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Anathema - Weather Systems CD (album) cover




Experimental/Post Metal

4.02 | 860 ratings

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Second Life Syndrome
Prog Reviewer
5 stars I wanted to find something wrong with this album. I really did. There is something about Anathema that has always revolted me, but I'm not sure what that is. Perhaps it is the fact that I've heard them described as a cross between Tool and Porcupine Tree---I'm not a fan of Tool, and I haven't heard much from Porcupine Tree. Whatever the reason, I really did not want to like this album. I bought it because it was on sale, and I wanted to disprove the notion that this album, "Weather Systems", could be one of the best of 2012. Color me surprised.

This album blew my expectations away more than I could ever have anticipated. I tend to like prog metal/ heavy prog more than symphonic prog, but I have been dabbling in the softer stuff lately. With this album, Anathema has blown the door wide open for me---I want to dabble in symphonic prog ever further!

Yet, what is it about "Weather Systems" that completely floored me? This album is beautiful. That is it. I couldn't get past the sheer beauty of the complex melodies, the tragic beauty of the theme, or the raw beauty of the vocals. Everything is so vulnerable, emotional, and epic. By "epic", I don't want to bring to mind clashing armies or anything. By "epic", I want to paint a picture of reaching new heights---heavenly ones, even---and tragic lows. This album has them both, and they struck a chord in my very soul. When I hear this album, I can't help but close my eyes and soak in the glory.

Track List:

1. "Unbreakable, Pt. 1" - I am a sucker for multi-part songs, and this song delivers with a strong, inherent melody throughout the track. The simple love portrayed here is quite breath-taking.

2. "Unbreakable, Pt. 2" - I think this song is the reason I bought the album. The amazing vocals at the beginning on this track really sold me.

3. "The Gathering of the Clouds" - At this point, the ominous feelings begin. There is something on the horizon, and this track presents this with an almost strained vocal technique. The vocalists spar with fantastic heights to their music, and also with a sense of sadness.

4. "Lightning Song" - This is a strangely named track, but a gorgeous one at that. The female vocalist does a great job holding many notes while being backed by some amazing orchestration. Yet, the end is the best past---simply grand.

5. "Sunlight" - This song took several listens for me to appreciate. It is not weak by any standard, but the structure is a little strange.

6. "The Storm Before the Calm" - This song was my favorite from my first listen. It is more of an instrumental piece, though the vocalists are present throughout the track. The ominous feelings go to new heights here---something is coming.

7. "The Beginning and the End" - This is an incredibly beautiful song. The piano and the tender vocals gain more and more energy until the last half of the song. They then explode in a beautiful confusion, and then they recede.

8. "The Lost Child" - This is quickly becoming my new favorite after about 8 or so listens to the album. This song is the definition of tender. The piano is very slight, the vocals are raw, and theme is heart-breaking.

9. "Internal Landscapes" - There is much that can be said about this track. The interview of a man that had a near-death experience is very touching and thought-provoking, while a sense of heaven and peace pervades every second.

So, after listening to the album, I immediately thought that I had accomplished my mission-- -I didn't like it. It was too slow, repetitive, and artsy. But I had to hear it again. And again. Soon, those complaints vanished, and I came to an understanding of the genius in the album. Now, even the title of album, "Weather Systems", seems like a work of art. Every single track on this album is strong, and they all play off of each other. This album is essential in every way. This might not end as album of the year for me, but it may end up being the most memorable new album experience in 2012.

Second Life Syndrome | 5/5 |


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