Roundtable Album Review: Anathema – Distant Satellites
Posted by ChristopherMammal
Release Date: 10 June, 2014
Length: 57 minutes
Genre: Atmospheric Metal
Studio Albums: Nine previous albums
WarpRider – I am way late getting into Anathema; only with their last album was the beginning for me. Their music is beautiful to say the least. They have a knack for enabling the mind to wander. The dual male/female vocals complement each other quite nicely and you’ll already know this if you listen to them. Comparing to Weather Systems, I am fonder of that album than Distant Satellites. Though I find the album easy to listen to, there were a few songs that didn’t move me the way Weather Systems does. The self-titled track and “Take Shelter” were too electronic for me and “Firelight” was more annoying, like Catholic Church music. Despite the lackluster conclusion of the album, Distant Satellites started out strongly and kept my attention right up until the last three aforementioned tracks. Still, that doesn’t take away much from the album experience. The songs I don’t like all come at the end. 3.8
Irmelinis – This is going to be really difficult to write about. I can’t listen to Anathema without crying, both sad and happy tears*. Their music, especially on this one and the two previous albums, instantly absorbs all of my attention and fills me with a wide range of strong emotions. Everything flows ever so gently with soft piano and beautiful strings during the first half of this album, sometimes feeling like a tear that runs slowly down your cheek and other times it’s warm and familiar – like a comforting caress from a loved one.
A bit into the second half the melancholic sound progressively changes into an uplifting, pulsating atmosphere, as if they wanted to end the album on a more positive note and leave you with a feeling of hope and joy. The songs are easy to relate to and may come across as simple, but the effect of Anathema’s majestic music combined with the honest lyrics is powerful and deeply satisfying. Many of Anathema’s strong points are expressed in the vocals; both singers carry the captivating melodies beautifully, with an overwhelming sense of vulnerability and more passion than you will ever find anywhere else in the world of music. 5.0
* This emotional Anathema review is sponsored by several brands of absorbent tissue.
ChristopherMammal – Grief. According to iTunes I have 17 Anathema albums and EPs. I got them all because of the prog, not the metal side of their music. Distant Satellites is the gentlest, most introspective post metal you’re likely to find. The songs with male vocals are reminiscent of Airbag, and the female-voiced songs call to minds bands like Touchstone or Magenta, which are all heavy or symphonic prog, not metal. The stand-out song for me, “The Lost Song Part 3”, has a distinctly neo-prog time signature in the drums and keyboards. It builds up to a form similar to some of the music of The 3rd And The Mortal when that band was in its art rock phase, not on its doom metal albums. “Inner Silence” may be the most distinctly post metal track, and it’s lovely too. Since I’m a prog-jazz-metal hybrid, Distant Satellites is deeply satisfying to me. 4.0
A Metal State of Mind Score – 4.3 out of 5