Sunday, 17 August 2014

Anathema - Falling Deeper (2011)

Anathema goes grandiose and exaltedly symphonic on this release, the target being a reworking of older songs and fitting them into a massive orchestral glow that is simply put, irresistible! Their usual gloomy veneer has been coated with a colossal melancholia with torrents of effective symphony strings courtesy of the London Session Orchestra. Accordingly, this evolving group of musicians search out new sonic horizons, eschewing any formulaic approach to their discography and boldly take their craft to new heights. This is a most welcome philosophy for it underlines a definite progressive tendency to constantly alter their scope and hone their artistic vision, unafraid to experiment and rejoice in the results. Being relatively new to the Anathema phenomenon (the masterful "Judgement" is what sucked me in), I need to visit their past discography but with music of such sheer beauty, I have no wish to run too fast , helter-skelter. I know I will get there. In the meantime, the aura of grandiose ennui becomes evident on "Crestfallen", a perfect title of a perfect song expertly portrayed amid a wave of crushing symphonicity. It segues directly into "Sleep in Sanity" a downright killer track, wielded by a sensational female wailing by Lee Douglas , while the three Cavanagh boys really lay it on thick and creamy, as befitting such a spectral arrangement. "Kingdom" wallows wildly in a steamy, delirious and yet consistent aural mist, emotionally charged and breathtaking. "They Die" is short but oh so bittersweet! The most glorious 2 minute piece you have ever heard. "Everwake" is a stunning slice of Annike van Giersbergen (The Gathering), a wonderfully adept vocalist, specializing in the fragile/powerful arsenal of pipes. She can howl, wail and sing with total ease. When a piano lulls you into an orchestra of trembling strings, how can you not melt? "J'ai Fait Une Promesse" is such a highlight then! Melancholic restraint. Desperate gorgeousness. "Alone" is cinematographically creepy by comparison, acoustic guitar gloom and despondence invade the air with morbid intensity (lack thereof, actually) until Lee swerves into our ears, screeching some distressed plea, the relentless plucking strings of the forlorn acoustic guitar weeping in the foreground. Thunderstorm effects add to the murkiness, Lee doing an encore wail and figuratively ushering the funeral choir forward. Chilling to be alone for some. "We the Gods" is another piano and string cameo that meanders along, unobtrusively carving an elegant route. "Sunset of Age" ends this voyage on an uplifting note, massive strings shepherd in some irresistible male and female vocals, a steady beat and a thunderous chorus. The violins are stupendous, a dazzling foray into the senses confused by all the contrast and the stop and go rhythm, the piano refereeing the crew, putting them into a resemblance of order. Yes, the music is that powerful and evocative, yet treated in a classical way. Wow!. Their material is ideally suited for this kind of overhaul, hence it's successful! The screeching guitar twining with the strings is exemplary, proving they are damn fine musicians to boot. A triumph of adventure, courage and musical vision
This is a petite one, barely a half hour of music but quite a stellar performance. Brief album, brief review.Review from

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Crestfallen / Sleep In Sanity (6:43)
2. Kingdom (3:59)
3. They Die (2:20)
4. Sunset Of Age (7:32)
5. Everwake (3:09)
6. We The Gods (3:00)
7. I Made A Promise (4:10)
8. Alone (6:36)

Total Time 37:29

Line-up / Musicians 
 Vincent Cavanagh / vocals, guitar
- Daniel Cavanagh / guitar, vocals, keyboards, Piano
- Jamie Cavanagh / bass
- John Douglas / percussion, keyboards, guitars
- Lee Douglas / female vocals
- Les Smith / keyboards

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