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Going into this album, I had no idea what to expect. Prior to listening to it, the only things I had heard by Anathema were Eternity and the first song from Serenades. Other than that, all I really knew about Anathema was that they used to be this really heavy death/doom band and then got really soft and emotional. Now, that's not necessarily a bad thing. Tiamat also went through a major change in sound from Sumerian Cry to their newer gothic/atmospheric stuff and I find all of their work to be enjoyable. To say the least, I wasn't expecting a cespool of sellout garbage from this album.
After a few listens, I'd have to say that this album is fantastic. It has pretty much everything one would want from this type of music. Excellent and somewhat minimalistic competitions with emotional and soothing vocal performances from every singer steal the show with Weather Systems. This album something to be felt and experienced, not just listened to. Lyrically, the band manages to capture a perfect combination of sadness, hope, and longing that merges with the music perfectly. It's also worth noting that the lyrics in some songs have this parallelism that flows very well and eliminates any abruptness that could distort the music.
Speaking of distortion, some of the most orgasmic moments on the album are when they come in with some light distortion on the riffs. A notable moment would be near the end of "Lightning Song." For the most part, the distorted riffs seem to be in the vein of what happens when pop punk bands try to be emotional. The main difference here is that when Anathema does it, it's damn effective and actually emotional. I also like the fact that these passages are used sparingly enough that they maintain their punch every time they come in.
A few songs on the album really stood out to me. "Gathering of the Clouds" caught my interest quickly with its mournful introduction that soon morphs into a mystifying acoustic melody with vocal harmonies that tug at the strings of your soul. The song evolves on itself and starts adding some strings in the background. And then there's the final song, "Internal Landscapes." The introduction and conclusion of that song is one of the creepiest things I've ever heard. And at the same time, it's also one of the most inntriguing and calming things I've ever heard. It's a man talking about his own suicide and then describing the feeling of death. It sets an interesting mood for the song that kept my attentions for the whole thing.
So, if you didn't figure it out already, I really like this album. The only real flaw I can find is that at a few moments it gets a bit too emotional, not enough to ruin the whole thing, and the bass never really stood out for me. Overall, I'd definitely recommend getting this album if you can appreciate softer music.