One of the main beneficiaries of the recent resurgence of mainstream interest in progressive rock, Anathema deliver another top-drawer album perfectly suited to the audience they have spent so long and so carefully building up.
A concept album – phew, that’s a relief! – using the endlessly varied British climate as metaphor for life and, yes, death, Weather Systems is all sumptuous melodies, skilfully interwoven male and female harmonies and suitably thought- provoking lyrics. Indeed, you couldn’t find a better advertisement for how far prog has come in the 21st century.
Occasionally, especially for non-believers, tracks portentously subtitled Parts 1 and 2 (as on opener Untouchable), or rather too punningly on the otherwise excellent The Storm Before The Calm, can be cringe-worthy. And there are rather too many ‘silent seas’ and ‘childhood memories’ evoked in the lyrics.
But these are mere quibbles. Anathema come armed with enough musicianly purpose to impress anybody who enjoys classic rock forms executed in truly first-class fashion. And the closing track on this album, Internal Landscapes – with its weaving of actual dialogue from someone recounting a near-death experience – is remarkably moving.