ANATHEMA — A Natural Disaster

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ANATHEMA - A Natural Disaster cover
4.03 | 40 ratings | 6 reviews
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Album · 2003

Filed under Non-Metal
By ANATHEMA

Tracklist

1. Harmonium (5:28)
2. Balance (3:58)
3. Closer (6:20)
4. Are You There? (4:59)
5. Childhood Dream (2:10)
6. Pulled Under at 2000 Metres a Second (5:23)
7. A Natural Disaster (6:27)
8. Flying (5:57)
9. Electricity (3:51)
10. Violence (10:45)

Total Time: 55:22

Line-up/Musicians

- Vincent Cavanagh / Vocals, Guitar, Vocoder
- Daniel Cavanagh / Guitar, Keyboards, Vocals on 4 and 9
- Jamie Cavanagh / Bass, Programming
- Les Smith / Keyboards, Programming
- John Douglas / Drums

Guests:
- Anna Livingstone / Additional Vocals on 4
- Lee Douglas / Lead Vocals 7

About this release

Full-length, Music For Nations Records, November 3rd, 2003

All songs by D. Cavanagh except 2 by D. Cavanagh, V. Cavanagh, J. Douglas

Thanks to UMUR for the updates

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ANATHEMA A NATURAL DISASTER reviews

Specialists/collaborators reviews

The Crow
A transition album never sounded so good!

Because in my opinion, A Natural Disaster is a compilation of almost all the tendencies that Anathema showed since they were born in 1990. In this album you will find some of the deep melancholy of Alternative 4 and Judgement, alternative rock elements like in A Fine Day to Exit, and some tracks which give a glimpse of what Anathema would do in the future in albums like We're Here Because We're Here.

But despite this variety of sounds and influences, A Natural Disaster is one of the best Anathema's albums in my opinion, containing a lot of the band's true classics and with very few weak moments.

The album starts with Harmonium, a strong alternative rock song with electronic touches, making a great intro for Balance, a Radiohead-influenced song with a nice vocals work, really intense. Then come Closer, an Anathema's live classic, really hypnotic and unique. Like unique are Daniel Cavanagh voices in Are You There?, a wonderful song, very intimate, wich introduces the dreamy and sentimental style of future albums. Childhood Dream is a little ambiental tune with a beautiful guitar and keyboard work, while Pulled Under at 2000 Metres a Second offer the harder side of the band, on the same vain of Panic from the previous band's efforth.

A Natural Disaster is one of the best Anathema's songs, with a perfect interpretation of Lee Douglas. A song that could fit in Judgement, the true Anathema's masterpiece. And Flying does not fall behind, because it's another almost perfect tune with an outstanding chorus and vocal work from Vincent.

But my personal favourite of the album is Electricity, a very soft and mellow song also sung by Daniel with an interesting british feeling on it, in the vein of other british prog acts like the later Marillion. Marvellous! And Violence closes the album properly. Maybe it's a bit repetitive, but the precious ending piano make up for it.

Conclusion: A Natural Disaster shows a band searching for new paths while maintaining its personality. And this quest for a new style and audiences brought a few of the best Anathema's songs and a very solid, listenable and interesting album. Afther this, Anathema would remain silent seven long years, before returning with the also excellent We're Here Because We're Here, recovering one of the most interesting british bands of the last decades. The rest is just history!

Best Tracks: Closer, Are You There?, A Natural Disaster, Flying, Electricity.

My rating: ****

This review was originally written for ProgArchives.com
Sinkadotentree
After three amazing albums ANATHEMA return with quite a different sounding record in "A Natural Disaster". The focus is on the lyrics which look at those internal disasters we all go through. And i must say the lyrics are brilliant.The music is sad with no real outbreaks making this a tough listen for yours truly. After the tour for "A Fine Day To Exit" Danny Cavanagh left the band distraught over the lack of success for that particular record. He joined former ANATHEMA member Duncan Patterson's ANTIMATTER band helping out with their "Saviour" release. He returned along with new member Jamie Cavanagh(Vincent's twin) to create this album. Maybe it was his time with ANTIMATTER that moved Danny to go in this more Gothic style but one thing is clear this was Danny's baby. The previous albums had been very much band efforts but Danny was the driving force here. After this record the band would completely change their style as "We're Here Because We're Here" demonstrates. "A Natural Disaster" is a good record but for me it pales when compared to the previous three.
Phonebook Eater
Anathema's sixth album, when maturity has been reached by the band back in 1998 with their magnum opus "Alternative 4", and completed with their excellent "Judgement" the following year, is another step forward towards new horizons.

A near perfect album, an absolute gem, also very underrated and overlooked, that should absolutely be considered if you're interesting in this band. I was immediately hooked when I first heard the opening track, "Harmonium", one of Anathema's best and most powerful songs in my opinion. Basically, I fell in love with the album almost immediately.

In "A Natural Disaster" the Doom Metal influences are even less than in their previous effort, "Judgement", and Alternative and Progressive Rock reign supreme. The atmospheres are much calmer, a lot less alarmed and doomy. IN fact, all the violent moments are gone, replaced with beautiful, delicate songs, almost every one of them sublime and breathtaking.

"Harmonium" is, like I said, one of the best Anathema songs in my opinion. The dreamy and somewhat mysterious intro gets me every single time. The rest is also amazing.

"Balance" is another excellent song, not as good as the previous one, but still impressive in many moments. The mood here is soft, and the melody is exquisite.

"Closer" is one of Anathema's most sad and melancholic songs, probably due to the vocoder, and the synth's delicate and mysterious touch.

"Are You There?" is another beauty, a masterpiece. The vocals here are amazing, the synth's as well, the atmosphere is very ethereal, like in no other song from this band.

"Childhood Dream" is an eerie interlude, with some creepy effects that accompany the sounds of a baby. Perfect.

"Pulled Under...." is another excellent song, full of haunting moments, especially the powerful chorus.

"A Natural Disaster" is a great song, especially live (I saw them last night, great show!) and the female vocals are simply amazing.

"Flying" has a beautiful, haunting and calm chorus, The verses also are fantastic, and the arrangements are really good.

"Electricity" is another, fantastic song, with a vey calm mood and delicate melodies.

"Violence" is the song that prevents me from giving this album 5 stars: long, very boring at times, it's just not well done in my opinion.

To conclude, I absolutely loved the album and almost all the songs in it. A near-perfect album, essential for whoever likes this band.
arcane-beautiful
I only have 2 Anathema albums, but I can guess that this is their best. When I first heard this album, I wasn't a big fan of it (maybe it didn't meet up to certain expectations I had, what a snob I was), but listening to it the second time really made me understand that it just is flawless.

Perfectly aligned with every song having it's own amazing individualist characteristic and just the pure atmosphere of Anathema, this album will be listened to for many years to come for me.

Their was a difference between A Fine Day To Exit and this album, being that AFine Day had it's own sound, and this album was more of a culmanation of sounds (if that makes sense)

1. Harmonium - Grat intro. For some reason this song reminds me of Coldplay. Great buildup throughout. 10/10

2. Balance - Very Radiohead. Great vocals. 8/10

3. Closer - One of my favourite Anathema songs, mainly because of it's simplicity (and maybe the vocoder). 10/10

4. Are You There? - This is my brother's favourite Anathema song (I can see why) Very beautiful. 9/10

5. Childhood Dream - Quite odd instrumental with some odd noises. 8/10

6. Pulled Uunder At 2000 Meters A Second - Such a kick ass song. This song has been labelled as a vocal rip off to Pink Floyd's Sheep (but out of all the times music has been stole from Roger Waters, I would believe he would be proud of this song. The vocals rule, reminding me of Devin Townsend. 10/10

7. A Natural Disaster - Best song on the album. I love the female vocals. This song is so beautiful, it almost makes me cry everytime I hear it. 10/10

8. Flying - Great arrangement with an amazing chours. Quite cathcy. 10/10

9. Electricity - A beautiful piano and acoustic ballad. The chord changes at times are very beautiful. 9/10

10. Violence - A very ambient and oddly moving instrumental. I was listening to this song while eating my soggy cornflakes, and it really was quite universal. 9/10

CONCLUSION: Their best album... I think.

Conor Fynes
'A Natural Disaster' - Anathema (9/10)

At the time of buying this album, I admitedly was not expecting something I would come to 'love.' I was already a great fan of Anathema, having loved their opus work 'Alternative 4,' and I figured that while this album was going to be good (after all, Anathema had a pretty good track record to that date) but probably not something that would really leave a resonant note with me. After all, this was an album that was pretty recent compared, released a fair bit after their 'golden age' (consisting of the prementioned 'Alternative 4' and the latter 'Judgement.') Regardless of any preconceptions, I slipped the CD into my player, and listened.

With the opening symphonic overtones of 'Harmonium,' this definately did not sound much like the Anathema I was used to. By the time the opening track hit it's sonic peak, I was pretty sure I was going to enjoy 'A Natural Disaster.'

My first true suprise did not come until the third track however. The first two still had an Anathema-typical melancholic art rock feel about them, but the atmospheric 'Closer' really challenged me to listen intently. Upon first song, I wasn't even totally aware a third song had started, as it had segued perfectly from the second song 'Balance' (which is a perfect climbing follow-up to the first song) into it's own riff...

The best way I can describe 'Closer' is as Anathema's version of an electronic trance track. It literally brings the listener into a 'trance' of sorts, and a robotic synth voice chants over a slow build-up of sonic power. While I can't guarantee that all prog-fans are going to enjoy 'Closer,' it was certainly an interesting suprise.

While I do love all the songs on here (there was a point I was going to call all of the songs on this album a 'highlight' of their own) I particularly like 'Are You There' (a beautiful love song) the emotive 'Flying' and the first 5 minutes of the monster track 'Violence,' which although it's not a multi-part suite like a typical prog fan would expect upon seeing an 11 minute track on a prog album, it's still great, although it would have been perfect if the last 5 minutes or so had been cut off, as they do seem to wander.

'A Natural Disaster' in total has actually changed my view of the band. From this point, I can't really listen to 'Alternative 4' without thinking of it as being excessively whiny and morose. With 'A Natural Disaster,' they channel their trademark melancholy through the use of maturity; a maturity that can only be brought on by years of musical experience.

This is an unexpected masterpiece, my friends. If you have 'A Natural Disaster' and don't love it already, I suggest you give it another listen, with these points in mind, and see if your feelings change. As it stands, 'A Natural Disaster' is possibly the best, most consistent work they have done.

Members reviews

Peacock Feather
A really telling name was chosen for the album by members of Anathema. It was born, by the way, in a conversation between Danny and Duncan Patterson, when they reconciled with each other. As stated by the Cavanagh brothers, at the time they were in a closed confrontation with each other for personal reasons, and this at some point led to the fact that Danny wanted to leave the group. Fortunately, this did not happen, moreover, the third of the Cavanagh brothers returned to the band after a long absence – Jamie, Vinnie's twin brother, who took over as bassist after the departure of Dave Pybus. Nevertheless, the inner state of Danny is absolutely accurately reflected in the new material, which is almost entirely written this time by the eldest of brothers (only Balance is co-written with Vinnie and John Douglas).

I see Natural Disaster as the album that became a kind of point of no return for the band. This LP of the "new" Anathema is unique in that, unlike the subsequent bright and optimistic albums, A Natural Disaster attracts exactly some kind of alienated, slightly gloomy, sad atmosphere. Against this background, the names of the first 2 tracks look very ironic, with such a sign! Although, maybe the band meant exactly the perfect harmony and balance that they finally found on this album.

From the first time I did not understand this album, I honestly admit, and I thought about putting it off until better times. The only thing that attracted me was the unusual Closer, and even then it was unusual because of the very skillful use of the vocoder. Later, however, the beauty of Natural Disaster began to unfold for me like a lotus bud. And here you are already clinging to the soul and pathos of Harmonium, and soulfulness of Are You There? (in which Danny again turns to the topic of losing a loved one), and the piercing aggression and darkness of Pulled Under at 2000 Meters a Second, and the hopelessness of the title song (Lee Douglas finally sings solo!), and the serenity of Flying, and the unexpected instrumental about 11 minutes with a well-chosen title Violence simply amazes with its mixture of the entire sound of the album, where sentimentality and aggression collide with each other and form a kind of yin and yang. By the way, in addition to Vinnie, on this album, Danny himself sings solo on 2 songs at once (Are You There? and Electricity), and what's funny, some reviewers confused the voices of Vinnie and Danny (although objectively they are completely different)!

On Natural Disaster, the band went even further from its musical past, but it adapts some ideas from there and turns them into new, unique things, like, for example, it happened with the aforementioned Pulled Under at 2000 Meters a Second, but the trend remained the same: Anathema continued to modify its musical vector, and it seems that on A Natural Disaster, they finally found the necessary and convenient sound. The verdict is simple: despite a couple of tracks (Balance and Electricity), which in my subjective opinion are rather boring, the album is really great, and I love it almost as much as the previous two.

Ratings only

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