Distant Satellites


Kscope, 2014


REVIEW BY: Vish Iyer


Almost 25 years and nine albums later, how does Anathema sound? Just like a debuting band with a heart full of enthusiasm, eager to present songs that they take great pride in. And Anathema fans should be proud of their beloved band’s tenth release too! Unlike fans of most other acts of similar longevity for whom the mere release of an album – good or bad – is a cause for celebration, for Anathema fans, my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Distant Satellites is like an album from a band that seems very much at the height of its prime. There is no reason why fan expectations should not be high – and by the way, these expectations are deservedly met.

Distant Satellites is not only one of Anathema’s finest, it is also a very accessible album. A big reason is the alternative rock sound. While the band has already been moving towards this sound on past releases, Distant Satellites is the epitome of this phase of Anathema’s music. Tracks like “Take Shelter” and “Distant Satellites” with their melodic, electronic music influenced sound have a soft indietronica feel, which is far removed from the band’s gothic rock beginnings. Even the album’s roughest track, “You’re Not Alone,” which features frantic vocals and squeaky guitars, is more indie rock than metal.

Distant Satellites is a very tight album. True, it has all the trappings of a typical Anathema record with its sweeping and intense anthemic songs. But the band does not try to make the songs too complicated or push them into strange prog-rock diversions. In this respect, a good part of the album, especially the tracks “The Lost Song (Parts 1 & 2),” “Ariel,” “Anathema,” and “Take Shelter,” almost sound like bigger and more majestic versions of Blackfield’s music. This is especially the case when it comes to their hauntingly grand tunes, whose clean and lush production values make the sound impeccable.

It is without doubt that Distant Satellites deserves to be on a pedestal in the Anathema canon.

Rating: A-

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