Weather Systems (The End Records TE251-2, 2012)
Anathema is a band that captures the true spirit of progressive rock. Throughout the years, it has experimented and evolved. What started long ago as a doom metal band is now one of the finest progressive bands from the UK with a philosophical message.
Weather Systems incorporates elements of post rock as well as alternative rock and classic progressive rock. The heart of the band are the brothers Cavanagh. Most of the songs are by keyboardist Daniel Cavanagh, while singer and multi-instrumentalist Vincent Cavanagh provides the musical direction and arrangements.
At this stage, Anathema’s sound is centered on the expressive male vocals of Vincent Cavanagh and the captivating female voice of Lee Douglas. The best vocals appear on the track ‘The Gathering of the Cluds’, where Lee Douglas and Vincent Cavanagh showcase their talent with skilled intertwining vocals and overdubs that are just as good as what Yes’ Jon Anderson did in his best recordings.
Weather Systems presents a mix of keyboard atmospheres and sound effects along with orchestral arrangements and acoustic and electric guitars. The electric guitars are in general subdued, sometimes creating a minimalist wall of sound. My main complaint about post rock groups is their focus on vocals and the rejection of instrumental solos. Thankfully, as the album progresses, Anathema builds a climax on pieces like ‘The Storm Before the Calm’ and ‘The Beginning of the End,’ where the band slowly and skillfully builds the music up to a highpoint, with a very welcomed electric guitar solo.
The album concludes with delightful vocals and beautiful melodies and atmospheres on ‘The Lost Child’ and mesmerizing spoken word on ‘Internal landscapes.’
“It feels like we are at a creative peak right now, and this album reflects that,” says Daniel Cavanagh. “Everything from the production to the writing to the performances are a step up from our last album…This is not background music for parties. The music is written to deeply move the listener, to uplift or take the listener to the coldest depths of the soul.”
Weather Systems showcases one of the finest talents in the current progressive rock scene with passionate songs about the struggle of life, with its highs and lows, optimism and despair, vigor and gloom; the straightforward realities of life.
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