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Album Review: Anathema ‘Distant Satellites’

Anathema — the Experimental Alternative Rockers from Liverpool — have achieved a longevity that countless other acts simply do not. Whether it’s their ever-changing sonic landscape, their keeping it in the family, or some combination thereof, they continue to distance themselves from all others in ways that only Anathema can, and, with their latest offering ‘Distant Satellites,’ they continue in orbit of a vast expanse all their own.

‘The Lost Song (Part One)’ plays heavy on the atmospherics, with synth and driving drums propelling the track forward from the outset. ‘The Lost Song’ induces a kind of trance-like state that’s re-enforced by the otherworldly instrumentation and hypnotic vocal harmony — a powerful opener.

‘The Lost Song (Part Two)’ opens with beautifully arranged acoustics and the calming quality of Lee Douglas’ vocals. Part Two is as soothing and ballad-esque as Part One is driving and up-tempo, providing a contrast that works surprisingly well. While Part Two is certainly more reserved than its predecessor, it still has the same epic quality, maintaining a vast, larger-than-life air even when showing restraint.

To put it simply, Anathema create beautiful music. ‘Distant Satellites’ is chalk-full of soundscapes layered with intricacy and nuance — executed with the utmost precision and attention to detail. ‘Distant Satellites’ is a magnum opus of melody — each track a world unto itself. Whether it’s the Lost Song (which extends into a trilogy), the musings of the piano ballad ‘Ariel,’ or any of the numerous spheres that Anathema encompasses, the collection of poignant, mind-bending material found on ‘Distant Satellites’ is unrivaled. It’s nothing short of an odyssey into the boundless spectrum of human sensory experience, touching upon every facet of the human condition — traversing through time and space whilst transcending both.

‘Distant Satellites’ induces a kind of out-of-body experience that borders on the supernatural, and, in that sense, it’s as though both creator and creation are not of this world.

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