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Anathema – Serenades


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The Haunting, melancholic, monolithic full length debut of Anathema begins with an eerie keyboard briefly before the full heaviness of this monster of a record crushes you immediately. Darren White first soothes with his whisper, and then smothers you with his all-encompassing growl. Lovelorn Rhapsody sloth’s along very melancholically with its memorable chorus (listen for the keyboards just below the surface). The only weakness of this track is the fast part at the end which sounds awkward, almost out of place and somewhat lacking in spirit. Sweet Tears begins with a rather traditional metal riff but that's where tradition ends. This track is made memorable with the haunting melody of the main riff and the eerie outro. This sets the stage for the contrast piece Jai Fait Une Promesse. The song is a folky dirge with beautiful female vocals. The fading outro sets the stage for ultimate dirge and depressing They (Will Always) Die. Watch for the beautiful outro, with a haunting guitar melody and keyboards to boot. Next is the more commercial sounding Sleepless. It’s a good song and fits in rather well with the album despite the fact it actually maintains a mid-paced speed throughout. Although Its not the masterpiece its hyped to be. Another heart stopping dirge is next with Sleep in Sanity. The guitar melodies are what carry this song and make it song memorable. Darren's growls are as always perfect. A slight psychedelic influence appears in the one minute Scars of the Oldstream (perhaps foreshadowing their newer material) it fits in well as a prologue for Under a Veil (Of Black Lace). This song is heartbreaking. I love the acoustic bit after the second chorus. The album ends with the rather unremarkable instrumental Where Shadows Dance. I must say that one of my favourite elements of this album are Darren White's lyrics which transcend typical metal lyrics into the realm of poetry. Some might say his voice is weak but I feel it fits the material well. Darren would be around until the Pentecost III EP and then he left (or got fired from) Anathema and continued onto less memorable projects. Overall this is an essential album for anyone into Doom-Death. Anyone wishing to get into Doom-Death as well as the Peaceville ‘Big Three’ of early 90s Doom owes it to themselves to get this album. Track listing: 1. Lovelorn Rhapsody 2. Sweet Tears 3. Jai Fait Une Promesse 4. They (Will Always) Die 5. Sleepless 6. Sleep In Insanity 7. Scars Of The Old Stream 8. Under A Veil (Of Black Lace) 9. Where Shadows Dance 10. Dreaming The Romance

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