Anathema: Fine Days: 1999-2004

Exquisite gloomsters come out of the dark

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Three of Anathema’s best albums are finally available again, remastered in a swanky box with a 2004 live DVD, affording us a chance to wonder at the timeless beauty of this beguiling music, rendered all the more affective now it’s cloaked in the winsome radiance of nostalgia.

1999’s Judgement was the culmination of these lovelorn Liverpudlians’ first decade of restless development, and the emotional punch of bittersweet classics like Deep, Forgotten Hopes and heartbreaking elegy One Last Goodbye remains as powerful as ever.

In 2001, A Fine Day To Exit seemed to sail a little too close to then-fashionable Radiohead/Travis indie prog-lite, but the reissue contained herein adds a superb new instrumental opener and an alternate running order, somehow making it a far more satisfying experience.

By 2003’s A Natural Disaster, Anathema had audibly gained more confidence in the studio, the sound was more layered and dynamic, the music more spontaneous and versatile, from the fragile minimalism of Are You There? to densely wrought rock-out Pulled Under At 2000 Metres A Second.

Anathema remain one of the best British bands of the last 25 years, and these recordings remain among their finest, so if you don’t own them yet, this is a no-brainer./o:p

Chris Chantler

Chris has been writing about heavy metal since 2000, specialising in true/cult/epic/power/trad/NWOBHM and doom metal at now-defunct extreme music magazine Terrorizer. Since joining the Metal Hammer famileh in 2010 he developed a parallel career in kids' TV, winning a Writer's Guild of Great Britain Award for BBC1 series Little Howard's Big Question as well as writing episodes of Danger Mouse, Horrible Histories, Dennis & Gnasher Unleashed and The Furchester Hotel. His hobbies include drumming (slowly), exploring ancient woodland and watching ancient sitcoms.