I'm really happy to present to you, Eternity, by Anathema. An album made in the nineties, it stands alone as one of a kind not only in the era but in music as a whole. Anathema have been changing their sound with each CD they make, and I love this about them. Although their ride was a lot less steep in incline in the early days, this piece of work is where they cleaned up their act, Vincent Cavanagh offering clean vocal deliveries for the first time.
An emotional backdrop is the entire curtain for this alum, as is all their others, and yet the beauty of crisp notation from Danny Cavanagh, brother to Vince, and long term band member, the duo are able to produce some creative and musical pyramids, in their own sense, as nothing ever could be done to even stand close, for their exact presence in the world.
Sentient begins the album, as a tearful introspection into what it is to be, as a conscious and aware entity with the ability to feel, think, have dreams, memories, and hopes. It's an instrumental track, only vocalised by the sounds of a soundbite of woe and a laughing baby, right at the end. Angelica begins to make the album work as the singing creates the layer that we all know makes this band as good as they are. A brief reference to antidepressants, and wistful lead guitars give rise to passions of sadness, which are therapeutic in the right doses.
As with most of their songs, the epicness of solos, melodic intervals, and vocal variations gives the album a quality we can explore, and this makes the music re-visitable, even after we have fallen in love, got a bit bored, and then realised it's still pretty good. The Beloved takes us into an earlier feel for a few moments, with acoustic guitars perhaps a reassurance of being on a new album. A song about rejection, heartlessness, and lack of empathy, we have all been there, it passes and yet this song is able to bottle the sensation nicely.
Of course the whole band have modelled themselves on a male feeling point of view, and these things do need to be explored. We could cringe at the idea of grown men making music about their emotions, but it's so much deeper than oh dear I seem to have scratched my Mercedes. The sounds, melodies, and vocal combination truly serve justice to the inner world and help it find its way out again.
Eternity part I and II make up a dual track combined into around six minutes. It summarises the loss of happiness, the realisation of some of the world's biggest darknesses, and the panic of self when presented with the inevitable death of the flesh. The severe rock and roll power of some of the crescendos with the first are worth the rest of the song, the drawn out nature and fairly event-less portions make sense when everything goes crazy. Where part I takes the heavy route, part II goes down stream on the back of a decaying autumn leaf. Both tracks seem driven by the bass and a desire to fill the sound with feeling. We're treated to the lapping waves until Hope, a cover track, but still made their own by the application of their personal sound. It happens to be my favourite, too. Not just of the album, or the band, but it'd be on my top ten of all time.
Suicide Veil is timed as a dirge, the lyrics of despair over shine the tone as an utter tragic piece of music, one for the goths, or perhaps to help us see what is going on when all else has faded and a person feels that even another chance is too much to bear. Sometimes we have to completely re-invent ourselves when the next step is impossible but required. Radiance brings us further into the darkness but the song carries a message with an illumine quality which helps us to drag ourselves from the pit they so gracefully plonked us in moments before. Realising that the company of people is the one things that can keep us from going under, it reminds us that perhaps when the time comes, phoning a friend is probably a good idea. If they don't want to know, then find someone who really is a friend.
The answer really is Love, as the kiss of a loved one and a trust of bonding is formed and the suffering singer is granted a 'sweet reprieve' Far Away once more drifts around the embers of sorry but again, once more, something is shining. This album is the ladder, the image of an angel touching the heart and pointing to the sky, a sign to the listeners to the direction of the music and that perhaps the climb will continue. This song, I think, is a reason why they made this choice. Wallowing in sadness is not a life choice I'd choose either. Maybe I am totally wrong, I don't really mind, it's also how I see it.
This is a really depressing album, I used to listen to it all the time, I had the top and wore I ironically to death. To me it served as a mirror to my insides, and a gateway to connect the outside to it, which I guess formed a bridge allowing the energy to flow. The little pearls of uplifting notion which litter the shadowland keep us well within the realms of comfort, just. Far Away just solidifies it for me, maybe a tinge of guilt towards what affect their music has had on certain individuals, who knows, but a line about alcoholism makes it even more human. Eternity part III and lunacy is only around the corner by this point in the CD, as we've been thrown into the heights of passion and into the depth of opening up, before the one who offered that kiss earlier.
As the energy is outputted and the story is told, as we hit Cries on the Wind, the music shifts gear and frequency bringing a dynamic intensity of euphoria albeit from the perspective of gloomy song. An admission of a sense of infinite life ends the track which lets the rolling drums of Ascension bring us into the new age of Anathema, an uplifting light literally sweeps us from the pit and lifts us high up, and lets us witness the repetitive cycles of sadness which have served only to train us, educate us, and prepare us for the destiny in the rest of our lives.
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