Anathema crafted a heavenly masterpiece with last year’s We’re Here Because We’re Here. Full of lush melodies, angelic harmonies, poignant lyrics, and beautiful music, the album is just about perfect. The group’s newest release, Falling Deeper, continues the exquisite brilliance of its predecessor. Although the record is majorly an instrumental collection, it acts as a blissful complement to Anathema’s finest achievement.
Spiritually, Falling Deeper is a follow-up to 2008’s Hindsight. In essence, the group has reworked some of their earliest material (pre Eternity) to fit in with their newer sound. One of the most remarkable traits of Anathema is how its music has evolved with nearly every album; they began in the mid 1990s as a doom metal band (including growls) and have since transformed into a majestic progressive/pop/rock act. As wonderful as Falling Deeper is on its own, the realjoy comes with comparing these remakes to their wholly different originals and appreciating how much Anathema’s sound has changed.
Because the album shares the same basic aesthetic throughout, it flows like one 38 minute piece (rather than a series of individual tracks). Throughout the record, mournful piano melts with sorrowful guitars while an abundance of strings invoke even more painful emotions. Basically, the entire album is arranged like a more somber and quiet version of the end crescendo of “Universal” from We’re Here Because We’re Here. If ever there was an album made for reflecting on all the things we’ve lost in our lives, this is it.
While the star of Falling Deeper is the music, some tracks still feature exquisite vocals. The first three tracks on Falling Deeperallow frontman Vincent Cavanagh’s voice to cover the music like a magnificent blanket of grief. On “Everwake” and “Alone,” Anneke van Giersbergen (who’s also worked with The Gathering, Devin Townsend, and Ayreon) continues to show why she’s one of the genre’s most adored female singers. Finally, Cavanagh returns for the album’s most direct melody on “Sunset of Age.” This track closes the album with great intensity and introspection.
Falling Deeper, like its predecessor, is much more than just the synthesis of notes, timbres, and voices; it’s a life-changing experience. While it’s a bit disappointing that Cavanagh does sing more often (since his voice is as affective as any other element), his contributions are still pivotal to the overall power of the music. This album is a perfect companion piece to We’re Here Because We’re Here, and collectively, with these two releases, Anathema have crafted some of the most beautiful and touching music I’ve everheard. Best of all, all signs indicate that for Anathema, this is just the beginning of a breathtaking new chapter (and sound) in its career.
For more on Anathema, check out Part 1 and Part 2 of my interview with Vincent Cavanagh!