Anathema: Distant Satellites review

There is something beautiful about a band that can make you fall in love from the first note and that’s exactly what Anathema does on their latest release Distant Satellites. Kicking off with the ever building and captivating “The Lost Song Part 1,” Anathema start off on a melodic tidal wave that signals just the beginning of what’s to come. Front man Vincent Cavanagh laments that “the fear is just an illusion” and carries us out and on to part two. In “The Lost Song Part 2,” the soft, feminine vocals of Lee Douglas cascade across your senses bringing a lighter air to this latter half of the journey. As the album progresses, the band seems to have created a symbiosis of sound, melding together the grandeur of progressive with enchanting elements of the melodic and emotive. Where so many experimental bands go so terribly wrong trying to squeeze together too much “uniqueness,” Anathema seem to have stumbled into delightful equilibrium. The balancing of each vocalists’ contributions on the album paired with well placed flourishes is what gives Distant Satellites its edge above others. While there are some places where it feels like the occasional one echo too many, or the lingering of a melody that threatens to bore, overall the balance is impressive. The risk in creating melodic experimental or progressive music is that if every song is an opus, how will listeners ever stay awake long enough to care? Anathema’s apparent solution to that is to keep you guessing. The differentiation between the tempos of the tracks keeps things fresh and intriguing. Overall, Distant Satellites is a fascinating listen from beginning to end. With its interesting blends of beats and melodies paired with pure symphonic freedom, for fans of the genre it will not disappoint. For those a bit new to this area, the second half may feel a bit long with its disconnected arrangement of grandiose progressive tunes and filler tunes. If you’re looking for a place to lose yourself in the music, somewhere to drift to the farthest reaches of your mind, or even something kind of trippy for the hemp enthusiasts in your life, let Anathema and Distant Satellites be your guide. Rating: 8.5/10 -Tricia Jones