Rating:
8.5
Anathema - A Natural Disaster
3 November 2003


01. Harmonium
02. Balance
03. Closer
04. Are You There?
05. Childhood Dream
06. Pulled Under At 2000 Metres A Second
07. A Natural Disaster
08. Flying
09. Electricity
10. Violence


I must warn you now, A Natural Disaster is not metal, even less than the mainly acoustic Judgement and A Fine To Exit. I guess that when Danny Cavanagh said that it was the heaviest album they had ever recorded, he was either stoned, or completely hammered. No doubt, A Natural Disaster is an album of dark emotional depressive rock that shows the most progressive side of Anathema. And yet the very purpose to this album was to come back to the times of Eternity and Alternative 4 i.e. to make a music more aggressive, definitely more metal than the latest releases. Well this is just not really the case...

The influence of Pink Floyd is never far when you listen to the first track 'Harmonium', with its arpeggios full of a cool feeling and the still special tripping voice of Vincent Cavanagh. This song is a good introduction to the rest of the album, because it also unveils the experimental/electronic side [don't worry, there is not much of that] brought by the electronic drums at the beginning. For the rest, this excellent track resembles a lot Judgement. 'Balance' is an acoustic pop song that keeps the spirit of Anathema as well, with still this heavy ending that could be found on Alternative 4. 'Closer' then is the strangest song of the album, the most experimental. It sounds very electronic, almost pop indus. The vocals are really special, they don't sound human at all, because they have been worked on on a computer. It is really unusual for Anathema, some fans will feel deceived, but in my opinion it is one of the best songs of the album. You'll be surprised. 'Are You There' is a sad ballad with just keyboards a la Dead Can Dance and this icy and desperate guitar. Vince Cavanagh makes one of his best singing performances ever on this song. The dark interlude 'Childhood' has no real interest.

Complete change of mood with the violent 'Pulled Under At 2000 Meters A Second', their most aggressive song since Alternative 4... Vincent Cavanagh even screams on it. The speed riffreminds of 'Fragile Dreams', but the vocals sometimes sound like an angry Roger Waters. This is the only song that sticks to the 'real Anathema' [in the band's own words] from Eternity and Alternative 4. The highlight of the album is 'A Natural Disaster', a quite unusual song: merely acoustic, with only crystal and perfect female vocals. The chorus is breathtaking and the result... well, just perfect. 'Flying' then is a glimpse of what could be found on A Fine Day To Exist. Vincent Cavanagh on this song could lead to suicide an entire army of clowns, since he himself sounds on the verge of the deepest depression ever seen. His voice catches you inside, bringing tears to your eyes, like an invitation to despair, helped by the good production that makes this album even darker. Good song once again.

'Electricity', as the name doesn't say it, is dominated by piano, with not an ounce of electric guitars in it, but it is catchy as well. Finally, 'Violence' is the perfect closing track. It is a 10-minutes long instrumental track , which first half is violent, with headblasting drums and a doom metal repeating riff, that ends on a Pink Floyd-like acoustic conclusion.

To sum up all this, my impression is that A Natural Disaster is much tougher of access than the previous albums, and for this reason I find it less attractive and interesting than Alternative 4 or Judgement for example. But at the same time, it is darker, maybe more complex as far as the songwriting is concerned, and besides, the song 'A Natural Disaster' is so perfect that I decently cannot underrate it. This album will probably be considered as a masterpiece in a few years. Though, for the moment, many people will be disappointed, but this album all but a disaster.

Highlights: Closer, Pulled Under At 2000 Meters A Second, A Natural Disaster


Band profile: Anathema
Album: A Natural Disaster


 


written by Collin | 21.02.2004

Staff review by
Undercraft

Rating:
9.5
I can't believe these guys, the Cavanagh bros and Co. are talented musicians, there no hint of doubt about that, I mean, Anathema keeps getting better every release, last time we listened them in their new "atmospheric/acoustic" phase with "A Fine Day To Exit", now with "A Natural Disaster" they pushed things further and created another melancholic masterpiece.

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published 00.00.0000 | Comments (11)



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jaymz26 - 07.08.2009 at 08:48  
"'Are You There' is a sad ballad with just keyboards a la Dead Can Dance and this icy and desperate guitar. Vince Cavanagh makes one of his best singing performances ever on this song."

The singer of this song isn't Vincent Cavangh, he's Danny Cavanagh.
The same with Electricity.

cheers
Powerslavex - 07.08.2009 at 12:03  
One of Anathema's softer albums but still it is really good full of dark emotion, a natural disaster is best song i guess ( 8/10)
Uirapuru - 21.11.2009 at 01:27  
Yeah, agreed on the highlitgts, but this is simply their worse album from the doom/rock era.
Mr. Doctor - 21.11.2009 at 21:10  
Written by Uirapuru on 21.11.2009 at 01:27

Yeah, agreed on the highlitgts, but this is simply their worse album from the doom/rock era.


I disagree, I believe that A Fine Day To Exist is the worse one... I just don't feel connected to that one. The music is great but I don't remember anything after the album ended.

This album is very emotional for me, but yeah... tastes differ.
Passenger - 09.07.2010 at 16:48  
I don't think this is among their best albums, but "Are You There?" is probably the best song they've ever written.

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