ANATHEMA - Distant Satellites
July 29, 2014, a year ago
Liverpool’s Anathema has morphed into many musical formations throughout its 24-year existence. From its early doom metal days, to its mid-period gothic/Floydian adaptation, to its current new/modern prog rock form, Anathema are pros at tapping into a listener’s emotions like a cathartic therapy session. On its 10th full-length album, Distant Satellites, the lovable scousers stick to what they’ve been doing on their past few releases. Less is more in the band’s musical arsenal these days, and with the addition of electronic segments (some blatant and overbearing), and orchestral arrangements, the band’s sound takes on new meaning. The 10 consciously stripped-back tracks are superbly crafted, giving off hints of Muse, Enigma and later-era Radiohead. Brothers Vincent and Daniel Cavanagh are competent vocalists in their own right, but when you add Lee Douglas’s soaring voice into the mix, it creates a unique sound. Her lead vocals on tracks “The Lost Song Part 2” and “Ariel” are angelic, pristine and downright captivating. Even with its melancholic overtones, the band offers hope and positive vibes with vivid and uplifting lyrics. However, the band’s newfound electronica elements just don’t work on the final two tracks. The stuttering, repetitive, dub-step samples are a huge distraction for me and it disrupts the flow of the songs. The electronically-modified vocals of “You’re Not Alone” is instantly infectious, but soon wears thin due to its repetitive electronic rhythm. Despite these few distractions, Distant Satellites is a great collection of songs and Anathema are at the top of their game at the moment.