Anathema – Weather Systems – 95%

Not Post-Rock. I don’t know what I could possibly be say about Anathema that hasn’t already been said or written. It’s amazing to me that this band has been around for nearly 20 years and just keeps getting better. When I discovered them in the early 2000’s I was blown away by  “A Natural Disaster” and “A Fine Day to Exit.” I thought the band had reached a pinnacle, but they went on to release “We’re Here Because We’re Here” in 2010 which I consider one of the top 10 albums of the last 50 years. They followed that with “Falling Deeper” in 2011, which was  a revisit to their older songs  but with their new found sound. That’s how we get to Weather Systems. Expectations are high.

We start with a classic Anathema track, Untouchable Part 1. Technical guitar mastery, top notch vocals with bleak lyrics and an always beautiful string arrangement help kick off this album. Untouchable Part 2 is even better than the intro track and harkens back to their last two albums capturing the magic of their last two release. Beautiful piano segments, tremendous vocal performances and guitar work oozing with emotion fill the album. The album retains it’s classic Anathema bleakness through “Lightning Song,” which is a quick contender for my favorite Anathema track of all time. Lee Douglas has such an angelic voice with incredible vocal range, it really adds so much more depth and beauty to the band. I’m so happy her vocals have been a permanent fixture in Anathema’s sound.

I will admit “The Storm Before the Calm” sort of lost as me there for a second since it’s quite unique in comparison to the rest of the album. It has an industrial feel with plenty of drone noise thrown into the mix for the first 6 minutes or so until it settles down back to the Anathema we’ve come to expect. The next track however, “The Beginning and the End” blew me away with its raw emotion and intensity.  The solo at the end is so perfect in correlation with the mood and feel of the track.

This album is everything we’ve come to love and expect from Anathema. Words can’t describe the love I have for this band nor  how powerful their music truly is.  This release should satisfy both old and new Anathema fans alike. This isn’t their best work, but it’s very close. This is a must listen to album of 2012. – 6/26/12

Band Website: http://www.anathema.ws/