sunnuntai 19. heinäkuuta 2015

Anathema Discography: #5 Eternity (1996)

"Trapped in time
A mirage of hope and change
A swirling mass, no mercy now
If the truth hurts prepare for pain"

Anathema's third full-length album was their first not to include growls or death metal elements. Instead, the album focuses more on atmosphere enhanced with keyboards and acoustic elements, although the guitars are still heavy.

"Sentient" is a beautiful piano-driven intro for the album before the fan-favorite "Angelica" gets the album started for real. The song itself is great, but the guitars sound unnecessarily heavy and right from the start it's clear that Vincent Cavanagh's singing is very shaky compared to his screams on The Silent Enigma (1995). "The Beloved" is an atypically upbeat Anathema song with a little bit of double-bass drumming, but doesn't offer anything special. "Eternity Part I" starts a trilogy by Duncan Patterson that asks the listener whether they believe in forever. It's also fast-paced, but instead of sounding metallic it reminds me of the post-punk vibe of "Sleepless" from the first album. "Eternity Part II" is an ambient instrumental anchored by Patterson's bass playing that works as a break from the fast tempos. It's followed by a cover of Roy Harper's "Hope", which works surprisingly well as part of the album.

"Suicide Veil" is the doomiest song on the album and contains Vincent's strongest vocal performance and a beautiful acoustic outro. "Radiation" feels like a filler despite the pretty female vocals, but "Far Away" raises the bar again, including clean guitar arpeggios and thought-provoking lyrics: "Sometimes I feel myself going under / Sometimes I envy the dead". "Eternity Part III" closes the trilogy and is clearly the best song on the album, full of great melodies and culminating in a powerful climax. The album could've ended here, because while "Cries on the Wind" has a cool bassline and a Pink Floyd vibe that I enjoy, it's not a song I find myself listening to very often. "Ascension" is an instrumental ending, but doesn't come close to "Black Orchid" from last album and has a slightly cheesy power metal vibe.

The reissue contains acoustic versions of "Far Away" and "Eternity Part III", which add great value, as they are the best songs on the album and the stripped-down approach suits them better than the layered production and heavy guitars of the album versions. The live version of "Angelica", on the other hand, sounds like a crappy bootleg and it puzzles me why the record label would allow such a recording to be released.

Eternity is the sound of a band in a transitional phase and feels like a stepping stone in between two great albums: some of Duncan Patterson's contributions are among the best Anathema songs ever, but a lot of the tunes are rather forgettable. Both the album's production and the vocals sound unrefined, the heavy arrangements don't do the songs justice and some of the keyboard sounds are quite dated. On the other hand, going from The Silent Enigma straight to Alternative 4 (1998) would've been impossible and would probably have been too drastic of a change for the fans at the time, so Eternity's place in the Anathema discography is justified, even though it's the band's weakest full-length album to date.

Rating: 3/5

Ei kommentteja:

Lähetä kommentti