Review: Anathema at the Engine Rooms, Southampton

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Anathema are a six piece progressive rock band from Liverpool, England. They formed in 1990 as a death/doom metal band, but after 10 studio albums, and a plethora of other releases they have settled on a mix of progressive, synth-y, rock music with beautiful and powerful vocals from both Vincent Cavanagh. Their current local-venue tour ended in Southampton on the 15th of November, before moving on to performing Wembley Arena in London as main support to Opeth.

The last time they came to Southampton in 2014, they played in the Talking Heads, but this time had moved up to the bigger venue at Engine Rooms. The audience was very diverse, from doom metal fans to progressive rock fans, from younger to older fans. It’s always great to have a diverse audience, it reminds the alternative community that whilst we all have our respective ‘favourite’ genres, there are some things that bring us all together and make us all the same.

Anathema played some brand new music during the gig, including experimenting with a song they’d not played in a particular way before. Daniel, the guitarist, joked “I hope you all like it… I hope I do too”. They also played some classic top hits such as Thin Air and A Simple Mistake. During the song A Natural Disaster, they had asked Joe, the lights technician for Engine Rooms, to turn off all the lights, so the audience could light up the room with the torches on their phones. They even played Closer, a song which requires a vocoder to distort the voice. The audience went crazy for it, hearing that sort of distortion live and unprocessed was fantastic.

It was a special two-hour set with no support acts, so they could play and experiment with their new music. Some of the new music they played may not even make it on to their new album, which will be released in May 2017. Their new music sounds like their most recent releases, with perhaps slightly more synth. One of the new songs is another in which co-vocalist Lee Douglas sings alone.

Throughout the show, Daniel and Vincent chatted to the audience, and it was honestly the most I’d ever seen a band speak during a set. It was actually really nice and felt like we were having more of an interaction with them than we would during a normal set. Overall it was a fantastic experience to see Anathema live, and hear them sounding just as beautiful as they are in their studio albums.

Anathema toured throughout November.

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