Anathema: Hindsight

Ignoring the DVD releases, A Moment In Time in 2006 and Were You There? in 2003 (for now, anyway), it’s been a goddamned while since we’ve heard a peep from Liverpool’s Anathema. 2003 was their last proper release, A Natural Disaster, before the inward collapse of the Music For Nations label, and five years is the longest time period between Anathema releases since their first release in 1995.

Still, in terms of proper releases, it’s just going to be a little longer. While both A Moment In Time and Were You There? prominently featured songs from Judgement, A Fine Day To Exit and A Natural Disaster, Hindsight is just one last dip into that time period before the band moves on, ostensibly, in the fall with the much-anticipated Horizons.

But we’re here for Hindsight, a collection of ‘acoustic re-workings’ from various points of the band’s catalog, well back to 1996’s Eternity for “Angelica.” By and large, however, the material hasn’t changed beyond a slightly more earthy, less produced tone, but the band are no less lush than they’ve ever been, and for all the acoustic-ness of Hindsight, there’s some electronics here and there. You know it, brothers Cavanaugh.

For all my tongue-in-cheek bashing the album, however, it contains glorious renditions of the aforementioned “Angelica,” “Fragile Dreams,” “Are You There?” et al. There’s not a bad cut, but the most stunning is a mandolin-driven reworking of “Flying.” And as far as the arbitrary acoustic measurement, it is an intimate listen, with Vincent Cavanaugh’s breath occasionally right on the microphone, but all the takes are superb.

And the clincher is the never-before-released “Unchained” finishing up the disc.

In A Word: Enervating