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Along with the dawn of an era, behold the dawn of a great band. Ladies and gentlemen, let me present you Anathema. Yes, I know this ain’t their debut album, but definitely it is the first one that can stand proudly next to “Silent Enigma”, “Alternative 4” and “Eternity” (since we’re talking metal here. Their alternative era is another glorious tale).
In 1994, and according to the booklet, a tragedy befell over the band members. If I am no wrong, some friend of theirs died in a car accident while he was way too young. This unfortunate event created this beast-dressed-in-black called “Pentecost III”. This album could truly be the soundtrack of a funeral ceremony. It is the most intense, obscure, grieving album I’ve ever laid ears on. The psychological condition of the band is absolutely reflected in these 5 songs of woe and sadness, while “Kingdom” starts the funeral march with its acoustical, dreamy intro. It begins to build up then with the entrance of heavy, low tuned guitars following the same rhythm as the intro, while Darren White wails his way in. And so the bleak voyage begins.
Good Lord, this guy is exceptional. His vocals truly show the voice of a man who mourns the loss of a beloved one. He is ripping my heart apart every time I listen to this album. His lyrics are also in the spirit, desperate, agonizing, obscure and doomy.
“Kingdom” moves his way further, as White speaks the famous “Only when tightened beyond recall….” verse. By that time, the Cavanagh bros begin to show their guitar potential with a MARVELLOUS, SPLENDID riff that begins to emerge through the ashes of the grave. The song meets its crescendo with White crying out the end, and by the end of the nine minutes, you are left astonished with the power and the desperation that this band can express. “Mine Is Yours To Drown In” is another really great song, and while it cannot be compared to “Kingdom” or “We, The Gods”, its quality is not to be underestimated. And then, there was despair. “We, The Gods” starts and begins to tear up everything in its way. Harsh power or a mournful cry to God, an elegy of bitter tears or a destructive symphony of nihilism? I really can’t answer that question, I just listen to that song over and over again. I suggest the same.
The drapery falls with the short instrumental “Pentecost III” and then the glorious “Memento Mori”, a song that is probably even more woeful than the previous ones. More doomy, less melodic, heavier and harshier, Darren White shows his deathmetal roots here with growling vocals and lyrics that bring images of loss, death and unstoppable mourning.
To sum up then. Anathema have two eras, two styles, aye? If we accept (accept it, this the sheer truth) that the end of their first era, “The Silent Enigma” is the best of that one, then “Pentecost III” gets the silver medal with no particular perspiration, easily. Its emotion, its deep pain really get you entangled in a obscure journey through desperation, death and tormenting life. And since I have already told too much, one word is enough to describe this one: Desperation.