Finally, the agonising wait for the latest studio album from Anathema is over. Since 2003’s ‘A Natural Disaster‘ we have waited for the next piece of beautiful darkness from the Liverpool melodic doomsters, and it seems that we have not been disappointed. ‘We’re Here Because We’re Here‘ is as sumptuous as we have come to expect from an Anathema album of late.
Whilst being a long way from their harder metal roots, this album follows the trend set in recent records towards a lighter and more melancholy sound. This definitely is another step closer to “mainstream” than even ‘A Natural Disaster‘, especially with tracks such as the elegant ‘Dreaming Light’, however, listeners shouldn’t see this as a bad thing. This album may be their most accessible (or commercial) album yet; however, it is still just as beautiful and memorable in a way that we have come to know and love of Anathema. Tracks such as the breathtaking ‘Summer Night Horizon’ really stand out with its fast pace and almost panicked rhythm drawing your ear.
‘Everything‘ sees Lee Douglas’ female vocals entwining perfectly with Vincent Cavanagh’s own. It is soft and warm, like basking in the summer sunshine, though Anathema’s own deep-dark brand of melancholy is still somewhat present thankfully. Meanwhile, ‘Presence’ uses samples to leave a somewhat chilled feeling behind. As the male vocals discuss death, the atmosphere created on this track is one of sadness but with a lighter edge hidden away with the repeated life is eternal.
As with other Anathema albums, there are plenty of Radiohead-influenced elements throughout, such as seen on ‘A Simple Mistake’, however, as usual, they move far beyond this comparison into stunning new territory. ‘A Simple Mistake’s building and plunging use of dynamics leave you feel emotionally drained yet satisfied and ‘Universal’s sumptuous strings and haunting atmosphere has Anathema’s trademark style stamped all over it. Closing track ‘Hindsight‘ is truly captivating and is the perfect instrumental way to end this musical journey in usual fashion.
The main fault with this album is that it seems to lack the extremes and harder edge of previous albums. Whilst ‘A Natural Disaster’ musically led the listener to deeper and darker levels, ‘We’re Here Because We’re Here‘ is not as adventurous and tends to stick to a particularly haunting yet totally familiar base, leaving tracks such as ‘Pulled Under At 2000 Metres A Second’ behind.
This album may not grab you in the same way that past work has but these well-crafted, captivating sounds that emerge here are a brilliant evolution of Anathema’s repertoire. With gorgeous harmonies, captivating melodies and a stubborn, lingering sense of melancholy, this album will still have you feeling excited over Anathema regardless of what path they choose to follow.
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