Anathema - A Natural Disaster
Let me preface this by saying that I have never heard of this band before. With that said, I’ll begin with my initial thoughts and reaction of the CD cover and booklet. The cover shows a man in a small fishing boat sitting in what looks to be a lake that is basically no more. He sits in the remaining puddle and you can see well beyond him at the muddy terrain. The sky is red and overcast as the sun peaks through and glistens over the semi-wet terrain. It’s a neat cover indeed and sets a calm mood for me. Inside the booklet are some interesting pictures. The first of which seems to be a homeless man sitting on a sidewalk slouched against a brick wall. It’s a city setting and the left half of the picture is blurred. If you look closely you can see wing, possibly angel wings. The next picture is a deformed alien looking being. In the middle of the booklet is where the lyrics are. They span 2 pages and use very little punctuation. It’s almost one huge run on sentence and it’s a complete cluster fuck. Very difficult to read and you cannot simply find where one song starts and the other ends. The remainder of the inside of the booklet has a couple more pictures, nothing terribly important. The back has general information. Before I begin the breakdown of each song, let me introduce the band members: Vincent does vocals and guitar, Jamie plays bass and does programming, John plays the drums, Les does programming and keys, and Danny does guitars keys, and vocals (no last names listed). Shall we begin?
1. Harmonium: This opening track begins slow and soft. Vocals emit softly and the general tone of the song is set. The lead singer seems to have a decent voice and creates a nice harmonic bridge with the instrumentals. About half way into the song it erupts and becomes more Rock. The sound is crisp and clean and it makes for an enjoyable song.
2. Balance: A soothing song, I must say. It begins with a slightly distorted piano playing as drums slowly fade in. The beat of the drums is the kind that you tap your foot to at a steady pace. The song eventually makes its way to a slightly harder version of itself and continues out that way. The vocals are decently done again. The singer seems to like vocal effects and use some interesting ones at that. Good use of voice fades, both in and out. I was reading the lyrics as they were sung and noticed an annoying mistake. “Glad your awake” is how the song begins and how the lyrics are written… ‘You’re’ would be the correct use in this situation. You are. ‘Your’ is possessive. I hate when people misuse these two and even more annoying is when they misuse them repeatedly. Sorry, I’m ranting.
3. Closer: This is a boring track. The entire song carries the same tune with only a couple of tempo changes. The vocals are heavily distorted with harmonics and almost non-understandable. Granted, the only lyrics in this song are “Your dream world is a very scary place.” Sounds and looks to me like they put this song together in a matter of minutes. A child could have done better.
4. Are You There?: This song damn near put me to sleep and it sure had me yawning. A slow and boring track. The lyrics were good, though, and the vocalist’s voice is soothing and clean. He has a good voice; he just needs to stay away from those dumb ass harmonics he seems to enjoy so much.
5. Childhood Dream: Creepy. The entire song is purely instrumental. A deep bass note remains constant through out the duration of the song while the guitarist picks away at his strings. On top of that, and this is the creepy part, are sounds of a baby mumbling and making nonsensical sounds. Odd song.
6. Pulled Under At 2000 Metres A Second: The instrumentals in this song are great. A more upbeat rock tune ensues after a ghostly voice speaks out a few lyrics. The lyrics then become horrendous. It sounds as though the vocalist was out of tune for the remainder of the song. Every now and then he found his way back into a senseable tune, but not for the most part.
7. A Natural Disaster: A slight twist. The lyrics of this song are sung by a female. She has a very pretty voice and nice range. The song was slow paced but soothing. I think they should drop the lead singer for this girl.
8. Flying: More boring shit. I’ve found that the vocalist has limited range. When he attempts to sing with his soul, he sucks. He’s very shaky, in and out of tune a lot. I’d love to hear the female vocalist from the last track re-sing this entire album, I’m sure I would enjoy so much better. My ears would definitely thank her for it. The instrumentals were nothing special, rather boring, and left me hoping for song’s end.
9. Electricity: Yet again, boring. The song is driven by a piano tune and the vocalist babbles predictable lyrics. This song sucks and that’s as far as I will speak on it.
10. Violence: 10:45 is the length. No vocals, just a couple of ensembles consisting of piano, guitars, and drums. I wasn’t looking forward to listening to this entire track but it turned out to sound pretty good. Probably because I didn’t have to hear the singer sing anymore. The piano at the end almost put me to sleep again though.
This album tried its hand at putting me to sleep and almost did, but alas I kept my eyes open. The majority of the album is slow paced and soothing, but indeed boring also. Very few tracks held my interest and even less were sung well by the lead vocalist. I still stand, very firmly, behind my statement that this album would benefit significantly from the removal of the lead singer and the institution of the female singer, Lee Douglas, who sung the song “A Natural Disaster” off of this album. She has a wonderful voice and better range, by far. On a scale of 1 - 10 I would plot this CD right at a 4, and it only made a solid 4 because of some interesting style. Actually, for most of the album their style seemed like a knock-off of Cold Play, and a bad job of mimicking at that. For further information on this band, check out: www.Anathema.ws.
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