Anathema - Natural Disaster

Year of Release: 2004
Label: Koch
Catalog Number: 9539
Format: CD
Total Time: 53:18:00

Anathema's Natural Disaster is yet another departure of style in comparison to their experimental album in 2001 A Fine Day To Exit. What I am hearing is a reaching back from whence they came, just a bit, to the metal sound and some of the textures of the previous album, all combined to form an excellent all encompassing album that is bound to please many listeners. Their overall sound will continue to piss off those that want the black/death metal band they knew to return. After listening a gazillion times to this CD, I think it is definitely one of the better releases of 2004.

"Pulled Under At 2000 Meters Per Second" (track 6) explodes like a classic rendering from Dream Theater. It builds your anticipation with atmospheric keyboards then breaks through like a titanium/steel battering ram giving your senses and eardrums a major wakeup call? nothing like a bit of abruptness to shake you out of the mood the more languid sounds they paint lapse you into before swallowing you up with their big sound. The wall of sound, built with hard driving loud guitars and rhythm section that is to die for, pounds away until all five minutes and twenty-three seconds worth drives home with conviction. No doubt, if the entire album were like this it would be fantastic high-energy non-stop ride.

The curtain closer "Violence" tracks in at 10:45. With a runtime like that, you probably think it could very well be their piece de resistance (like a Yes or ELP tune), the crowning glory of the album that will put them back into the forefront of prog-metal heads everywhere? sorry no dice. Once again, you are pulled down into a slumber then jostled into a different frame of mind and energy level with a pounding syncopated rhythm section, driving guitars and keyboards?alas, this time is too short lived, they drop on your metal lovin' arse. Suddenly the excitement of that awesome energy drops like a desert night's temperature, which pissed me off. The song reverts to a wimpy wispy walk in the park, a long stretch of solitude with tinkering piano and keyboards; mostly sounding like a Pink Floyd interlude you would find tucked in the middle of one their longer songs. I know, there is that comparison, again. Unfortunately there was no crescendo of crashing drums and pile driving guitars? so sad, because I thought it would be as good as track 6. It is not always violent, not in the literal sense, as the title of the composition indicates, although it is comparative to a brewing storm of anger as it builds quietly then explodes into a fit of rage, well you get the picture, just think of music portraying that setting, as brief as it is. Those are two of the best examples of where the band is at this time in their development.

It seems as though they cannot make up their mind the direction they want to go in at times on this album, although I suppose because the songs are all about the delicate ebb and flow of emotions, the changes are appropriate. In any case, for the most part this is a very satisfying recording. To be truthful I liked the flip-flopping back and forth of the musical moods, but I was disappointed at the same time that they didn't let the horse out of the barn so to speak, which was peeking out and ready to run, but got pulled back in and tied up to the post. This band is on the brink of a major masterpiece, they are so close with this one. I think if they let go of the restraints next time out, it could be so brutally beautiful. Despite my criticisms, this is a fine album with many great tracks to enjoy.

Harmonium (5:28) / Balance (3:58) / Closer (6:20) / Are You There? (4:59) / Childhood Dream (2:10) / Pulled Under at 2000 Meters Per Second (5:23) / A Natural Disaster?(6:27) / Flying (5:57) / Electricity (3:51) / Violence (10:45)

Vincent Cavanagh - vocals, guitar
Danny Cavanagh - guitar
Jamie Cavanagh - bass
Les Smith - keyboards, programming
John Douglas - drums

The Crestfallen (1992)
Serenades (1993/2003)
Pentecost III (ep) (1995)
The Silent Engima (1995/2003)
Eternity (1996/2003)
Alternative 4 (1998)
Judgement (1999)
A Fine Day To Exit (2001)
Resonance: Best Of Anathema (2001)
Resonance, Vol 2 (2002)
A Natural Disaster (2004)
Hindsight (2008)
We're Here Because We're Here (2010)
Falling Deeper (2011)
Weather Systems (2012)
Distant Satellites (2014)

Were You There (DVD) (2004)
Univseral (DVD/BR) (2013)

Genre: Progressive-Power Metal

Origin UK

Added: April 18th 2004
Reviewer: Keith "Muzikman" Hannaleck
Artist website:
Hits: 1593
Language: english


[ Back to Reviews Index | Post Comment ]