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Anathema - Weather Systems

Weather Systems
by Vasilis Odontidis at 21 May 2012, 8:50 PM

ANATHEMA released their ninth album in mid-April but we didn’t have the chance to review it here in Metal Temple until now. Eventually things shorted out and I got the album. I always loved their albums and their live performances and I have seen them twice already (I don’t count members solo performances). In my home country, Greece, ANATHEMA are more or less considered as “Gods”, which explains why they are so frequently playing there. No matter how much I like them though, after “A Natural Disaster” their works have been disappointing. “Weather Systems” comes with great hopes and great expectations as everyone is expecting a great album of the band. Have they achieved that? I will explain below.

Weather Systems” includes 9 songs and runs for approximately 55 minutes. First thing that captivated my eye is the great cover of the album which is a collection of fisheye images processed together as a panorama (I love photography and specifically this technique). To the music now. First two songs are the two parts of a bigger entity “Untouchable”. Part 1 builds up slowly from an insane picking arpeggio to electric guitars and ends into a calm outro that paves the way for the second part that somehow reminds me the beginning of “Back To Reason” from the last album of SAVATAGE. Same style arpeggio as the first song and the third song kicks in that builds around the arpeggios pattern. “Lightning Song” is the first song of this record that Lee Douglas is the sole vocalist - slow and tranquil with beautiful soundscapes. And the “Sunlight” comes with ambient slow calm mood and it evolves into harder parts. “The Storm Before The Calm” is a very different song in the beginning having lots of synths being reminiscent of the works of ARCHIVE. Very wicked atmosphere and great electronic feeling makes up something extraordinary. In the middle of the nine minute song it switches to a classic calm ANATHEMA ballad which made me guess that the tough part is the storm and then comes the calm. Next song is the classic Anathema song one might expect with great atmosphere, bitter feelings and melancholy. The same also goes for “The Lost Child”. The record ends with “Internal Landscapes” a 9 minute song ballad which has all the great ANATHEMA elements one might expect. That song includes some spoken lines which after a quick search I did, are the words of an old man from a part of documentary I found on YouTube called “Near Death Experiences”… freaky!

Looking into the technical parts of the album I could expect nothing less from ANATHEMA.The album has great production and the band’s musicianship is excellent. In this album Lee Douglas is considered a band member and she sings even just herself in some songs, which of course is a plus for the album since her voice is more than great and it has been a part of late ANATHEMA’s identity. What I didn’t like that much in this album is that some songs follow a specific pattern, starting in very slow tempo and building slowly with no actual changes.

Gone are the days when ANATHEMA was considered an atmospheric Metal band but nonetheless I believe that they still got in their songs drama, passion, emotion and an epic feel. That’s why I am still following them and that is the reason I thought I would be really biased on this review. So I was really bothered with the grade and what to write as a conclusion for this album and I still believe that I am a bit strict on the grade. Because the thing is that I listen continuously to this album until now and there is only one thing I came up with. It builds up to you very slowly but in the end it gets you and it embraces you. So “Weather Systems” is an album that sums up all those wonderful and melancholic things ANATHEMA is about. ANATHEMA is back. Rejoice!

4 Star Rating

1. Untouchable, Part 1
2. Untouchable, Part 2
3. The Gathering of the Clouds
4. Lightning Song
5. Sunlight
6. The Storm Before the Calm
7. The Beginning and the End
8. The Lost Child
9. Internal Landscapes
Vincent Cavanagh— vocals, guitar
Daniel Cavanagh— guitar, piano, keyboards, vocals
John Douglas— percussion, keyboards, guitars
Jamie Cavanagh— bass guitar
Lee Douglas— vocals
Record Label: Kscope Records


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