Reviewed By Rahul Menon
Beauty in Simplicity
British progressive rock legends Anathema are back with their 10th album titled Distant Satellites, which sees the band pushing their boundaries once again, but at the same time, stripping down to the basics. Their previous releases have indicated that the band’s sound is always evolving - from the doom filled albums at the start of their career, to a more progressive sound, with dense layers and complex structures. However, in this new one, Anathema go with the motto that there is beauty in simplicity.
The album starts with with the orchestral "The Lost Song Part 1". The vocals are, as expected, fabulous. The vocals of Vincent and Daniel Cavanagh, along with the beautiful vocals of Lee Douglas, are really spectacular. The magic definitely lies in the lyrics and the way these singers put the emotion in it and deliver it is really amazing. I've always enjoyed the vocals of Anathema, and right from the very first track the beauty is evident. The guitars and piano bring in such an intense emotion to the tracks, all the tracks.
Let's make this clear - Anathema is a band that can make the baddest of men weep like a little girl - there's nothing wrong with that! The music is undeniably moving, and the band pushes the emotion button in your body perfectly. The second track on the album, "The Lost Song Part 2", is a good example of that. Lee Douglas shines on this track with her fantastic vocal lines, and it will make you want to curl into a ball. The synth/orchestral arrangements are just so intense. "The Lost Song Part 3" has some groovy drumming and deep haunting vocals - this track makes you think, you just find yourself wondering about things, and the lyrics truly just speak to you.
What's great about this album is how well it flows from one track to the next and how every track has one stand out moment, a moment that makes you want to go back to the track and have it on repeat. The replay value of the tracks is really high. Coming to the lyrical element - it is on the depressing side, but also provides that sense of upliftment, a feeling that you're not alone, and fittingly there's a great track named "You're Not Alone".
"Ariel" and "Anathema" are probably my favourite tracks on the album. Trust me when I say this, you will not know what hit you when you are done with this track. I may be talking a little too much about the emotional aspect of the album, but what else do you expect me to say when that is what this whole album is about. The track "Anathema" in particular - after those incredible vocals, there's an orchestral arrangement with guitar solo that hits you - be ready to wipe away a few tears.
Following this, you see a different side of Anathema. Electronics comes into play quite a bit and it actually sounds really cool. I'll be honest and say that I am not the biggest fan of this direction - but it sure does provide a whole new angle to approach this music and it makes the album a lot of fun - let loose and rock out. The title track "Distant Satellites" is quite a good track though, I did enjoy it very much.
Over all, this is a great album, and a must have for Anathema fans, and this album will be a great entry point for new fans too. The song writing is simple but boundaries are pushed and the musicianship is top notch.