Published Jun 10, 2014The path leading Anathema to Distant Satellites from Liverpool and their doom metal origins hasn't followed an obvious course, but it has been consistent. Each album since Eternity (even from the beginning, you might argue) has nudged the band a little deeper into new territory. The swirling atmospheres and emotions of their current dwelling place, and the progressive and art/alt rock structures of their songwriting, developed gradually at first, until it became clear that Anathema was finding its way home — or perhaps building a new one. What is first most striking about Distant Satellites (though by now it's no surprise) is how comfortable and how accomplished Anathema are with their emotive material and identity.
The textures here are even a little richer than before, the skill both more and less obvious (they have achieved that sought-after "effortless" quality), the dramatic ebbs and swells even more dramatic, the rock elements even more seamlessly integrated with electronic and orchestral arrangements and songs combining even more smoothly into a fluid whole. Distant Satellites is most definitely an album rather than a collection of individual songs, but there are still standout numbers; the eponymous "Anathema" and the title track, in particular. And even though "You're Not Alone" gets pretty damn heavy, relatively speaking, I think I'm finally ready to accept that Anathema isn't a doom metal band, or even a metal band at all. (Kscope)