Sunday, August 11, 2013

Anathema: Universal (coming soon)

By Michael J.W. Stickings

On September 23, the great post-prog label Kscope is releasing Anathema's Universal, a four-disc set (2 CD, DVD, Blu-ray) of the band's September 2012 show at the ancient Roman theater in Plovdiv, Bulgaria (also known by its Greek name, Philippopolis), with the Plovdiv Philharmonic Orchestra. It was filmed by Lasse Hoile, best known for his work with Porcupine Tree and Steven Wilson's solo projects, and it looks like it'll be fantastic even on TV.

Don't know Anathema? Seriously, you're missing out on an incredible band. I've blogged about them twice, posting clips of two of their best songs, "Untouchable, Part 1" and "A Natural Disaster," and here's what I wrote about them in the first of those posts: 

Now on the post-prog Kscope label, Anathema started out in the early '90s as a death/doom metal band and only later, particularly with 1999's Judgement, morphed into the prog rock superpower it is today. I first became a fan after the release of A Fine Day to Exit in 2001, but I lost track of them a bit after that. A Natural Disaster (2003) was good, We're Here Because We're Here, mixed by Porcupine Tree's Steven Wilson, was better (and their best album up to that time), but it's the amazing Weather Systems that has truly brought me back.

The winner of Prog magazine's 2012 Critics' Choice award for best album (third in the Readers' Poll, with Anathama named Band of the Year), Weather Systems is a challenging and deeply moving album about the inevitability of death and the capacity of love if not to overcome then at least to comfort us in the face of mortality. Some may find it overwrought, I find it glorious.

Universal is from the Weather Systems tour, which is bringing Anathema to North America in September and October.

They really are awesome. Enjoy the trailer, but go listen to their music.

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