ANATHEMA – WEATHER SYSTEMS
Label: (Kscope, The End Records)
Release Date: April 16, 2012
There are certain bands that create music that can cut you up emotionally in ways you never dreamt of. And then there’s Anathema. Except they manage to break you down to the very last atom and more often than not leave you a shuddering wreck once they’re done. Right from their early doom/death years to the gut wrenching sweet sorrow of Judgement, A Natural Disaster, and their last excursion into otherworldly dreamscapes with We’re Here Because We’re Here, Anathema have been on a quest to transcend the confines of music as an art form.
Weather Systems is Anathema’s ninth studio album. Honestly, We’re Here Because We’re Here was indeed a flawless, life affirming comeback and a gold-plated contender for the album of the year. It took them seven years to complete and just like a certain bearded guy in the sky created the universe in seven days (allegedly), these mere mortals from Liverpool had managed to outdo him and then some, just like a bunch of buggers from the same city managed to upstage his son about 50 years ago.
Now after listening to Weather Systems, there just aren’t enough superlatives in the English language to express the breathtaking beauty contained within this record. Without question this might very well be Anathema’s second magnum opus after We’re Here Because We’re Here. A culmination of everything they ever were, are, and ever will be, filtered though a kaleidoscope of Floydian atmospherics and heart stopping melodies. Weather Systems was recorded in Liverpool, Wales and Oslo, each of the three places being of significant importance to the band.
While Anathema has built a reputation for releasing some of the gloomiest music in existence, there seemed to be a noticeable departure from that particular ethos on We’re Here Because We’re Here and after listening to Weather Systems, the beautiful journey continues. Although still draped in their trademark melancholy, there is an unfamiliar undercurrent of ‘optimism’ that seems to permeate right through the album. It’s almost as if they have finally achieved much more than what they set out to do and are headed straight for the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel and into the great beyond.
And then you look at the album cover and read the title again and it all makes sense.
There really isn’t much point in analyzing each song and picking them apart since that would be a gross injustice to something that should be absorbed heart and soul. But it just has to be said that the duo of “Untouchable, Part I” and “Untouchable, Part 2”, along with “The Gathering of the Clouds” and “Lightning Song”, are arguably some of Anathema’s finest ever moments and definitely some of the most stunning pieces of music I’ve ever been privy to.
This album may not grab you in the same way that We’re Here Because We’re Here did, but these well-crafted, captivating sounds that emerge here are a brilliant evolution of Anathema’s repertoire. With gorgeous harmonies, captivating melodies and a stubborn, lingering sense of melancholy, this album will still have you feeling excited over Anathema regardless of what path they choose to follow.
I can’t recommend this album highly enough and even after many years I’m sure we’ll discover it just does not, and will not, wilt. Absolutely steeped in conviction and zero pretense, this is the complete antithesis to the soulless music that pollutes most of our airwaves. Anathema have their collective finger on the pulse of the universe, so do yourself a favor and turn it on, tune in and drop out.