Skip to main content

Prog/Art Rock Review: Anathema-Distant Satellites

Release Date: June 10, 2014 
Label: KScope

Starting out as a death/doom metal band back in 1990, Anathema has undergone a drastic evolution to the band that has just released Distant Satellites, album number 10. The debut album was released in 1993, entitled Serenades, and the previous studio album to this one was released in 2012, entitled Weather Systems. Between that release and the new album, I reviewed the live release, Universal, issued in 2013.

At the time of recording Distant Satellites, Anathema comprised 6 members, the Cavanagh brothers, Vincent (voice, guitar, vocoder), Danny (guitar, keyboards, voice) and Jamie (bass) together with the Douglas siblings, Lee (vocals) and John (drums) and Daniel Cardosa (keyboards, drums). Daniel Cardosa was a touring member of the band, but became a full member in 2012.

Distant Satellites is a 10 track album with a playing time nudging an hour in length (58 minutes).The longest offering on the album is the title track “Distant Satellites” with a running time of 8:36 minutes and “Firelight” is the shortest track at 2:49 minutes.

The opening track to Distant Satellites, “The Lost Song Part 1” (6:07), is the first of a three part track and enters with strings and keyboards before some frantic drumming ushers in the voice of Vincent Cavanagh. Vincent possesses a very powerful voice and it is ably backed up on this track by the crystal clear voice of Lee Douglas. The track powers along with insistent piano, drumming and layers of guitar adding the icing on the cake, so to speak. My problem with this opening track is that it doesn’t seem to go anywhere. The track builds in intensity, but there is no real shift in the music, it is the same from start to finish and I really wanted it to have some direction.

The second track, “The Lost Song Part 2” (6:01) has a gentle piano start before Lee Douglas takes center stage in a more angst ballad track. The band join in and the track moves along with some sections of building sound before the music drops away and gently makes an exit. This is a different style from the opener, but without that “je ne sais quoi” that pulls a listener into the music. “The Lost Song Part 3,” which is a few tracks further into the album, is more up-tempo and a return to Vincent on lead vocals. Drums and bass are the driving lynchpins of this track which again possesses an insistent piano theme. The guitar is a bit more prominent from time to time, but again I have that feeling that the track starts and ends, and when it does, any melody has just slipped out of my mind.

Named after the band, track 6, “Anathema” (6:56) is more of a slow burner before crescendo-ing into a superb violin, then guitar, passage. A good track without any doubt which leads into a track, “You’re Not Alone” (3:25), which I found a little out of place and seems to run the gamut of various styles in the short time it exists.

“Firelight” (2:49) is another track which seemed a bit “odd,” in that it seems to be nothing more than an instrumental bridge, utilizing church style organ, between the tracks “You’re Not Alone” and “Distant Satellites.” The title track (8:36) has a programmed drum feel about it with that superb voice from Vincent over the top and again I felt was one of the best tracks on offer.

The final track “Take Shelter” (6:18) has a more ethereal voiced Vincent over a subdued piano with some beautiful violin over the top. Some more programmed drumming, very similar to the last track, puts in a muted appearance but bursts into life as the song starts to increase in intensity, ultimately giving in to a full band workout. The last minute is a very poignant exit to a violin theme.

I struggled with this review of Distant Satellites as I genuinely do not dislike the album, it is just that at no point does the hand burst from the speakers, grab me by the throat and yell, “You will listen to this!” While the music on offer is played by skilled musicians, I felt that the spark required to ignite the album just wasn’t to be found.

Anathema followers will be eager to add Distant Satellites to their collections, but I am not convinced that this album will attract newer listeners to the band. As always, this is a very personal view, so give Distant Satellites a few listens to decide if you want to make a small space on your CD shelves.

3.5/5 Stars

Key Tracks: Anathema, Distant Satellites, Take Shelter

Tracks:
 
The Lost Song Part 1
The Lost Song Part 2
Dusk (Dark is Descending)
Ariel
The Lost Song Part 3
Anathema
You’re Not Alone
Firelight
Distant Satellites
Take Shelter


Jim “The Ancient One” Lawson-Sr. Reviewer Prog Rock Music Talk

August 5, 2014

Review Provided By Prog Rock Music Talk

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

British Post-Punk Veterans 1919 Return With A Brand New Masterpiece Of Darkly Melodic Goth Rock, FUTURECIDE!

Los Angeles, CA - Like the mythic phoenix rising from the ashes, British post-punk band 1919 have gone through Hell and back over the course of their harrowing career, but they keep returning stronger than ever! Founded in 1980, the band released its debut album Machine in 1983 and one EP a year later before calling it quits. However, the band reformed in 2014 to great acclaim, performing numerous tours and at festivals across Europe. Then, tragedy struck as the band’s founding guitarist Mark Tighe was diagnosed with cancer in 2016 and succumbed to the disease in January 2017. Tighe insisted that the band should carry on without him, which they have done in finest form with their newest effort Futurecide. The album, which will be officially released on April 12 via Cleopatra Records, features brand new compositions and includes special guest performances by Tighe as well as former member Steve Madden, who also passed away this year. The first single, “Anxiety,” was released at the en…

Concert Review: Ghost At The Palace Theater Albany NY

Ghost At The Palace Theater Albany NY December 13, 2018 http://ghost-official.com


With winter upon us in the great Northeast, it was just another night. We never have a reason to stay in because of the weather, we just go. It so happened that it was a nice evening for a drive to a Ghost concert.We secured our tickets months ago and have been anticipating this night for months on end.
Last July I attended a “bucket list” concert, the great Iron Maiden was coming to Mansfield, MA. Opening for them was Ghost. This was a turn of a friendly card for the band, a great way to get worldwide exposure otherwise not afforded by a lesser band. They were already on the rise and the lead singer Papa Emeritus had a helluva a band (no pun intended there). At that time my prediction was that when the new year began Ghost would be headlining their own shows. So, then it happened, here we are tonight watching this incredible metal band headlining their own show, with no opener may I add.
For those of you unf…

Experience Hendrix Tour 2019 Concert Review

The Experience Hendrix Tour 2019 Concert The Palace Theater Albany, New York April 3, 2019 http://www.experiencehendrixtour.com/


The pictures I have provided were snapped by me with my phone to give you an idea of the backdrop to the music prior to the show. That screen changed with each song and it was very trippy psychedelic colors and images that mirrored the timeframe of Jimi in his prime. -Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck
The Electric Church arrived in Albany, NY last night with its all-star cast for the Experience Hendrix 2019 Tour.The music of Jimi Hendrix continues to thrive and be embraced by fans worldwide. This is a tour I have been wanting to catch for several years now and I finally made it, and so glad I did.
The best thing that could happen to this event is the involvement of Billy Cox. Anyone familiar with Jimi’s music knows that they were friends for a long time and Billy played bass on some of Jimi’s albums. Also, with Janie Hendrix involved it makes everything legit. Also havin…