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Anathema: Universal

Album Review

Progressive post-metallers go live in suitably lush surroundings

When we talk about the evolution of metal, few artists will have journeyed as far as Anathema: a band who started out as one of the pioneers of the doom-death movement and gravitated to much lighter, post-progressive sounds.

Universal documents the Liverpudlian sextet at the dizzying heights of their Weather Systems tour, performing in the exquisite surroundings of an ancient Roman theatre with the Plovdiv Philharmonic Orchestra. And that’s not all of it. The visuals were directed by Porcupine Tree and Opeth collaborator Lasse Hoile, making for some truly world-class footage.

But most importantly, songs like Thin Air, Lightning Song and Flying show a band that have mastered the art of aural seduction, sculpting evocative manifestations with a heartaching brilliance that’s potent enough to reduce the most ardent Cannibal Corpse fan into floods of tears. Chief songwriter Daniel Cavanagh throws every inch of himself into the music, while vocals from Vincent Cavanagh and Lee Douglas intertwine to coalesce rich tapestries. A mesmerising feast.

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