Anathema: We're Here Because We're Here
Anathema made its name with doomy and gloomy metal laden with gothic undertones and gargling vocals. Those who followed the band’s earlier path might be surprised with what they sound like now: As others have noted, the band that once shared a stage with Bolt Thrower and Cannibal Corpse would probably better suit a bill with prog titans Porcupine Tree (with whom they now share a label, KScope).
Apart from the obvious sonic change resulting from the departure of growler-in-chief Daren White and his replacement on vocals by guitarist Vincent Cavanagh in the band’s early days, over time the band has smoothed and polished things to a gleam, incorporating vocal harmonies, piano (as on the intro to ‘Summertime Horizon’ and ‘Dreaming Light’) and strings, which might have startled in 1993 but makes perfect sense now.
It’s clear the band is in the right place, particularly since bringing producer and former Cradle of Filth keyboardist Les Smith on board full time.
The group adroitly handles the sweeping sounds of tracks like ‘Thin Air’ and lovely vocals of ‘Everything’, and manages to imbue lyrics that occasionally inch dangerously close to the cheesy with emotional atmosphere.
If there’s any complaint to be made with the soaring songs on ‘We’re here’, it’s that they work better individually than as a suite of music.
Otherwise, fans of the bands will find it a worthy successor to ‘A Natural Disaster’ (after the slight side-trip through the acoustic versions on ‘Hindsight’ - not, apparently, a sign of future directions). Those who like their guitar-rock well-orchestrated and grandiose will not be disappointed.