Album 3) Anathema – Weather Systems
The continued transition from doom metal to prog continues. What seemed to be a career peak with ‘Were Here Because Were Here” continues into yet another fantastic slice of highly powerful humanistic prog. The overwhelming emotive double track opening of Untouchable 1 & 2, gives way to tracks that are pushing the progressive boundaries of the band with amazing production and some great musicianship.
Key Tracks – Untouchable 1 & 2. Shows off the two great song building formulas of the band, on basically the same song. Part 1, starts quietly with acoustic guitars and single voice but builds in intensity and power both musically and emotively until your hit with an overwhelming crescendo. Part 2, segues perfectly into the end of the track. The power is gone and we are left with the quiet acoustic melancholy riff, this time there only a little build which really puts the lyrics up front. As always when the vocals of Lea Douglas come in, it is so delicate and sublime (see Natural Disaster for another great example). The track was criticised for being wishy washy, but it is great songwriting that continues to explore the bands obsession with love, loss and grief.
The pop up is influenced by the tracks mantra…. “I had to let you go to the setting sun…” . A sun shape is cut from the card and a piece of orange acetate is held in place behind. A small figure is pops up in front whilst a discarded letter with the lyric lies in the foreground.
Other recommended :- The Storm before the calm, The beginning of the End, Internal Landscapes,
Album 4) Devin Townsend – Epicloud
You usually know exactly what you get with Devin Townsend….. Unpredictability. Sometimes classical pieces, sometimes full on rock monsters, sometimes EBM laden dance pieces and always bizarre concepts (see Ziltoid). Epicloud was a pleasant surprise, dispersing (with most) of the usual over the top extreme high jinx, it is a set of solid rock/metal which sometimes strangely strays into 80’s hair metal power metal balladry. And it is exactly what it says on the tin – both Epic and Loud
Key Track – Grace – Ok, I know what I said above, but this has DT manicness written all over it. Angelic vocals into monster riffs, oppressive drumming and huge singalong along tribal chanting “Grace”, “High Road Warning”, “Never fear Love”, “Laugh, Love, Live, Learn”. I am not usually a fan of choirs in songs, but this is the final push thats needed to take the wave of noise over the sublime precipice that is Epicloud.
The pop-up takes the lyric “High Road Warning” and is influenced by the great accompanying film that ran behind the band at their gig at Newcastle University. Huge dioramas with big slogans. So heres a warning sign on an asteroid passing earth and a spaceship.
Other recommended :- Save Our Now, Lucky Animals, Divine
Albums 5 & 6 to follow soon.
Albums 1 & 2 are here