Anathema - Weather Systems
9 songs (55:00)
Release year: 2012
Anathema, Kscope
Reviewed by Leah

“And I feel like I knew you before/And I guess that you can hear me through this song”

Anathema’s latest release, Weather Systems, begins with those words against a backdrop of soft and busy acoustic guitar riffs. The lyrics sum up the music of the English group well, as their albums all retain the same undeniably unique sound, even through the band’s shift from Doom Metal to a more genre-defying kind of music.

After they formed in 1990, Anathema’s first couple demos were strictly Doom Metal and they toured with heavier Metal bands, among them the infamous Cannibal Corpse. Their third studio album, Eternity, was released in 1996 and began the transition to a clean vocal style, which they have kept ever since.

Weather Systems is ambiguous, bringing different feelings to life for different people. It is music for the dreamer, for the hopeful and for the person who sees beauty in every part of life. Contrarily, it is also music for the introvert and the melancholy soul. It is an auditory representation of inner sensations, and each song’s title invokes an idea that Anathema completely runs with.

The first couple songs are called Untouchable, Part 1 and Part 2. These first songs introduce the idea of polarity that sometimes encompasses our lives; stillness and chaos, light and dark. Beginning the theme of the album, the guitars and calm vocals can easily make you imagine the sun on your face, a warm breeze on your cheek and the smell of grass. Untouchable, Part 1 is carefree and positive, with a message about being at peace after a loss and about moving on.

Untouchable, Part 2 is the somber and melancholy counterpart to the first song, and a piano takes precedence over the guitar. Some of the lyrics from Part 1 are echoed in Part 2, a nice touch that shows another side to the feelings expressed in both songs.

The third track is aptly titled The Gathering of the Clouds and it’s hard not to imagine it when listening to the opening sounds of wind and distant thunder. Throbbing acoustic guitars and piano add an anxious mood to the entire song. Verses are sung against echoing words that add just enough anticipation to the song to keep the right atmosphere. The last line echoes . . .

“Let life reveal what I feel, what I feel, what I feel”

. . . and the next song begins, Lightning Song. This song isn’t as much about severity as about beauty. The simplicity and soothing qualities of Lee Douglas’ vocals are a perfect fit to this song, that begs anyone listening to see the beauty of the world.

“This world is wonderful/So beautiful/If only you can open up your mind and see”

Lightning Song gives way to Sunlight, which is the hopeful declaration that the first half of the album has been building up to. The song itself is a build up, starting calm and steady and working its way up to loud guitars and thunderous drumming.

The song that begins next has an eerie, repetitive chorus and a single note being strummed again and again on the guitar, through varying degrees of emphasis. Immediately, The Storm before the Calm is a serious, unprovoked downturn into that frightening moment before a terrible storm where the sunlight vanishes and “it’s getting colder.” In the middle of the song, instruments mimic unsettling sounds and a rising and falling drone that can only be a reference the whistling of a strong wind. The cacophony dies to a silence punctuated by single chords that lead into the second part of the nine-minute song; an emotional, drawn-out calm that stretches until the end of the song, led by Vincent Cavanagh’s vocals.

The next couple songs are what Anathema does best. Soulful guitar solos and emotionally raw vocals dominate The Beginning of the End, while The Lost Child features soft piano and a more somber vocal performance by Vincent.

Internal Landscapes is the final song on the album, and it begins with a man telling a story about his near death experience. It’s a beautiful recollection and the following music takes that feeling and runs with it. Vincent and Lee sing together on the track, alternating verses. The man continues his story at the end of the track, speaking about how in that moment he felt was peace, love and brightness, and that he’d always been a part of that. Anathema makes the listener feel that, through the 55 minutes of the entire album, they’ve been a part of it too.

Anathema’s Weather Systems is a great album for any long-time fan, and anyone that wishes to broaden their musical tastes. Everything from the instrumentals, to the vocal ranges, to the lyrics is minimalistic and stunning to the point of perfection. Weather Systems is something everyone can relate to, mainly because it amplifies the feelings that every person has at some point in their life.

Killing Songs :
Untouchable, Part 1, The Gathering of the Clouds
Leah quoted 90 / 100
Other albums by Anathema that we have reviewed:
Anathema - Judgement reviewed by Milan 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 - A Fine Day To Exit reviewed by Alex and quoted 52 / 100
Anathema - Resonance reviewed by Sin and quoted no quote
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