THE DEMO CORNER
I don’t think it’s just an opinion to say that Anathema is no longer a heavy metal band by any stretch. The band’s 180-degree turn in direction since 2000’s absolute masterpiece Judgment has been continuous and rife with improvements and advancements well beyond the early Crestfallen roots. And let me tell you, it’s been a continuous love affair with these guys for me. I consider Judgment to be one of the greatest albums I have ever heard in my 40-years of life, and that says something! Weather Systems attempts to add to that brilliant line and I went into my review hopeful and not worried in the least of being let down.
Anathema hasn’t let me down yet.
There are moments on this record that honestly move me to a lump in the throat; I’m not ashamed to say it. “Untouchable 1” is a familiar, signature jam for Anathema with all the reminiscent bells and whistles that make the band unique and powerful. When I get to “Untouchable 2” I am so moved and fascinated by the absolute power and string-tugging duet between Lee Douglas and Vincent Cavanaugh. When you think of “depressing” music you get the images of EMO kiddies dressing in black and lamenting about their bad suburban hells; it is the genius and honesty of Anathema that creates the perfect and accurate visages of sorrow and loss without giving way to opaque plasticity of trends. There is no easy transition here in Weather Systems; the ethereal majesty of such a brilliant and image-inducing record is what has drawn me to the band for the last 15-years. While I did enjoy elements of We’re Here Because We’re Here and A Natural Disaster both records did not do for me what this latest does; I am wholly engaged and wildly immersed in the beauty, the tragedy, the hopefulness and the solemnity of it all. Douglas’ wonderful vocal in “Lightning Song” is so easy to enjoy and fall into that I sometimes forgot I was supposed to be reviewing this objectively; I simply want to gush like a schoolgirl over the brilliance of this record. There are moments where her vocalization here reminds me of Olivia Newton-John, one of my favorite singers from my youth, with its unfiltered air of purity and homogenization. She’s just an incredible piece to the Anathema puzzle.
What is particularly invasive about this latest album is the amazing feeling I’m left with after each track ends and quickly catapults me into the next with not only a veritable swiftness that seems to flow nicely, but an almost necessary inducement; that is to say the last notes of the preceding song always seem to have some sort of relative tonal structure to the following song by way of indirect mood stabilization. The general feel from one track to the next never gets lost; there is usually a build-up in the next song to create its own placement in this small 55-minute universe. For example, the haunting resonance of “Sunlight” ends on a calming field as the title implies, then seems to allow a slightly melancholy introduction meandering “The Storm Before the Calm”, which morphs into something as subtly chaotic as the band gets within the confines of this controlled atmosphere. There is so much going on with this record and every last bit of it will hold your interest and tap your mental reserves evenly and with indelible perfection.
I know a lot of hardcore fans are left shape-shifted by the band’s turn in the last few years, but to be honest this style has never been considered a sellout to me; this is the style that has always been lurking under the surface vying for a way to emerge with all of the simplicity of a Hemmingway Spanish sunrise. When you finally get to “The Lost Child” you’ll possibly find the sadness and solitude elusive to you up to that point; it’s a genuine descent that doesn’t leave you on the proverbial cellar floor writhing in despair and lamentation; it empowers and identifies your pain and attempts to break your heart and find your spirit in one swift, cascading swoop. It’s utterly fantastic! This says nothing of what you hopefully will feel when you get to the “Internal Landscapes”; this is so illuminating and powerful that I can’t explain it in simple syntax; I implore you to hear this record yourself.
Weather Systems can reach into the core of what you hold sacred and hidden, all of your positivity and sorrow, and soothe the savagery with an album just this side of sonic perfection. It truly was a privilege to be entranced by this album.
All content © 2013 Metal Psalter Webzine | Bands, labels, artists and photographers retain their respective © to their logos, artwork and photos | Design and Layout © 2013 Dynamico Designs
1. Untouchable, Part 1
2. Untouchable, Part 2
3. The Gathering of the Clouds
4. Lightning Song
6. The Storm before the Calm
7. The Beginning and the End
8. The Lost Child
9. Internal Landscapes
Total playing time: 55:45
Release Date: April 16, 2012
Label: Kscope Music
Anathema - Weather Systems
May 4, 2012