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Anathema - Serenades CD (album) cover




Experimental/Post Metal

2.34 | 199 ratings

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2 stars Serenades is Anathemaīs debut album and one of the classic albums in early doom/ death metal. I was very much into this genre in the early nineties and I have lots of albums in this style on my shelf.

The music is slow and occasionally mid paced doom death metal with just enough variation to keep it interesting. Some songs are more exciting than others though. The more trivial doom death tracks like They (Will Always) Die, Sleep of Sanity and Under a Veil (Of Black Lace) are not that exciting to me. They ( Will Always) Die is also featured on Anathemaīs debut EP The Crestfallen but here it is re- recorded in a better and updated version. Under a Veil ( of Black Lace) and especially Sleep of Sanity reminds me of My Dying Brideīs debut album As the Flower Withers but they are not nearly as good as the songs on that album.

Serenades starts out pretty strong though with Lovelorn Rhapsody which is pretty good doom death IMO and with the video song Sweet Tears which might be the best song here. I remember seeing this video on Headbangers Ball and thinking that I had to have this album. Itīs a pretty seventies inspired doom death song really, note the slide riff which is pretty cool IMO.

J'Ai Fait une Promesse is a very strong female led ballad. Itīs a very pretty song and Ruth who is credited for the vocals is a very good vocalist. Note the beautiful vocal harmonies in the song.

Sleepless is another favorite of mine from this album and together with Sweet Tears it represents Anathema the best I think. It has got an eighties gothic feel to it, like a Sisters of Mercy or The Mission song. Scars of the Old Stream and Where Shadows Dance are short instrumental pieces nothing to get excited about really.

On the version here in the archieves The Crestfallen EP ( minus They( Will Always) Die is added to the playlist, but my version doesnīt include these tracks. Instead there is a 23+ minute long ambient song called Dreaming ( the Romance) as the final song ( number 10). This song consist solely of long melodic keyboard notes played in layers. Nothing that excitet me back then and today I find it even more trivial.

The sound quality is pretty good for the time. A time where that was not the order of the day.

The musicians are questionable at best. Especially the drummer is really untight and lead singer Darren White is really a bad growler and an even worse singer. The level of musicianship is not why you should buy this album.

Itīs really hard to evaluate an album that I personally feel had some historical significance on the doom/ death scene on a prog rock site. IMO this deserves 3 stars, but on the other hand there are many trivial songs on this album and what is even worse they happen to be the longest ones. The prog relevance is also very small, and the reason Anathema is in the prog archieves at all is for their later more post rock releases. Iīll rate this 2 stars as it is only for the fans but it could have been a 3 in another forum.

Related listening:

My Dying Bride: As the Flower Withers, The trash of Naked Limbs Paradise Lost: Lost Paradise, Gothic Cathedral: Forest of Equilibrium, Soul Sacrifice EP Enchantment: Dance the Marble Naked Katatonia: Dance of December Souls, Brave Murder Day

UMUR | 2/5 |


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