Monday, July 29, 2013

Anathema - Alternative 4 (1998)

This is as limp wristed as it gets. It never fails to blow my mind everytime someone refers to this album as one of the band's better works. At least up until whatever the fuck the band put out after 'Judgment', this is by far their weakest entry.

I actually didn't mind 'Eternity'. I thought that it was a pretty damn good album, though you'd have to be Stevie Wonder not to see that there was trouble in the White House. Much of the bottom heavy doom from the band's previous releases was significantly stripped down in favor of a more "emotional" (gasp) aesthetic. The problem with that is, this is usually a harbinger of a vast and rapidly approaching storm of homosexuality, which is precisely what came thundering 'round the bend with the release of 'Alternative 4'.

Honestly, if the songs were nearly as decent as those on 'Eternity' or 'Judgement', I wouldn't have minded the distance the band put between themselves and their early, doom incarnation. Unfortunately, the songs just aren't here, coupled with the fact that the production is super sterile, nary a semblance of depth to found nor heard.

I will say, that the middle verse of 'Fragile Dreams' (maybe I always knew... etc.) is definitely one of the better sections the band has conjured fourth during their lengthy career. Unfortunately, nothing else lives up to the staggering and beloved hype that smothers the reputation of this record.

Personally, I feel that Anathema's next studio foray, 'Judgement', would be a far better representation of the band's songwriting prowess.

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