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Anathema: Falling Deeper

Ambient reworkings from acclaimed Scouse proggers.

Those expecting a genuine follow-up to last year’s very handy We’re Here Because We’re Here may feel short-changed at this point. Falling Deeper instead offers an orchestral face-lift to Anathema’s earliest songs from the 90s, a time when they were busy chiselling a reputation as a doom metal band.

They’ve messed about with the length of some of these tunes too – We The Gods, for instance, has been clipped from its original 10 minutes to a relatively succinct three.

Yet, despite what longtime fans may assume, it’s ultimately a charm offensive that proves they were always partial to a rich melody. Dave Stewart’s string arrangements are both subtle and spectral, allowing delicate shadings of piano and guitar to transform their original counterparts into a tranquil kind of prog chill-out.

Vocals are kept at a discreet length, though Anneke van Giersbergen (late of Dutch rockers The Gathering) is a star turn on Everwake. Closer Sunset Of Age is a suitably epic send-off, robust guitars suddenly enlivening all the symphonic pomp.

Not as successful as 2008’s similarly inclined Hindsight maybe, but good value all the same.