Anathema - A Fine Day To Exit
Music For Nations
Atmospheric Rock
9 songs (62'33")
Release year: 2001
Anathema, Music For Nations
Reviewed by Alex

I want to be absolutely up front about this and say that the contents of this review have nothing to do with the fact my other review for this week was a blistering album by The Forsaken. I also want to be up front and say I am not getting back at Anathema for saying “we are not considering ourselves a Metal band anymore”. Yes, listening and reviewing this album took something extra. It took me an effort to transcend the styles and try to comprehend something I normally don’t listen to very often. However, some of the readers who come to this site often may remember that a few weeks ago I allowed myself to review Winds. By virtue of doing that, I believe I qualify to spot a good atmospheric album when I see/hear one. With A Fine Day To Exit the problem is it isn’t that good.

Had I approached this album from the standpoint of how a legend of doomdeath genre turned the tables I would be totally off base. Instead, while listening to A Fine Day To Exit I have been mulling one question constantly. “Has This Band, regardless of the name and prior history, succeeded at what they attempted?” Undoubtedly, they want to project the feelings of dejectedness and utter melancholy. And here let me jab Anathema in the ribs. They failed to do that for me.

The first two tracks, Pressure and Release, are actually pretty good. Ready for multiple radio-plays both start softly with piano or acoustic guitar, respectively. Release has some layered vocals and electronic twists to it, but both songs pick up steam as they unfold. Bass lines become more prominent, and Pressure even has some buried guitar leads if you want to listen really hard. Release switches to an interesting progressive drum beat midway through the song, and ends with the “blaring siren” sound. The only other cut I mildly liked was Leave No Trace. Panic is an attempt to break the monotony, but the sound of it is kind of childish.

So, what about the rest? In one word – BORING. When I feel melancholic depending on what I am supposed to do next I will reach for a particular CD. If I need a quick picker-upper some death metal would probably play. If I can afford to relax and wallow in my misery a little bit I will play some modern day Katatonia, Yearning or, you guessed it, Winds. Music found in A Fine Day To Exit simply gets on my nerves, and I can’t wait for it to be over. This, in no way, is good for my relaxation. Anathema’s melancholy reminds me a lot of the emotions expressed on a few MTV Unplugged shows I was able to stomach. This does not move me one bit. Whenever Anathema switches to more “energetic” parts, they drone with the same never-ending monotony of a cleric preaching to the half-asleep crowd.

Since lyrics and cover art are all part of the album package, I have to give it to Anathema that those aspects are excellent. The lyrics are profound, but so were Katatonia’s and English is not even their native language. The front cover just leaves you guessing whether the “driver” drowned or simply left for a walk on the deserted beach while missing a call on his cell phone. It jives so well with the album title. Still, it is sad that cover art is one of the best parts of the album.

In the end, let me stress that I simply tried to express my personal feelings without jumping on a bandwagon of Anathema former fans turned haters because of the style switch. To the band, I am sorry my review of the album is definitely not praising. I am not sure with the line-up changes there will even be a next studio album, but I hope you are capable of so much more.

Killing Songs :
Pressure, Release, Leave No Trace
Alex quoted 52 / 100
Other albums by Anathema that we have reviewed:
Anathema - Judgement reviewed by Milan and quoted 90 / 100
Anathema - Weather Systems reviewed by Leah and quoted 90 / 100
Anathema - We're Here Because We're Here reviewed by Goat and quoted 91 / 100
Anathema - A Natural Disaster reviewed by Jack and quoted 65 / 100
Anathema - Resonance reviewed by Sin and quoted no quote
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