Sea Of Tranquility

The Web Source for Progressive Rock, Progressive Metal & Jazz-Fusion
  Search   in       
Main Menu

Anathema: Weather Systems

I must confess that I was apprehensive to hear Weather Systems. Considering the magnificence of Anathema's last studio album, We're Here Because We're Here, as well as last year's collection of marvelously reworked material, Falling Deeper, it seemed impossible for Anathema to outdo itself. Oh, how wrong I was. Not only does Weather Systems exponentially enhance every element that made the previous two albums so special, but it rises to another level entirely. It captures our rawest emotions, our greatest fears, and our most sacred hopes and channels them into melodies, harmonies, lyrics, orchestration, performances, and arrangements that are unsurpassed in modern music. Its poignancy, honesty, fragility, and beauty are overwhelming, and the way it flows like one affective journey is incredible. It's a one-of-a-kind experience that can change lives.

Lyrically, musically, and even visually, Weather Systems feels like the next chapter in the thematic saga that Anathema began with We're Here Because We're Here and continued with Falling Deeper. Similar topics (death, love, loss, dreams, togetherness, etc) are explored, and the same sort of introspective writing and heavenly production is present. Naturally, as many of the titles relate to weather, Weather Systems is also full of symbolism and metaphors, which greatly increase the work's impact and help it feel like singular statement.

Of the album, main songwriter Daniel Cavanagh is spot on when he proclaims, "Everything from the production to the writing to the performances are a step up from our last album…This is not background music for parties. The music is written to deeply move the listener, to uplift or take the listener to the coldest depths of the soul." The first time I heard this album, I was driving on an empty highway after midnight, alone with my thoughts. Weather Systems provided the perfect soundtrack; in fact, I've never had such a visceral reaction to music before. My jaw dropped and my breath shortened several times as I listened, and by the end, I was exhausted. I've never heard such complex and intangible sentiments expressed with such precision and grace. I'm not ashamed to admit that Weather Systems is the only album that's ever brought me to tears.

The genius of Weather Systems is revealed when listened to all at once; the songs act as complements to an overall grand vision (rather than as separate ideas), demonstrating Anathema's ambition to craft a profound masterwork. Just about every track features several vocal sections and stunning orchestration, and they never fail to overlap into angelic serenity. From the gripping arpeggios of "Untouchable Part I" to the reprised melodies of "Untouchable Part 2," from the intricate harmonies of "The Gathering of the Clouds" (which, in a brilliant display of conceptual cohesion, features the sole female member, Lee Douglas, announcing, "But we're here because we're here") to the elegant "Lightning Song," and from the majestic optimism of "Sunlight" to the enthralling, multilayered vocals that conclude "The Storm Before the Calm," this album radiates luscious sounds and haunting words. Lead singer Vincent Cavanagh has never sounded as impassioned as he does on"The Beginning and the End, " and the way the orchestrated strings match the singing on "The Lost Child" is utterly superb.

Weather Systems concluding song, "Internal Landscapes," simultaneously represents uplifting closure and unflinching heartache. Much like "Presence" on We're Here Because We're Here, this song combines spoken passages (this time about a man's journey into the afterlife) and musical retrospect. Together, Cavanagh and Lee consider all that the situation implies before reaching a final consensus. The way they sing lyrics like "Goodbye, my friend. Life will never end. And I feel you…For I was always there. I will always be there" with such delicate power is wonderful. Simply put, every note, word, and timbre of Weather Systems should be treasured.

As a music journalist, it's often too easy to write with superlatives and unrestricted enthusiasm; however, there isn't an ounce of hesitation or hyperbole in declaring Weather Systems the most beautiful, meaningful, and emotionally piercing record I've ever heard. I've listened to it dozens of times, and its power has yet to diminish. Beyond appealing to lovers of exceptional music, the album provides solace and guidance for the broken-hearted and spiritually resilient. Weather Systems transcends the boundaries of its form by capturing the essence of humanity. I cannot emphasize enough just how special and important this record is. It's nothing less of a precious work of art, and it's guaranteed to dominate many "Best Of" lists at the end of the year.

Track Listing
1. Untouchable Part 1
2. Untouchable Part 2
3. The Gathering Of The Clouds
4. Lightning Song
5. Sunlight
6. The Storm Before The Calm
7. The Beginning And The End
8. The Lost Child
9. Internal Landscapes

Added: May 2nd 2012
Reviewer: Jordan Blum
Related Link: Band Website
Hits: 5131
Language: english

[ Printer Friendly Page Printer Friendly Page ]
[ Send to a Friend Send to a Friend ]


[ Back to the Reviews Index | Post Comment ]

© 2004 Sea Of Tranquility
For information regarding where to send CD promos and advertising, please see our FAQ page.
If you have questions or comments, please Contact Us.
Please see our Policies Page for Site Usage, Privacy, and Copyright Policies.

All logos and trademarks in this site are property of their respective owner. The comments are property of their posters, all other content © Sea of Tranquility

SoT is Hosted by