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Anathema - "Hindsight" (CD)

Anathema - "Hindsight" CD cover image

"Hindsight" track listing:

1. Fragile Dreams (5:30)
2. Leave No Trace (4:52)
3. Inner Silence (3:40)
4. One Last Goodbye (6:03)
5. Are You There? (5:18)
6. Angelica (5:00)
7. A Natural Disaster (6:20)
8. Temporary Peace (5:10)
9. Flying (6:27)
10. Unchained (Tales Of The Unexpected) (4:18)

Reviewed by on October 16, 2009

"Major fans of prog may enjoy 'Hindsight' for a listen or two, but the album does not have the X factor that would make you want to keep coming back for more."

The UK band Anathema has been around for some time and has managed to greatly evolve over the years, at least musically speaking. The one thing that has remained the same is the goth/dark-like influence that makes this progressive band distinct. The album “Hindsight” is a compilation of re-recorded tracks from previous Anathema albums.

While listening to the first track, “Fragile Dreams,” the sound quality is immediately noticeable and should impress listeners who care about quality in a band's sound. The track itself is a very mellow and beautiful song that carries the emotion that this band has maintained. For a comparison, I would say this band has the same kind of dark emotion in their music that Opeth places into their mellow songs. The second track “Leave No Trace” follows right where the opening track leaves off. The track is slightly more upbeat, but still possesses a beautiful musical bleakness.

The third track, “Inner Silence,” has A Perfect Circle meets Porcupine Tree musical vibe to it. While that sounds interesting, the song is one of the weaker tracks on the album. I say this only because the vocals are bland and the song is not very dynamic. The album at this point takes more of a Gothic tone. This tone is evident on “One Last Goodbye.” I must admit that the original version has much more power behind it and was more epic sounding, which makes this track a disappointment. Granted, it fits with this mellow compilation, but I still feel as if its original was much better.

Midway through the album, it is apparent that this is by no means a metal album. While Anathema started off as a Gothic/doom metal band, this career has taken a much mellower path and some metals fans have gladly followed, while others have left the band. The fifth track “Are You There?” redeems the album in a major way. This is probably the best track on the whole album. Anathema’s mellow nature is at its peak with this track and the layers of the music are very pleasing to the ears.

“Angelica” is not too bad either. This song reminds me of Opeth in many ways, mostly due to the guitar work. “A Natural Disaster” is the first track on this album to showcase female vocals. Like "One Last Goodbye," "A Natural Disaster" falls short of the original. The only positive of this song is that the female vocals are very good.

The final tracks of the album are well done and have a nice sound to them, concluding the album on a good note. Any Anathema fan would understand the mellow nature the band has taken. The main issue with this album is that some of the songs sounded better in their original form. Now remastering the tracks might have improved them (think of how much Meshuggah’s “Nothing” improved), but re-doing them did not seem to work out. Overall, if Anathema is a very important band to you, then you should enjoy this album. Major fans of prog may enjoy "Hindsight" for a listen or two, but the album does not have the X factor that would make you want to keep coming back for more.

Highs: Some tracks have really well done sections.

Lows: The album does not seem to have a lasting effect on the listener.

Bottom line: If you are a diehard fan, then you may like it. If you have never heard of the band before, then don't check this out.

Rated 2 out of 5 skulls
2 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)