|Anathema's debut full length is one of the first and most typical examples of doom death metal. The album was released one year after 'Crestfallen', which had failed to impress me, exerting a profound influence on the doom metal genre.|
The epic, melodic and heavy opus 'Lovelorn rhapsody' is the proud album opener. Vocalist Darren White introduces himself with a soft, spoken voice. Then suddenly, his powerful, ultra deep grunt blows away the all too innocent listener who only discovered Anathema's last few albums and - ignorant about the death metal roots of this band - expected 'Serenades' to be a dark rock album.
Darren White's vocal style is more or less known to most doom fans: especially his 'moaning' and 'wailing' have become the trademark of early Anathema and influenced a lot of doom vocalists. Whether you like those vocals is another question, as many a doom fan has been drawn away from early Anathema because of Darren White's particular singing. Also worth noticing, is the fact that 'Serenades' was actually the last album featuring Darren's ultra deep grunts (as the moaning and wailing takes a predominant place in this album's follow up 'Pentecost III').
Highlights of this album are, except the opening track which is still one of my favourite Anathema tunes, the beautiful, acoustic 'J'ai fait une promesse' and perhaps the most classic Anathema track, the catchy 'Sleepless'. Darren White's lyrics are pretty na´ve at times, but they usually depart from an original point of view and contribute to the dark, mysterious atmosphere on this album.
Unfortunately, the last track [Editor's note: the bonus track 'Dreaming', only found on the original pressing], is a much too long (25 minutes!), extremely minimastic and annoying ambient tune. However, since it it the last track, you don't need to skip it, so it shouldn't prevent any fan of heavy -and death metal influenced- doom metal to add 'Serenades' to their collection.
1. Lovelorn Rhapsody
2. Sweet Tears
3. J'ai Fait une Promesse
4. They (will always)
6. Sleep in Sanity
7. Scars of the Old Stream
8. Under a Veil (of Black Lace)
9. Where Shadows Dance
10. Dreaming: The Romance
Duration : Approx. 65 minutes
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