Anathema- A Natural Disaster (Koch)
review by Derek Perduta

Track Listing

1. Harmonium
2. Balance
3. Closer
4. Are You There?
5. Childhood Dream
6. Pulled Under At 2000 Metres A Second
7. A Natural Disaster
8. Flying
9. Electricity
10. Violence

Often when the media give a classification, or 'label', to an artist or group, it is something that sticks with them for a long time, whether the artist likes it or not. During the early days of Anathema, they were lumped in with other Doom Metal bands, and deservedly so. The first half dozen years of their existence produced some of the best albums of the genre- The Silent Enigma, Eternity and Pentacost III all come to mind.

I don't doubt that even today they are still a 'metal' band in the eyes of the music media. But since the release of Alternative 4 in 1998, the band have taken steps off the well-beaten path of their genre, exploring new grounds both lyrically and musically. Now the music began to fit the lyrics and not the other way around. A softer, more melodic approach has permeated their style, certainly not to say that they couldn't belt out heavy riffs when needed. Their vocals, handled mainly by Vinny Cavanagh since 1995's The Silent Enigma, has emerged slowly from the gruff growling of their early days to smoother harmonies and a broader range. Touches of the amazing Jeff Buckley can be heard in many a track.

I'm tempted to label them with a word that by dictionary definition works: Progressive (defined by Webster as: Moving forward or onward - Advancing.). I know, I know! That word is reserved for bands such as Yes, early Genesis, Transatlantic, Spock's Beard and an uncountable slew of others. So instead, let's veer away from the 'Progressive' genre label and instead say they are experiencing musical evolution first hand (Evolution as defined by Webster: A process of continuous change from a lower, simpler, or worse to a higher, more complex, or better state.). To this reviewer's ears, a perfect description.

Anathema's latest effort, A Natural Disaster, is once again a sonic treat, musically and lyrically exploring the dark side of the human soul. The theme revolves around life, death and love with a brief glimpse of new birth. The first trio of songs ('Harmonium', 'Balance', 'Closer') introduce you to a life full of anxiety, of building guilt with a haunting realization of life's path chosen poorly. The lyric "I was floating in the water - something tried to pull me under" lingered with me. To counterbalance the rising distress of our lost soul are a few beautifully sung tracks, two by Danny Cavanagh ('Are You There?' and 'Electricity') and one by guest vocalist Lee Douglas. Danny's lilting voice, aching with emotion, is perfectly suited for these songs of lost love and regret. Amid this sadness is the promise of new life, as witnessed in the brief track 'Childhood Dream'. This one is a striking, yet sparse piece consisting of fine guitar and piano, with the sound of a child at blissful play. I caught myself flashing through images of my own childhood and of watching my own son at play: a treasure. Any joy brought by this piece is short lived as the journey continues into the raucous 'Pulled Under At 2000 Metres A Second'. Whatever it was under the water in 'Harmonium', catches up to this poor soul and thrashes him senseless. The band comes fully together here creating a thunderous torrent of sound, We are witness to Vinny's grinding vocals being tossed along for the violent ride. A shadowy nightmare of paranoia envelops our lost soul and takes him on a white knuckled trip to all the dark places in life. Lee handles the title track, lending her silky voice as the counterpart to 'Are You There?'. The sense of guilt is tangible here as her long-failed love continues to haunt her. Reparation is hopeless. 'Flying' is a another powerful track, bringing closure to our lost soul. With the line "Strange how life makes sense in time", the character seems to feel life again for the first time. It is as though the fog has lifted from his eyes and life's possibilities are laid before him. 'Electricity' follows, an epiphany for our man as he sees through his lost love's eyes and accepts the tragic events that befell them. The closing track is an instrumental of the band showing their range. They skillfully weave together a quiet introduction, building to a tumultuous crescendo, only to drift away into a long passage that could easily be the ending credits for some sci-fi flick. All in all a fantastic, emotional piece of music tied to the essence of what life is all about. Living with the inevitable pitfalls, loving the best way you can love and always looking towards your goals.

The cd cover art, by Travis Smith, with its creepy post-holocaust feel is the perfect accompaniment for the harsher bleak tracks on this release. Not so for the forlorn numbers. A Natural Disaster was one of my favs for 2003 and I now wait anxiously for the DVD being produced from a show that that took place in January in Krakow Poland.

marillion- happiness is the road
tilt- million dollar wound
mickey simmonds- the seven colours of emptiness
ukz- radiation
pain of salvation - scarsick
icon- icon II, icon live
the pineapple thief- tightly unwound
planet p project- levittown (go out dancing part II)
nosound- lightdark
dengue fever- venus on earth
art of all- morgan
marillion- somewhere else
abigails ghost- selling insincerity
blackfield- blackfield II
damien rice- 9
the who- endless wire
the beach boys- good vibrations
the pineapple thief- little man
the killers- sam's town
tom petty- highway companion
hem- funnel cloud
emm gryner- the summer of high hopes
jeremy enigk- world waits
razorlight- razorlight
gps- window to the soul
iron maiden- a matter of life and death
thom yorke- the eraser
richard butler- richard butler
the flaming lips- at war with the mystics
ray davies- other people's live
david gilmour- on an island
nosound- sol29
jackson browne- running on empty 5.1
neal morse- ?
king crimson- 21st century guide to king crimson
shriekback- cormorant
depeche mode- playing the angel
pallas- the dreams of men
my morning jacket- z
riverside- second life syndrome
roger waters- ca ira
various artists- backs against the wall
riverside- out of myself
sigur ros- takk
killers- hot fuss
queen + paul rodgers- return of the champions
journey- generations
yes- the word is live
emmylou harris- heartaches & highways
van der graaf generator- remaster series
rob dickinson- fresh wine for the horses
annie- anniemal
dredg- catch without arms
foo fighters- in your honor
dream theater- octavarium
belle and sebastian- push barman to open old wounds
the go-betweens- oceans apart
porcupine tree- up the downstair (remaster 2005)
coldplay- x & y
nine inch nails- with teeth
aimee mann- the forgotten arm
van der graaf generator- present
christopher o'riley- hold me to this
glen phillips- winter pays for summer
new order- waiting for the siren's call
ben folds- songs for silverman
john doe- forever hasn't happened yet
trashcan sinatras- fez
adrian belew- side one
kaki king - legs to make us longer
longview- mercury
stereophonics- language. sex. violence. other?
for against- echelons
over the rhine- drunkard's prayer
kathleen edwards- back to me
kasabian- kasabian
porcupine tree- deadwing
the wedding present- take fountain
super furry animals - songbook
arena- pepper's ghost
snow patrol- final straw
rpwl- world through my eyes
tori amos- the beekeeper
kino- picture
monarch- the grandeur that was rome
spocks beard- octane
the wonder stuff- escape from rubbish island
richard barbieri- things buried
the pineapple thief- 12 stories down
the pineapple thief- 8 days later
the innoncence mission- now the day is over
zero 7- when it falls
pain of salvation- be
california guitar trio- white water
jelly jam- 2
tim bowness- my hotel year
van halen- the best of both worlds
glen burtnik- welcome to hollywood
charlie mars- charlie mars
porcupine tree- voyage 34 (2004 remaster)
saint etienne- travel edition
lanterna- highways review
hellboys- cha cha with the hellboys review
persona non grata- the fine art of living review
tegan and sara- so jealous review
guadalcanal diary- 2x4 reissue review
voices in the wire- signals in transmission review
roger waters- to kill a child/ leaving beirut review
luna- rendezvous review
jim white- drill a hole in that substrate and tell me what you see review
the drive-by truckers- the dirty south review
the blue nile - high review
lovedrug- pretend you're alive review
twilight singers- she loves you review
keane- hope and fears review
winds- the imaginary direction of time review
kristeen young- x review
asia- silent nation review
macha- forget tomorrow review
crystal method- legion of boom dvd-audio review
kevin moore- ghost book review
marillion- don't hurt yourself singles review
attrition- dante's kitchen review
rush- feedback review
tortoise- it's all around you review
division of laura lee- does not compute review
peccatum- lost in reverie review
iq- dark matter review
bass communion- ghosts on magnetic tape review
the push stars- paint the town review
virgin black- elegant... and dying review
marillion- marbles review
the streets- a grand don't come for free review
the veils- the runaway found review
all about eve- let me go home review
john young band- live review
mary lou lord- baby blue review
the divine comedy- absent friends review
pink floyd- the final cut (2004 remaster) review
prot-kaw- before became after review
jeffrey gaines live review
mocean worker- enter the mowo review
starsailor- silence is easy review
pineapple thief- variations review
lloyd cole- music in a foreign language review
david sylvian- blemish review
spock's beard- feel euphoria eview
guy manning- press pack sampler review
magellan- impossible figures review
the tangent- the music that died alone review
john gorka- live from grace church photos and review
hothouse flowers- into your heart review
charlotte martin- on your shore review
rasputina- frustration plantation review
stellastarr*- stellastarr* review
vast- nude review
sparks- lil' beethoven review
the damnwells- bastards of the beat review
dave gahan- paper monsters review
king crimson- power to believe review
fish- field of crows review
porcupine tree- in absentia dvd-audio review
new model army- great expectations review
antimatter- unreleased 1998 - 2003 review
catie curtis: dreaming in romance languages review
the gathering- sleepy buildings review
twilight singers play blackberry belle review
vienna teng- warm strangers review
opeth- lamentations dvd review
courtney love- america's sweetheart review
blackfield review
anathema- a natural disaster review
nearfest 2003 coverage
neal morse solo photos- metuchen, nj
porcupine tree broadcast
alpha- stargazing review
david sylvian at the tla
emm gryner at the point
barry andrews at the tin angel
tweaker:2 am wakeup call review
cure- join the dots review
fish live from the tla with john wesley
spearhead- everyone deserves music review
miles hunt (wonderstuff) live

full archives coming soon!


Studio M Live
818 North Market St, Suite 2R
Wilmington, DE 19801



Copyright © 1997-2004 Studio M Live, Inc. All rights reserved. All content on is owned by Studio M Live and may not be reproduced without written permission. Please contact us if you have any questions regarding this policy. If you are looking for Custom Injection Molding you are at the wrong site, and should really be at Applied Tech Products.