Band : Anathema
Album : Distant Satellites
Release Date : 04.06.2014
Record Label : KScope
Genre : Progressive Rock
Reviewer : G. Damgacı – Sense of Tune
Anathema is a progressive rock band from UK. Anathema is also known for being one of the first doom metal bands. The band was formed in the name of Pagan Angel in 1990 by Cavanagh brothers and Darren White as a death/doom metal band. After several changes in their line-up and a change of their name, Cavanagh brothers became prominent figures in the band. Musical style of the band changed from doom metal to alternative rock and eventually to progressive rock throughout their history. But despite of this massive stylistic change, Anathema continues being successful in their career.
“Distant Satellites” is the tenth studio album of Anathema. It was released in June 2014 via Kscope. The album was recorded in Oslo with producer Christer-André Cederberg. Also some of the songs were mixed by Steven Wilson. The artwork of the album was designed by Korean artist Sang Jun Yoo based on his installation called “Distant Light” .
When I first listened to this album, I immediately think that Anathema repeated their trend of 2-3 part songs as in their last album “Weather Systems”. But the album itself wasn’t that similar to it. Since you hear some themes over again throughout the album, this actually let them create a melodically concept album. Anathema has a distinctive progressive style which consists of lots of piano and keyboards parts, sound effects and electronic music elements. This shows that they are not afraid of experimenting while composing. Usually progressive songs have blurred musical form but it seems that Anathema found their own way of composing their songs. There are lots of piano and string parts that they incorporated in previous albums too. They don’t usually play with tones like some other progressive bands. They often variate their own chord progressions with several rhytmic and instrumental changes.
The songs in this album have all the potential for being commercially successful. Because they are listenable. You don’t have to be a prog lover or an old Anathema fan to listen to these songs. They have almost an universal quality and a solid background. They have old Anathema ambience with new Anathema ideas. One of the best features of Anathema is that they feel their songs, not just sing or play them and record them, sell them and play them in shows. They really feel their songs. You feel it, you feel that they love their songs, they want to express themselves with them. Because they are sincere, warm, sensible. I love the fact that their composing strategy takes them through new and uncharted areas but they don’t get lost in progressiveness of their sound. They have certain purposes and certain themes that they like to reflect to us. So you will feel this intimate feelings both in their singing and playing their instruments. They are almost like Pink Floyd in their own Anathema territory. But also they have a modern sound. They are not afraid of creating perfect synthesis of different genres. In this album you will see a lot of electronic aspects too. They used them wisely. Also I really would like to mention that vocals of Lee Douglas fit perfectly with Anathema’s sound and Vincent’s vocal parts. I mean it’s hard to get this chemistry in most bands.
“Distant Satellites” is going successfully in the way that Anathema opened in previous albums “We’re Here Because We’re Here” (2010) and “Weather Systems” (2012). Although they don’t want to associate this album with previous ones, you will see the similarities. But this doesn’t mean that they repeat themselves. Maybe a bit with songs with parts. But they more likely put more and more on their musical foundation with each album. I like “The Lost Song” series, “Ariel”, “Distant Satellites” the most. But I really recommend you to listen to all of them. Buy the album and see where it will take you. Ambiance is there, “beauty, intensity, drama, quietude and extra musical dimensions” is there as they mentioned of the album before.
Reviewer’s rating : 8/10
1. The Lost Song, Part 1
2. The Lost Song, Part 2
3. Dusk (Dark is Descending)
5. The Lost Song, Part 3
7. You’re Not Alone
9. Distant Satellites
Anathema is :
Vincent Cavanagh – Lead vocals, electric guitars, acoustic guitars, bass guitars, keyboards, programming, backing vocals
Daniel Cavanagh – Co-lead vocals, electric guitars, acoustic guitars, bass guitars, keyboards, piano.
John Douglas – E-drums, percussion, keyboards, programming
Lee Douglas – Lead vocals, co-lead vocals, backing vocals
Daniel Cardoso – Drums
Christer-André Cederberg – Bass guitar