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Anathema: Falling Deeper

Following 2008's amazing Hindsight, Anathema have released their second compilation album, only this time focusing on their earliest material from their icy doom metal period. Whilst Hindsight involved songs from Eternity onwards, covering everything up to A Natural Disaster, Falling Deeper features interpretations of their doom era, especially their EPs, Crestfallen and Pentecost III, as well as their seminal full-length album, Serenades.

Their transition album, The Silent Enigma, a great piece of work in its own right, is unfortunately represented with a single tune, "...Alone." However, unlike the original track, which clocks in at a little over four minutes, this one is stretched into well over seven minutes. Cavanagh brothers' sparsely plucked acoustic guitars are set against a discreet keyboard backdrop building patiently towards its apex with sweet female vocals and an orchestral arrangement. Speaking of female vocals, Daniel Cavanagh's long-time partner Anneke van Giersbergen lends her distinct voice to the hauntingly beautiful "Everwake." Her lambent voice is the main melodic tool in the composition and culminates with a stunning finale (check out Danny Cavanagh on Anneke's Pure Air album if you want to hear her in a more vocal-based tune with fantastic acoustic guitars). On the other pieces, melodies are developed in a landscape of acoustic guitars and subdued percussion, all foiled by evocative melodies and subtle themes thanks to what the band calls their lead 'feedback' guitars.

Most of the songs are instrumental with vocal lines weaving in and out briefly during crucial moments. The songs rely on extended piano themes supported by orchestral string arrangements and plenty of acoustic guitars. The band's two doom masterpieces, "Crestfallen" and "Sleep in Sanity," are shortened to three-minute songs, and, therefore, lose some of their magic. It is understandable, though, as it is impossible to effectively transform doom into atmospheric rock. That said, those who have never heard Anathema's earlier material will definitely enjoy the 'new' versions for the strings and vocal harmonies. They sound like totally different pieces in their new format.

While solid in its own way, Falling Deeper does not achieve the same level of brilliance of Hindsight, which actually saw the band change and add melodies and instrumentation to the original pieces without taking away their most immediate aspects. Falling Deeper remains true to the original cuts, but because they are informed by slow, heavily crushing doom passages, those parts have either been cut out or replaced by smooth orchestral sections, which has somewhat detracted from their overall quality. Still, this album is by no means a disappointment and should please the band's fans, especially those who have enjoyed their last set of releases.

The production is marvellous, by the way.

Track Listing

  1. Crestfallen - 3:07 (From EP Crestfallen)
  2. Sleep in Sanity - 3:54 (From album Serenades)
  3. Kingdom - 4:28 (From EP Pentecost III)
  4. They Die - 2:11 (From EP Crestfallen)
  5. Everwake - 3:09 (From EP Crestfallen)
  6. J'ai Fait Une Promesse ("I Made a Promise") - 4:24 (From Serenades)
  7. ... Alone - 7:17 (From album The Silent Enigma)
  8. We, the Gods - 3:03 (From EP Pentecost III)
  9. Sunset of Age - 7:41 (From album The Silent Enigma)

Added: September 26th 2011
Reviewer: Murat Batmaz
Score:
Related Link: Anathema website
Hits: 3356
Language: english

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» SoT Staff Roundtable Reviews:

Anathema: Falling Deeper
Posted by Jordan Blum, SoT Staff Writer on 2011-09-26 19:01:53
My Score:

Anathema crafted a heavenly masterpiece with last year's We're Here Because We're Here. Full of lush melodies, angelic harmonies, poignant lyrics, and beautiful music, the album is just about perfect. The group's newest release, Falling Deeper, continues the exquisite brilliance of its predecessor. Although the record is majorly an instrumental collection, it acts as a blissful complement to Anathema's finest achievement.

Spiritually, Falling Deeper is a follow-up to 2008's Hindsight. In essence, the group has reworked some of their earliest material (pre Eternity) to fit in with their newer sound. One of the most remarkable traits of Anathema is how its music has evolved with nearly every album; they began in the mid 1990s as a doom metal band (including growls) and have since transformed into a majestic progressive/pop/rock act. As wonderful as Falling Deeper is on its own, the real joy comes with comparing these remakes to their wholly different originals and appreciating how much Anathema's sound has changed.

Because the album shares the same basic aesthetic throughout, it flows like one 38 minute piece (rather than a series of individual tracks). Throughout the record, mournful piano melts with sorrowful guitars while an abundance of strings invoke even more painful emotions. Basically, the entire album is arranged like a more somber and quiet version of the end crescendo of "Universal" from We're Here Because We're Here. If ever there was an album made for reflecting on all the things we've lost in our lives, this is it.

While the star of Falling Deeper is the music, some tracks still feature exquisite vocals. The first three tracks on Falling Deeper allow frontman Vincent Cavanagh's voice to cover the music like a magnificent blanket of grief. On "Everwake" and "Alone," Anneke van Giersbergen (who's also worked with The Gathering, Devin Townsend, and Ayreon) continues to show why she's one of the genre's most adored female singers. Finally, Cavanagh returns for the album's most direct melody on "Sunset of Age." This track closes the album with great intensity and introspection.

Falling Deeper, like its predecessor, is much more than just the synthesis of notes, timbres, and voices; it's a life-changing experience. While it's a bit disappointing that Cavanagh does sing more often (since his voice is as affective as any other element), his contributions are still pivotal to the overall power of the music. This album is a perfect companion piece to We're Here Because We're Here, and collectively, with these two releases, Anathema have crafted some of the most beautiful and touching music I've ever heard. Best of all, all signs indicate that for Anathema, this is just the beginning of a breathtaking new chapter (and sound) in its career.



» Reader Comments:

Anathema: Falling Deeper
Posted by ana on 2011-10-31 10:56:15
My Score:

Sunset of Age

I want a cigarette. wait...just wait a second. I can't move. it's so difficult.this is out of this world! the guitar solo I mean. and vincent's voice before the solo.it hurts me, but I don't mind.wait.....what is it that it hurts me? hmmm...it's a feeling I can't describe, yet it seems familiar.. such strong emotions
this song clearly has the most amazing effect on me.
ecstasy of gold? nope ecstasy of anathema. religious ecstasy? nope. everything around me disappears,
and this is all that remains.felt this before but never in in a conscious state . time stops, nothing is of bigger importance than this.
can barely move afterwards or in between. life has a different meaning.everything is clearer now.and this happens everytime I listen to this, it transports me to a differnet dimension where sound is everything, sound is emotion, and they took this to a differnt level.nothing I have ever heard in my life before made me feel like this. I objectively can say that there are some better songs than this in the history of music, but none of them managed to get close to this one...well for me. i'm not religious, but if there would be a heaven, this is how I would like it to sound: melancholic, sentimental, yet full of optimism and joy of being alive today.
euphoria? nope, this is more than that, is ecstasy. everytime I listen to this I get this unbelievable feeling, I thought I would get used to it, and the strong emotions I felt first time would slowly become less amazing, but no...it's the same feeling everytime. so now I listen to this weekly , in one day that i call "my day". I know that nobody can take this from me, this imense pleasure, so strong and exciting it gives me boost for an entire week. it's medicine for your brain and feelings. it's timeless. and the guitar solo at the end...really introduces me into a transe .I've been like this for two hours now, can't manage to think about anything else than this amazing sound. I hope you all realise than your thoughts are not
arranged in phrases when you think for yourself- this is why I didn't make phrases at the begining of this review, I wanted it to be as realistic as it could be. this is how I feel and I continue to be mesmerized by this amazing song. Music IS my best friend. Thank you Anathema for making me feel like this




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