How much a band can change over the years? Anathema started as a doom metal band, but has developed to an intense and emotional multi-coloured and multi-layered band. That’s progressive, isn’t it? After the release of their last album A Natural Disaster, we had to wait six years for their follow-up, but here it is: We’re Here Because We’re Here, a fine collection of new songs. This is a very emotional, passionate and relaxed album which shows the great quality in songwriting, but also the high quality of their vocal performance. We’re Here... is an honest, but a complex album as well that will find its way to my CD-player many, many times. The album is mixed by Steven Wilson (Porcupine Tree) who did a nice job by giving Anathema a clear and open sound that stays close to the Anathema-feel of the album.
Opening song Thin Air, begins real smooth with strong and emotional vocals continuing through the song. Les Smith contributes with some fine keyboard-layers, a bit hidden, but if you listen closely to it you will discover some nice patterns. Summernight Horizon has a dark piano melody and very emotional vocals by Vincent Cavanagh, who plays some nice parts on the guitar as well. It’s a great and atmospheric song. The harmony singing of Lee Douglas is the finishing touch that makes this band so good. Listening to Dreaming Light, you’ll get the feeling that you know this song, because it’s very accessible and relaxed with some nice keyboard-strings. More strong and emotional vocal parts on top of a repeating melody line of the guitar can be heard in Everything. As a guest vocalist, Finnish singer Ville Valo (HIM) contributes with some fine vocals in Angels Walk Among Us, giving the song a bit of a feel of Ed Kowalczyk or Live when he used to sing with them and again Lee’s vocals are the icing on the cake. In Presence you’ll get a bombastic church organ layer with a kind of spoken words on top of it and fantastic female vocals syncopating with Cavanagh and guitar parts by Daniel Cavanagh. The song flows into A Simple Mistake, which is a bit heavier, but for me it’s the best song of the album. In the structure of the guitar parts I hear some influences of Porcupine Tree. Is Anathema influenced by Steven Wilson? I don’t know, but it’s a great song. Those influences can be heard again in the strong, atmospheric song Get Off, Get Out with some distorted vocals that sound terrific. The intro of Universal is dark and sounds like a heartbeat that grows into a symphonic, orchestral highlight whilst Daniel plays one of the rare, but great solos on this album.
Hindsight closes the album, starting with a soundscape, followed by some nice bass playing by Jamie Cavanagh and steady drumming by John Douglas and again some fine soloing, a worthy end of a great album. It certainly was worth waiting six years for this album. Anathema didn’t disappoint me at all. We’re Here Because We’re Here contains outstanding vocals, strong song structures and lots of passion and intensity.
****+ Pedro Bekkers (edited by Peter Willemsen)
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