Distant Satellites (Deluxe CD/2DVD)

Distant Satellites (Deluxe CD/2DVD)

BY Anathema

(Customer Reviews)
$70.00
$ 59.50
SKU: KSCOPE521
Label:
KScope Records
Category:
Post Progressive
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OK now this is over the top indulgent and incredibly limited.  I doubt we will be able to restock it as a limited amount has been made available for North America.  This is an oversized hardbound slipcased book with a 44 page booklet.  It also comes with a CD plus a DVD with the album in 5.1 surround and 24 bit hi-res stereo mixes.  Finally there is a second DVD with a "making of" documentary.  Certain to be a collector's item in years to come.

"It’s been quite a past few years for the incredible Anathema. Honors have been bestowed upon them, they’ve released an instant classic album in “Weather Systems”, and last year they released one of the best live concert films I’ve ever seen, “Universal”. Anathema is on top of the world, and they are only getting bigger. With all of this on their shoulders, they approach the world once again with their new album, “Distant Satellites”, a fitting name for a massive album. Again, with all of their recent success creating huge expectations, can this band meet such critical reception? Needless to say, Vincent Cavanagh on vocals, Danny Cavanagh on guitar, Jamie Cavanagh on bass, John Douglas on percussion, Daniel Cardoso on drums, and Lee Douglas with her wonderful vocals were all up to the challenge.

“Distant Satellites” is a very different album from “Weather Systems”, or anything else they’ve done, for that matter. It is different, yet somehow instantly familiar. It includes everything that makes them Anathema, but adds new and exciting elements to their already excellent formula. If you’ve never heard Anathema, their formula (in their last few albums, anyways) includes soaring guitars, amazingly catchy melodies, spiritual lyrics, and emotional flow both vocally and structurally. They are the masters of melody, and they remain complex and progressive even while being simple and accessible. They are truly masters of their craft.

This new album, then, is no different in those terms. The melodies return in force, such as the serene beauty of “The Lost Song” parts 1-3. And, yet, there is something different here. The melodic lines are somewhat more complex, less in-your-face, and more organic. This especially shows in the song lengths, most of them being over five minutes. This allows for more growth and more progression. Indeed, then, the melodies on “Distant Satellites”, while not being as instantly lovable or recognizable, are certainly more difficult and possibly will have a longer “shelf life” in my mind. Yes, the orchestrations seem to be lower key, as well, allowing the vocalists to express themselves more personally then ever.

There are other improvements, too. I feel that the musicianship is more fervent and on a higher plateau of difficulty than Anathema has tried. Drummer John Douglas, especially, plays amazingly well from start to finish, accenting the music with awesome pounding and fills. The rest of the band are at their peak, too, with Vincent and Lee being especially great with emotional and meaningful vocal performances.

“Distant Satellites” is different in more meaningful ways, too. Utilizing post-rock/metal structures is nothing new for Anathema, but they really do perfect them here, as on “Dusk”, a dark, climactic song. Yet, there is a sense of continuity between tracks, too. This is obviously the case between the three parts of “The Lost Song”, but it’s also apparent throughout the album, as if Anathema is telling us a story, convincing us of our true selves and our connection with the universe and with each other.

This album is wonderful in the first half, but my excitement reached new heights in the second half. Anathema has taken it upon themselves to change things up a bit. They wanted to progress their sound, but make it all seem so natural. So, in the second half, the album climaxes with one of the best songs, simply called “Anathema”. But then, we are thrown for a loop somewhat, as “You’re Not Alone” features a hefty portion of electronic vibe. It’s great, but the best is still to come.

Next, “Firelight”, a darkly ethereal instrumental track that is completely electronic, is thrust upon us, and is followed up by what may possibly be the best song Anathema has ever produced, “Distant Satellites”. This track combines everything that has ever made Anathema great: soaring melodies, climactic structure, gentle spirituality, amazing vocals, and now an electronic beat that is both complex and catchy. Vibrant, mesmerizing, and pure, this track elates me every time I hear it. It takes this album, and my heart, to new heights. The album finishes with a gentle ballad that just seems so fitting, yet it still has the strong electronic influence.

So, is “Distant Satellites” a winner? In every way! Is it their best album? I don’t know; it has the potential, but it might take time, just like “Weather Systems” did. What I can tell you is that this new album is more mature, more progressive, more interesting and eclectic, and less formulaic then anything Anathema has crafted yet. It does sacrifice some accessibility and some instant likability for these things, but I respect their decision massively, and I fully expect to see “Distant Satellites” at the tops of many lists at the end of 2014." - Progulator

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  • Die-cut digipak edition."One thing already in the beginning. Dark Age continues with their change. If this is good or bad each of you have to evaluate personally.  I like the new album, as well as I liked their more death metallic history. The guys from Hamburg are more and more filling a gap between Linkin Park (70%) and In Flames (30%). That will say, that there are still some, almost hidden, death metal part in some of the songs, but the melodic parts are still increasing and the usage of keyboards became more. In that sense “A matter of trust” is a logical next step following their 2009 album “Acedia”.So what is, next to ‘change’, the consistent factor. Dark Age are still writing good songs. The songwriting quality didn’t change. And the band also comes up again with a very good production – maybe it’s even too perfect in the sense of being too clean.The album starts with “Nero”, a song which represents the album in a good way. The song is very melodic, and a great chorus. In the verse I was even party reminded to Simple Minds with some rougher guitar work. “My savior” makes use of the same pattern, but increases intensity towards the end.Songs like “Out of time”  and “Fight” show more the history of the band. The remind me in parts to the “Dark age” album.  “Dark sign” is a good mix between old and new. It combines old trademarks with a dark atmosphere.And than there are a few very keyboard focused tracks on the album. Songs like “Onwards” are probably not even metal anymore, even though I like it. But the guitar is pushed very much to the back and the keys are dominating the scene.“A matter of trust” became a good album. But it also needs an open mind to enjoy it. If you got over the fact that the album didn’t became another “Dark age” you will have a enjoy what you hear. If you’re deeply rooted in death metal I would recommend to go for the new Master album instead." - Markus' Heavy Music Blog
    $15.00
  • Sezione Frenante are not young guys.  Apparently they've been kicking around since the first half of the 70s but with no recorded output.  They opened for some of the Italian prog bands of the day and then went on hiatus...until now.  This is a concept album based on the life of poet Dante Alighieri and the material was conceived back in the early days of the band.  Sonically it doesn't have the 70s imprint that a lot of the retro bands go for but compositionally it fits squarely in the "Rock Italiano Progressivo" mold.  So we are talking about music composed in the 70s and recorded today.  To my ears the production is quite excellent - it almost has a live in the studio feel.  The closest comparison would be to Le Orme which is not surprising given the band's long friendship with Aldo Tagliapietra.  All of the musicians in the band are quite good and have plenty of room to solo.  The star for me is vocalist Francesco Nardo.  He has good range and fits neatly in with the music.  Nothing operatic - just right.  Highly recommended.
    $18.00
  • First time on CD - reissued in a gorgeous gatefold mini-lp sleeve. "Live In Montreux" is actually their first album, released in 1975, consisting of just four long tracks. This is great jazz rock that will appeal to fans of Weather Report and Perigeo.
    $18.00