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Anathema : An Iliad of Woes

This collection of four Swedish-influenced death metal tracks is not quite indicative of the style of music that the band grew into on 'Crestfallen' or 'Serenades'. However, since 'A Fine Day To Exit' was reviewed, and it is about as far from a doom metal album as one can get, I figured an analysis of Anathema's notorious cult demo was in order.

There is actually a little bit of doom on here. Primarily, it is meshed throughout the hateful nastiness that is 'Memento Mori', a song that would be re-recorded and dressed up for 'Pentecost III' a few years later. 'In the Name of the Father' also features a passage here and there in which one can plainly discern the "doomed" Anathema that we all know and love. There is a groove breakdown in 'Echoes of Terror' which segues into that characteristic "distant" Daniel Cavanagh guitar sustain. The recognizable sound of the band is in the notes executed only. Darren White bellows with much less clarity here than on the 'Crestfallen' EP. The drumming is hyperspeed and the riffing, frenzied. As a whole, this sounds much more like your standard fare Sunlight Studios death metal that was so innovative and popular in the underground of the early 1990s.

Lyrically, I think this is some great work. There is little trace of the Victorian morbid romanticism that they would embrace on future definitive releases. Instead, we are treated to some poetic explorations of death, apostasy and perdition which are at a level of maturity above their peers at the time.

I would recommend this release, which can sometimes be found auctioned at ridiculous prices on eBay, solely to the most staunch Anathema fans. If you feel as though your life will end without every piece of Anathema's music at your fingertips, then you need to get your hands on this posthaste! Newcomers to Anathema, however, should start their collections with 'Serenades' or 'The Silent Enigma'.

Reviewer's rating: Unrated


Tracklist :
1. The Lord of Mortal Pestilence
2. Memento Mori
3. In The Name Of The Father
4. Echoes of Terror

Duration : Approx. 30 minutes

Visit the Anathema bandpage.

Reviewed on ??-??-???? by Ryan Henry
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