There are certain bands that create music that can cut you up emotionally in ways you never dreamt of. And then there’s Anathema. Except they manage to break you down to the very last atom and more often than not leave you a shuddering wreck once they’re done. Right from their early doom/death years to the gut wrenching sweet sorrow of Judgement, A Natural Disaster, and their last excursion into otherworldly dreamscapes with We’re Here Because We’re Here, Anathema have been on a quest to transcend the confines of music as an art form.
Weather Systems is Anathema’s ninth studio album. Honestly, We’re Here Because We’re Here was indeed a flawless, life affirming comeback and a gold-plated contender for the album of the year. It took them seven years to complete and just like a certain bearded guy in the sky created the universe in seven days (allegedly), these mere mortals from Liverpool had managed to outdo him and then some, just like a bunch of buggers from the same city managed to upstage his son about 50 years ago.
The album has a very bright and soothing start with beautiful clean guitar melody of “Untouchable, Part I”. This song has a very powerful vocal delivery and beautifully penned, touching lyrics. The song is about letting your true love go and moving on, a feeling so perfectly implied by the Cavanagh. I really like the way he amplifies his feelings as the song progresses with all the instruments assisting him to the best. After a well-orchestrated outro, the song merges into its second part, “Untouchable, Part II”. It starts with a nicely done piano intro. As it can be easily understood by the phrase “had to let you go”, the song deals about the aftermath of letting go. The band adds more depth to song by bringing in Lee Douglas’s vocals harmonized with Vincent Cavanagh’s vocals.
The next song “The Gathering of the Clouds” is somewhat faster than the first two songs and it consists of more modulating vocal harmonies. You can feel the song catching pace as it progresses but frankly speaking, the song failed to meet my expectations. The song ends and merges into its second part, which is called “Lightning Song”. “Lightning Song” begins with a fast guitar melody, which has a structure quiet similar to “Untouchable, Part I” intro. The song is sung mostly by Lee Douglas who got a bit heavier in the song. In fact her vocals can be heard throughout the album. The song gains the pace which was left behind in “The Gathering of the Clouds”. The drums and guitars add more heaviness to the song. The drumming adds more life to the album.
“Sunlight” features more rock instruments than the previous songs and is quicker and bouncier than other songs and is one of my favorites from the album. Like rest of the songs of the album, “Sunlight” gives perfect justice to the genre of the band, Environmental rock. The outro of the song has beautiful guitar harmony added by Daniel Cavanagh which reminds of Coldplay’s Viva La Vida album.
Next song, “The Storm before the Calm” is different from rest of the songs heard on the album, both structure-wise and musically. The song has two sections. The first part has gloomy psychedelic effect which transcends one’s mind into a maelstrom with high pitch vocals. The second part of the song has more calmness than the first. The song has peaceful vocals and beautifully written lyrics. The guitars on the song are truly exceptional. One thing I like about the song is its title. It says a lot and describes so many real life situations.
My favorite from the album is “The Beginning and the End”. It starts off with a beautiful classical piano intro. The song touches heart when the drums enter the song creating a beautiful progression. Beautifully crafted vocals with a great emotional delivery are added by Vincent Cavanagh. After one stanza, guitars with a fine selection of tone join the song and take the song to a new level. The song has a melodic bridge which leads into a powerful guitar solo on an over-driven guitar. After the end of solo, the song ends with the grand piano as it had kicked off.
The last two songs, “The Lost Child” and “Internal Landscapes” are slower than the rest of the album and have a light psychedelic effect with them, perfect for someone who is high on weed. The songs don’t have much of guitars or drums and are mostly played on piano. “Internal Landscapes” features spoken dialogues with soft music played in background. These songs give more of a ‘closing in to death’ kind of an experience.
This album may not grab you in the same way that We’re Here Because We’re Here did, but these well-crafted, captivating sounds that emerge here are a brilliant evolution of Anathema’s repertoire. With gorgeous harmonies, captivating melodies and a stubborn, lingering sense of melancholy, this album will still have you feeling excited over Anathema regardless of what path they choose to follow. The orchestral ensemble in the songs builds up the ambient atmosphere and has a very appealing effect to its listeners. A must listen album.
Rating – 7/10