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Anathema is an English band based in the city of Liverpool, associated with "atmospheric" rock, as well as death/doom metal from their debut days.

Current Members Vincent Cavanagh - Lead vocals, rhythm guitar, acoustic guitar (1990-present) Daniel Cavanagh - Lead guitar, vocals (1990-2002, 2003-present) (Lid, Antimatter, Leafblade) Jamie Cavanagh - Bass (1990-1991, 2001-present) Les Smith - Keyboards (2000-present) (ex-Cradle of Filth, Antimatter, Ship of Fools) John Douglas - Drums (1990-1997, 1998-present) Lee Douglas - Vocals (2000-present)

Anathema formed in 1990 as a doom metal band, initially under the name 'Pagan Angel'. In November of that year, the band recorded their first demo, entitled An Iliad of Woes. This demo caught the attention of several bands from the English metal scene, allowing Anathema to play gigs with bands like Bolt Thrower and Paradise Lost. At the beginning of 1991, the band adopted its current name, and gained a lot of attention
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ANATHEMA Discography

ANATHEMA albums / top albums

ANATHEMA Serenades album cover 2.71 | 25 ratings
Death-Doom Metal 1993
ANATHEMA The Silent Enigma album cover 3.27 | 33 ratings
The Silent Enigma
Death-Doom Metal 1995
ANATHEMA Eternity album cover 3.04 | 30 ratings
Doom Metal 1996
ANATHEMA Alternative 4 album cover 4.07 | 55 ratings
Alternative 4
Metal Related 1998
ANATHEMA Judgement album cover 4.02 | 54 ratings
Non-Metal 1999
ANATHEMA A Fine Day to Exit album cover 3.72 | 37 ratings
A Fine Day to Exit
Non-Metal 2001
ANATHEMA A Natural Disaster album cover 4.03 | 40 ratings
A Natural Disaster
Non-Metal 2003
ANATHEMA Hindsight album cover 3.78 | 17 ratings
Non-Metal 2008
ANATHEMA We're Here Because We're Here album cover 4.00 | 47 ratings
We're Here Because We're Here
Non-Metal 2010
ANATHEMA Falling Deeper album cover 3.90 | 23 ratings
Falling Deeper
Non-Metal 2011
ANATHEMA Weather Systems album cover 4.02 | 40 ratings
Weather Systems
Non-Metal 2012
ANATHEMA Distant Satellites album cover 3.90 | 23 ratings
Distant Satellites
Non-Metal 2014
ANATHEMA The Optimist album cover 2.56 | 7 ratings
The Optimist
Non-Metal 2017

ANATHEMA EPs & splits

ANATHEMA The Crestfallen EP album cover 2.53 | 10 ratings
The Crestfallen EP
Death-Doom Metal 1992
ANATHEMA Pentecost III album cover 2.97 | 14 ratings
Pentecost III
Death-Doom Metal 1995
ANATHEMA Alternative Future e.p. album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Alternative Future e.p.
Non-Metal 1998

ANATHEMA live albums

ANATHEMA Untouchable album cover 5.00 | 1 ratings
Non-Metal 2012

ANATHEMA demos, promos, fans club and other releases (no bootlegs)

ANATHEMA An Iliad of Woes album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
An Iliad of Woes
Death-Doom Metal 1990
ANATHEMA All Faith Is Lost album cover 4.75 | 2 ratings
All Faith Is Lost
Death-Doom Metal 1991
ANATHEMA The Sweet Suffering album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Sweet Suffering
Doom Metal 1994
ANATHEMA Demos '97 album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Demos '97
Doom Metal 1997

ANATHEMA re-issues & compilations

ANATHEMA The Crestfallen EP + Pentecost III album cover 3.00 | 5 ratings
The Crestfallen EP + Pentecost III
Death-Doom Metal 1996
ANATHEMA Resonance album cover 2.75 | 2 ratings
Non-Metal 2001
ANATHEMA Resonance 2 album cover 3.00 | 2 ratings
Resonance 2
Doom Metal 2002

ANATHEMA singles (8)

.. Album Cover
4.50 | 1 ratings
They Die / Crestfallen
Death-Doom Metal 1992
.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
We Are the Bible
Death-Doom Metal 1994
.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
Make it Right
Non-Metal 1999
.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
Non-Metal 1999
.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
Non-Metal 2001
.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
Unchained (Tales of the Unexpected)/Flying
Non-Metal 2008
.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
Non-Metal 2010
.. Album Cover
5.00 | 1 ratings
Dreaming Light
Non-Metal 2011

ANATHEMA movies (DVD, Blu-Ray or VHS)

.. Album Cover
3.43 | 3 ratings
A Vision of a Dying Embrace
Doom Metal 1997
.. Album Cover
4.38 | 4 ratings
Were You There?
Non-Metal 2004
.. Album Cover
3.50 | 8 ratings
A Moment in Time
Non-Metal 2006
.. Album Cover
4.79 | 7 ratings
Non-Metal 2013


ANATHEMA Serenades

Album · 1993 · Death-Doom Metal
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"Serenades" is the debut full-length studio album by UK, Liverpool based doom/death metal act Anathema. The album was released through Peaceville Records in February 1993. Anathema formed in 1990 under the Pagan Angel monicker, but soon changed their name to the current one. The band released the "An Iliad of Woes" demo in 1990 and the "All Faith Is Lost" demo in 1991. In 1992 Anathema released the "They Die/Crestfallen" single and "The Crestfallen" EP. The time was ripe for releasing melancholic doom/death and artists like Paradise Lost, My Dying Bride, Cathedral, Enchantment, and Katatonia had simultaniously layed the groundwork for an album like "Serenades" to succeed. And "Serenades" did end up a successful release for Anathema, helped along by the airing of the promotional video of "Sweet Tears" on MTV´s Headbangers Ball.

"Serenades" predominantly features freshly written material, but the band have opted to re-record and re-title "They Die" from "The Crestfallen (1992)" EP. It´s titled "They (Will Always) Die" on "Serenades". Considering the amount of minor releases from the band´s early days Anathema had plenty of (or at least some) writing and recording experience before entering the studio to record their debut album, and that´s audible. The band are well playing and although not all material on the album are equally intereresting, there are some high quality songwriting ideas here and there. "Serenades" opens on a particularly strong note with the trio of tracks, "Lovelorn Rhapsody", "Sweet Tears", and "J'ai fait une promesse". Three very different sounding tracks. The former is a slow doom/death track with heavy riffs and a dark atmosphere. It´s quite epic and atmospheric and towards the end of the track Anathema play a little faster and enter death metal territory. "Sweet Tears" is a heavy, mid-paced (...well slow mid-paced), and groove laden 70s influenced doom metal track (the main slide guitar riff is killer), featuring a catchy and melancholic lead guitar melody and loads of heaviness, and "J'ai fait une promesse" is a beautiful atmospheric track with female lead vocals (and gorgeuos harmonies) by Ruth Wilson. Darren White has a raw throaty semi-growling delivery, which isn´t always pretty to listen to, but mostly suits the music well anyway. He also occasionally speaks and sings some clean type vocals.

The goth (The Sisters of Mercy and The Mission come to mind) influenced "Sleepless" should be mentioned as a highlight too while the short "Scars of the Old Stream" and "Where Shadows Dance" and the 23:22 minutes long instrumental closing track "Dreaming: The Romance" aren´t particularly interesting. The latter even crosses into tedious territory pretty quickly. "Serenades" features a heavy and detailed sound production, which suits the material well, but overall the album is a bit of a mixed bag. Some tracks are high quality doom/death compositions while others have a tendency to outstay their welcome or plod along with very few climaxes to speak of. Compared to some of their contemporaries (mentioned above), Anathema weren´t fully up to par on this release, but it´s still a quality release in the genre and a 3.5 star (70%) rating isn´t all wrong.

ANATHEMA The Optimist

Album · 2017 · Non-Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
The Crow
Why, Anathema? Why?

Distant Satellites was by no means a bad album. It had even truly brilliant moments. But its experimental parts were too vague and disoriented. And The Optimist is sadly a follow-up of all this. We can hear a band trying to retrieve the alternative feeling of A Fine Day to Exit without achieving that, offering a monotonous and repetitive collection of songs unworthy of a band with this status.

32.63N 117.14W is just a brief introduction to Leave it Behind, which starts with the typical Anathema guitar, which automatically bring to mind the most alternative records of the band like the aforementioned A Fine Day to Exit or A Natural Disaster, despite its horrible electronic rhythm at the beginning of the song. But the song it's too repetitive to be considered a brilliant track, and the instrumental interlude is just awful.

Endless Ways brings the much appreciated Lee's voice and the album automatically get better. In addition, the orchestral arrangements of the song are beautiful. Sadly this track is also too repetitive for my taste, but better than The Optimist nevertheless, which is a dull and absolutely not inspired song, despite its fine guitar melodies towards the end. Till this point the quality of the album is not good, but acceptable.

But then we find San Francisco... A piano melody which repeats itself during four minutes without any kind of progression or interest, apart from its U2-type guitars. What the hell is that? Are you trying to cheat us, guys? And Springfield is even worse, another swindle with absurd lyrics and repetitive melodies... Again. Because that's the main problem of this album. The melodies and compositions are Ok, but the repetition of the same melodies again and again in almost every song give an impression of vagrancy and lack of compositional work that deeply disappoints me coming from one of my favorite bands.

Luckily, Ghosts is the best track of The Optimist. Very beautiful orchestral arrangements (this album is pretty symphonic) and vocal melodies from Lee, who sings a rather brief text. That's another interesting point of the album... The lyrics are pretty short in words and ideas. I don't really know the goal of this very minimalistic approach in the lyrics, but that's also a disappointment coming from a band with wonders like One Last Goodbye.

Can't Let Go is more lively and more guitar-oriented. Vincent's voice sounds very contained, like in the whole album... And that's also a shame, because his voice was so incredible in the previous albums! Nevertheless, it's a good song. In opposite to Close Your Eyes, another boring and insipid moment with uninspired lyrics. Only the final part with wind instruments which reminds me to Van Der Graaf Generator deserves a mention. Wildfires is one of the lowest points of the album. Depressing, repetitive and with horrible vocal effects. I really don't know how a track like that could make it into the final record. Even the typical increase of intensity in its final part is foreseeable and lame. But Anathema had mercy of us and they managed to put a decent song at the end of the CD named Back to Start, which contains good verses with a warm interpretation from Vincent and good piano melodies. The chorus is not so good and so is the final part, unnecessarily bombastic and pretentious. This could have been a good ending for a better album... But after the average or directly bad content of The Optimist, Back to Start is just utterly overblown.

Conclusion: The Optimist would be an average release for a novel band. But talking about Anathema, this record is their worst album, including their doom metal ones. A repetitive, uninspired and pretentious collection of songs with a worrying lack of ideas and direction. The attempt to retrieve the alternative rock of A Fine Day to Exit failed, and despite the orchestral arrangements the musicians don't shine like in other records of the band.

I really hope that they make it better in their next album, because after the just decent Distant Satellites and this mediocre The Optimist, I am really not so optimistic about the future of the band.

Best Tracks: Ghosts, Can't Let go, Back to Start.

My rating: **

This review was originally written for

ANATHEMA Distant Satellites

Album · 2014 · Non-Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
The Crow
After two rather similar (although fantastic) albums, Anathema tried to evolve their sound... But was it in the right direction?

The album starts brilliantly with the powerful The Lost Song Part 1, which follows the patch of Weather System but with a cleaner production, leaving a bit the familiar wall of guitars from previous releases. And we can also hear how Vincent sings even better than before! The voice of this man has no limits.

The Lost Song Part 2 is one of my favorites here thanks to the very sweet Lee's vocals and precious arrangements. The magic of Anathema is still here and it continues in Dusk despite its cheesy lyrics. This tune starts with the typical fast acoustic guitar and slowly increase its intensity towards and epic ending. This is pretty good, but maybe this Anathema formula sounds a bit old and overused here... Time for a change.

And Ariel is not really a change, but it's breathtakingly beautiful nevertheless. Marvelous vocals, great piano melodies, and a prodigious guitar. This song is pure magic, and one of the highlight of the album and also in Anathema's career. It's like that all that Anathema tried after A Natural Disaster came together in this very song. Just perfect!

Sadly The Lost Song Part 3 brings nothing really new to the other two, despite its powerful bass lines. It tries to recover the most alternative moments of A Fine Day To Exit and A Natural Disaster, but it fails. It's not bad, but it pales in comparison to the four previous tracks. But then comes Anathema! An autobiographic song which supposed a return to the Judgment's (and maybe Alternative 4) sound bit with an orchestral filter. Very intense and with great vocals from Vincent... Again.

And what the hell happened after this moment, guys?

When I first listened You're Not Alone I thought "Ok, it's just another experimental track... No luck this time. Let's hear the next song" And the next song is a very insipid keyboard instrumental track named Firelight. "Ok, the title track is of course better..." And what we found with Distant Satellites is a very ugly electronic rhythm for a very repetitive, not interesting and uninspired song. I just can't believe it! The album was very good till Anathema. And what's all this mess?

But Take Shelter starts good. And I thought "This will be a good Anathema song"... But no! The unnecessary electronic rhythms are back for a song which end in a pretentious and bombastic way, really inappropriate. It brings some melodies from the first songs back, but that's not enough to leave the listener really pleased with this very irregular album.

Conclusion: Distant Satellites is maybe the most irregular Anathema album. It has great songs like The Lost Song (Part 1 and 2) and Ariel, and some of their worst and more shameful moments (You're Not Alone, Distant Satellites) I think it's honorable, even necessary, when a band tries to evolve their sound. But the experiment that Anathema made in some of the songs included in Distant Satellites is just dull and wrong in my opinion.

It's by no means a bad album. It has even unforgettable moments, but there are other I would rather forget.

Best Tracks: The Lost Song Part 1, The Lost Song Part 2, Dusk, Ariel, Anathema.

My rating: ***

This review was originally written for

ANATHEMA Weather Systems

Album · 2012 · Non-Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
The Crow
After their very welcomed comeback two years before, Anathema released an album just as good as We're Here Because We're Here. If not even better!

Steve Wilson was not involved in the mixing of the album this time, but the production is also splendid, with a bigger predominance of strings and an even more variaty of moods and ambiences. The direction in this album is a bit more melancholic of in the previous effort, especially in the second half of the album, but not so dramatic like in preterits times.

Untouchable, Pt. 1 opens the album brilliantly, with an obvious continuation in style and mood. I think that Weather Systems was composed through the years along with We're Here Because We're Here, because the two albums are rather similar and they share too many points in common. Great guitars, beautiful melodies and intimate lyrics.

Untouchable Pt. 2 is follows the same musical theme, but in a slower and very melodic way. Lee's voice is introduced in the second verse and in the second chorus Vincent and Lee offer a marvellous duet. Just marvellous! The Gathering of the Clouds opens in a very dramatic way, with fast guitars and ominous piano chords and overlapping vocals in the style of Savatage. This song is some kind of introduction to Lightning Song, the best Anathema's song in my opinion and a moment of pure magic. Lee's voice is just disarming in this one, and so are the touching lyrics. I chose this song for the end of my wedding... And the guests were really surprised.

Sunlight comes with the voice of Daniel Cavanagh, and his warmth help to create another great song for this album. The Storm Before the Calm is just life Get Off Get Out, the experimental moment of the album. But luckily much better this time! The cold robotic voices are perfect for the lyrics, and the second half of the song is a return to the style of A Natural Disaster.

The Beginning And the End is in my opinion another highlight of this album, with its marvellous piano keyboard, strong bass and the best Vincent's singing. Period. Just an almost perfect song! Sadly The Lost Child is a bit boring and repetitive, despite its classicism and fine orchestral arrangement. And Daniel's singing is also not so good in this one.

Internal Landscapes follow the path is like a mix between Presence and Hindsight from the previous album, but better than both and with an outstanding central section in the purest Anathema's style. Intense and strong guitars, alongside a bit of prog and charming melodies.

Conclusion: Weather System was not a big surprised compared to We're Here Because We're Here. Is like a second part of this album, but a bit better in my opinion. The 2010 released had an outstanding first half, but a weaker second one. Weather System is regular and therefore more enjoyable as a whole, making it the third better Anathema album after Alternative 4 and Judgement.

Sadly the band would not be able to achieve this great level on later releases... But that's another story.

Best tracks: all of the, except the weaker The Lost Child.

My rating: ****

This review was originally written for

ANATHEMA We're Here Because We're Here

Album · 2010 · Non-Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
The Crow
We had to wait seven years for Anathema to come back... And they returned with one of their best albums!

Taking the deep and mature sound of the underrated A Natural Disaster, Anathema developed their sound a steep further with the help of the mixing of Steven Wilson, achieving not only their best sounding release to date, but also their most homogeneous in terms of songwriting and quality.

Thin Air opens We're Here Because We're Here energically, with beautiful lyrics and enough progressive moments to satisfy the most demanding fans of the band. The general ambient of this song is a less dark and melancholic the in previous albums, offering a surprising change in the band's direction, a lot more optimistic and bright. Just like the cover of the album!

Summer Night Horizon brings back the best moments of A Natural Disaster with mellow melodies but intense drums and a precious duet between Vincent and Lee, confirming that this album of 2003 was an advance of what the band would later do. Dreaming Light is even better, and a tremendous proof of how Vincent Cavanagh improved his voice through the years. Maybe the lyrics are a bit corny, but that's not so important while we are hearing the marvelous guitar and keyboard solo.

Everything was a single that we heard years before We're Here Because We're Here was released, and a great song despite its obvious Coldplay influences. It's also a very good act in live performances of the band. Angels Walk Among Us is my favorite song of the album. Another sentimental lyrics with splendid guitar melodies in the background. Prodigious!

Presence is musically a follow up of the previous track, but it contains some kind of philosophical speech in consonance with the mood of the album. A Simple Mistake is a bit more melancholic, a bit in the vein of Judgement but without reaching the best moment of this album. A good track nevertheless, with strong guitars towards the end.

Get Off Get Out is the most experimental moment of the album, and also one of its lowest moment. Is not a bad song, just anodyne? Luckily Universal is a better. A orchestral song with beautiful singing from Vincent and a very powerful second half. This should have been the ending of the album, because Hindsight is just pleasant, but not brilliant. And also a bit too long, making a good second half of the album, but not so outstanding as the first five songs.

Conclusion: despite its weak moments, We're Here Because We're Here is a very good Anathema album. Sometimes even excellent. It introduced a brighter and more optimistic stage for the band, which would encounter an excellent follow-up on Weather Systems.

It has also a very competent production and mixing (the hand of Steve Wilson is there) and even the sometimes showy lyrics can't ruin the excellent songwriting that the band achieved during its almost seven years without releasing an album.

Best Tacks: Thin Air, Summer Night Horizon, Dreaming Light, Everything, Angels Walk Among Us.

My rating: ****

This review was originally written for

ANATHEMA Movies Reviews

ANATHEMA A Moment in Time

Movie · 2006 · Non-Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Conor Fynes
'A Moment In Time' - Anathema (5/10)

First off, might I say that the rating for this work is not based on the music itself. 'A Moment In Time' is being rated here for what it is; a piece of visual media. The songs themselves are amazing, and have been commended as such on other reviews. As far as being a vessel for such beautiful music however, this DVD really comes up short. There are so many errors that make it a sloppy creation, that could have been avoided and corrected had extra care been given.

As far as the musical arrangement goes, things are really good. As well as the band performing, there is a string quartet that plays throughout, as well as a guest appearance from a talented female vocalist. The vocal passion I generally expect from Vincent Cavanagh is a bit lacking here, but that can be forgiven. There's a nice setup here, a beautiful selection of songs, so what could go wrong?

Throughout watching 'A Moment In Time,' I find myself increasingly agitated over the camera work. The camera is fixated on the vocalist, and fails to give a visual mention to either the bass player or rhythm guitarist almost at all!

Another issue is the recording of the sound. For example, during the climax of 'Empty,' the vocals drown out completely for a few seconds. For a band that's had such a high standard of musical quality, my jaw dropped at how they could ever let a DVD release come out to the general public with that sort of negligence.

Despite it's flaws and failure as a professional DVD release however, being an Anathema fan; it's hard to not at least find some enjoyment in it, and there's an CD counterpart included as well! Two stars.


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