whether or not the band could be described as Heavy Metal nowadays. They clearly once were - on 'Serenades', 'Pentecost III' etc. - but have more recently drifted toward a sombre prog rock genre. Nevertheless, 'Ascension', being the final piece on 'Eternity' - unless you can find yourself the Limited Edition version with the bonus acoustic tracks - reads like one last hurrah for traditional Heavy Metal. It is a fast track, with a very strong tint of Iron Maiden, yet its final moments do transport us elsewhere, as the piano closes the door on a bold album of diversity and transition, letting us know that henceforth, from Anathema, we should expect the unexpected, and that from me, in my album reviews, we should expect a great many tortured clichés.
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on 19 February 2007
Anathema are one of the metal bands that have progressed from a fairly extreme form of music (in their case, Doom) to something altogether more sophisticated and accessible - this has been both the band's blessing and curse because while they continue to evolve, refusing to stagnate, they find themselves in the difficult position of not being able to please many of their earlier-era hardcore fans.

I'm open-minded enough to accept progression - if you want dark-as-hell (and admittedly brilliant) doom metal then Serenades will always be there - and Eternity serves as a bridge between the really heavy stuff and the more progressive era that followed. Vincent took over the vocals on the preceding album (Silent Enigma), continuing from where Darren left off with more of a death growl on that disc. Here he started to personalise the sound and it's very effective, one of Eternity's strong points and something that would help define and distinguish the band beyond that. His voice would get softer and develop more range as the albums went on but I really like what he did on this album.

The music is complex, pretty heavy (though not so much as Enigma, Serenades, etc.), melancholic, and very efficient. The guitar sound and execution is great. It was around this period that Anathema started to be seen as sort of a metal version of Pink Floyd and it is an acknowledgeable comparison with Eternity. The album feels very much a whole, with tracks seemingly gliding into and out of one another. It's a complete and beautiful experience. The melodies are thoughtful and there is rarely a moment that one could describe as disposable.

There are a couple of acoustic bonus tracks on some versions of the CD (Far Away and Eternity Part 3); these are nice renditions but I tend to prefer to listen to the album without them. If you can only get Eternity without these two bonus tracks it is no massive loss.

All said, this is a superb and unique piece of work. It may take a little effort on the part of the listener but it's a rewarding experience for the open-minded metal (or even rock) fan.
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on 9 December 2011
This is a fantastic album, each track is carefully crafted and full of emotion. The production is not perfect but the mood and musical quality is second to none. Absolutely recommended.
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on 31 March 2009
There are many reasons as to why Anathema's `Eternity' record is important to the music industry, but is it any good? Having heard it several times now, I can shrug off the feeling of disappointment. In general, the reviews for this record on Metal Archives and other sites are relatively positive if not full of praise for this record. I, on the other hand, am resentful of it, in a way. Of course, it is the first major transformation of the band, but considering how talented these musicians are, `Eternity' seems to be one step too far, too soon. It is a case of trying to run before you can crawl. Disappointment is the main feeling I have whenever I hear `Eternity'. It's a lot more atmospherically driven than the older material, the death and doom crossover material. I find that strange, in a sense. Why? Because doom especially is known for its crushing atmospheres. It is a highly atmospheric genre that tends to sweep its audience up in one foul swoop and consume them with either A) Its beauty or B) Its heaviness. Whilst one could argue that there is still a doom influence on this record, the death influence is gone.

Considering I'm not the biggest fan of death metal, that's not a negative in any way, shape or form for me but I could understand someone feeling fairly upset at the lack of influence from the death metal genre. Anathema are now tagged atmospheric rock and that is a very apt description of their music. The metal has all but been drained from this band, which isn't a shame, but it means that this new look Anathema rely on a lot of new traits that some people might not like. For example, the band's vocals have drastically changed. With the more mellow sound coming to the foreground, with use of acoustics and such to bring it forward, the vocals needed to change. They still have that haunting feel from earlier works, but they're clean. Very clean. They're very emotive, which is wonderful. I was afraid, on the initial listen, that the vocals would upset the balance that Anathema had set themselves, but that isn't the case. Even the use of female vocals, which only occasionally come into play, are perfect beside this new approach. However, as I know all too well, good vocals don't make good music. The lyrics aren't particularly bad though as we can see:

"Been down so long
Too deep the water that I tread
Sometimes I feel myself going under
Sometimes I envy the dead

So take me far away."

`Eternity' does showcase similar sounding guitars that were used on the previous effort `'The Silent Enigma'. The guitars have that very spaced out feel to them. They continue to stand out amongst some very solid song writing. However, the problems is not the overall sound of the guitars because that's fine, it is the riffs themselves. Along with the bass, the riffs aren't particularly inspiring. One may even consider them boring in comparison to the old crushing sounds one has become accustomed to. Whilst they may be accessible due to the lesser sound than on previous efforts, they lack the edge that once made Anathema a very enjoyable outfit. Song structures don't seem to be as well polished as they once were. I do know for a fact that Anathema have sorted out their style, which is pleasing, but this is still a grey spot for me. Whilst songs like `Hope', minus the mildly tedious intro, are fantastic, there are far too many laboured songs. `Hope' is fantastic for its amazing bass lines that outshine every other aspect of the music, for once, but one song does not make a good album. There also seem to be too many filler tracks, which serve little purpose on this album. The main worry, when I initially heard this record, was that Anathema weren't capable of completely ridding themselves of the metal genre, and that they would be stuck in limbo, which is what this record seems to be.

Thankfully that isn't the case, but this record seems to suggest that, at one time or another, Anathema were unclear on the direct they wanted to take. Which is, of course, why `Eternity' sounds directionless on occasions. Whilst there is a good use of bass, at times, and the vocals are particularly pleasing, there are too many `nothing' aspects. The guitars are uninspired for large parts, the drums are lazy and lack invention and finally, the atmospheric styling that the instruments create can sometimes feel out of place, which hinders the progress of the music itself. Atmosphere is apparently high on the agenda of this band, but Anathema have made mistakes on where to focus their attentions. The mellow sound is only just being developed by Anathema and is not at its strongest, so I can understand why this may not be my favourite Anathema record as it is the beginnings of a very experimental era for the British act.
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on 20 February 2004
Seeing as there is such a dearth in reviews of Anathema albums and i'm very bored i thought i'd add my only opinion. I've heard this, "alternative 4", bits of "judgement" and the two more recent ones "fine day to exit" and "a natural disaster". I'm very scared of listening to anything before this as i've heard one track off "the silent enigma", "a dying wish" i believe...and yeah. Pretty scary. But in my opinion they have got better and better with every single album, even including the not-much-liked Natural Disaster. Which is why this only gets 3 stars.
Esp. ETERNITY 2 and the opening SENTIENT but if you want to hear what i would say are the REAL ANATHEMA..or at least the REALLY GOOD ANATHEMA then i'd start off by buying A Fine Day to Exit, which is by far the most accesible, and work you way around from there.
There's my advice for the day
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on 19 February 2004
I absolutely love this album, i cant stop listening to it. I assume that this is the album where they begin breaking away from traditional doom, to more Pink Floydian style sounds. Why should you buy this album. Because everything about this album is of the highest quality. This is an album that is made by themselfs for themselfs, this and there subsequent albums are not made to get them on radio as some might believe. Im always hearing comparisons to radiohead, i dont believe this band to be as accessible as radiohead. This band will never be a MAINSTREAM band. Ask yourself do you want them be. Dont you feel a great sense of achievement when you buy an album buy someone that seeming no one has heard of. Doesnt it feel great when that album is the most amazing thing you have heard. My favourite song on this album is Hope, its a cover. Ive never heard the original but i need to now. Do yourself a favour and buy this album.
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on 23 July 2014
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on 27 November 2016
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