We at Contact Towers were going to start this review with something hackneyed like "Bands like these.." but then we thought better of it. Bands like what? Skinny jeaned garage kids? Twinkly-eyed synth poppers? Ultimately, bands in general don't set out to be similar, to be easily codified, they just start making music to see what happens. You've probably either not heard of Anathema, or have every lyric they've ever written tattooed somewhere on your body; their music gets to people like that. Virtually anonymous in Britain, they probably couldn't get arrested in their home city of Liverpool. In all likelihood, they probably struggle to get arrested in their own homes.
This is partially down to an almost singular kind of musical evolution over the decades and a conscious lack of image, but mostly because they occupy a funny-peculiar place at the intersection of the ley lines between two of the least sexy genres of modern music in Gothic and prog. rock. On paper, it sounds about as attractive as a remix by Pitbull. In reality, they're something far more interesting.
Formed in 1990 by brothers Jamie, Vincent and Daniel Cavanagh along with Darren White and drummer John Douglas - the line-up has fluctuated considerably since - Anathema version one was a fairly uninspiring doom metal outfit, releasing the decidedly Teutonic sounding 'Serenades' ('93). To avoid the metal cliche of being stereotyped, a gradual change in texture throughout the ensuing decade led them to more orchestrated material which is articulate, grand without being pompous, and sometimes more than a little maudlin.
Continue reading: Anathema - Fine Days: 1999 - 2004 Album Review
Thursday the 11th September, 2014, saw the third annual Progressive Music Awards ceremony, with the award for 'prog God' going to Peter Gabriel, formerly of Genesis.
English singer/songwriter, Peter Gabriel, has been honoured at the annual Progressive Music Awards, by being the award for 'Prog God', for his five decade long music career. The event was held at Shakespeare's Globe Theatre in London, on the 11th of September, 2014.
Peter Gabriel was awarded the title of 'Prog God'.
The third annual Progressive Music Awards were sponsored by Orange Amps and was presented by Scottish author and television presenter, Gavin Esler.
Opeth and Anathema bear between them many similarities. Chiefly among them, a gradual shift from harsh, visceral roots that grew over two decades ago (albeit a considerable distance apart) in the then-fertile grounds of death metal into a much more melodic, multi-layered sound; something which, despite their relative lack of success and placement as support act, Anathema have done with more success than Opeth themselves.
Touring their ninth full-length, 2012s Weather Systems, the Scouse sextet are now a world away from the downtuned doom of their earliest releases, placing much more emphasis on slow-builds and multi-part vocal harmonies. The searing post-rock guitars and endless chorus of 'Untouchable' would not sound too far out of place on Aereogramme's My Heart Has A Wish You Would Not Go if one were to exclude the heart-thumping earnestness of its closing vocals, or on Copeland or Nada Surf's more 'anthemic' moments. At other times they even come close to the grandiose balladry of Elbow, albeit from an entirely different angle. At the very least, the overtly confident and emotive vocal delivery of Vincent Cavanagh and his stage mannerisms, all pointed fingers and knowing smiles, are certainly in the realm of one Guy Garvey.
In their new direction, they sound completely comfortable. Opeth are yet to truly achieve this but, live, they eradicate this problem by leaning as much on the depth of their back catalogue as more recent material. Opener 'The Devil's Orchid' from this year's Heritage album is the weakest track of the set and Mikael Akerfeldt's mid-range vocals on it are limp and uninspiring, but things pick up as soon as it has passed. Between songs, Mikael seems dismissive of the album, with his self-depreciating wit being a highlight in itself, and soon they launch into what at times approaches a greatest hits set reaching as far back as 1999s breakthrough full-length Still Life.