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Monday, Mar 17, 2014
“Internal Landscapes” forces you to reflect on those you’ve lost, not just in terms of their absence, but in terms of what you shared with them when they were alive.

Over the past seven weeks, I’ve explored how and why Anathema’s latest opus, Weather Systems, is the most beautiful and touching album I’ve ever heard. Every one of its first eight sections is a luscious commentary on the sorrows and hopes that affect the human spirit. Be it the vast power of “The Gathering of the Clouds”, the universal truth of the “Untouchable” duo, or the crushing duality of “The Storm Before the Calm”, Weather Systems proves its immeasurable worth with each declaration. However, none of these efforts match the overwhelming emotion, reliability, and magnificence of the record’s last track, “Internal Landscapes”. A final reflection on the bond we shared with those who’ve left us, it’s among the most powerful pieces of music I’ve yet experienced. In fact, it’s one of only two songs that have literally left me frozen in place, speechless and shedding tears (the other being “Heartattack in a Layby” by Porcupine Tree).


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Monday, Mar 10, 2014
The penultimate track on "Weather Systems" is astoundingly powerful and dynamic.

Anathema has battered quite an emotional storm thus far on Weather Systems; each of the previous seven songs has managed to capture an aspect of the human condition with a level of confidence, beauty, and truth that is simply astounding. As you’d expect, the eighth (and second to last) track, “The Lost Child”, is another wonderful mesh of power, delicacy, poeticism, and raw sentiment. In a way, it’s the most surreal yet universal contribution to the record.


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Monday, Mar 3, 2014
Anathema goes for a more straightforward (though no less involving) approach on the seventh track from Weather Systems.

Looking back over the previous six tracks on Weather Systems, you’ll notice several exceptional examples of how Anathema uses the chaotic imbalance of nature to serve as a metaphor for the spectrum of human emotion. However, the record also has several great songs that stray from this idea, such as “The Beginning and the End”. In fact, it’s the first entry since “Untouchable Pt. II” to do this; however, this lack of overt thematic connection, as well as its relatively clear-cut approach, doesn’t damage its power or relevancy in the collection. Really, it’s one of the most plaintive and riveting pieces the group has ever crafted.


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Monday, Feb 24, 2014
The sixth song on Weather Systems is likely the most schizophrenic track Anathema has ever recorded, and it's a fine example of how inventive and diverse the group can be.

These days, it seems like bands are too content to repeat the same formula throughout their discographies; rather than offer something new with ever release, they pick an [un]original aesthetic and—for lack of a better phrase—simply drive it into the ground as their career developments. As I discussed in the introduction for this series, Anathema more or less does the exact opposite of this. The group consistently aims to implement as much innovation and surprise into its formula as possible, and the sixth song on Weather Systems, “The Storm Before the Calm”, is excellent proof of it. As its name suggests, it’s both a chaotic exploration and peaceful reaction to defeat. In fact, it’s arguably the most schizophrenic track Anathema ever recorded, as it feels like two distinct pieces blended together impeccably.


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Monday, Feb 17, 2014
The fourth and fifth songs on Anathema's latest masterpiece provide a calmer and more optimistic view on familiar thematic struggles.

In addition to a host of other remarkable qualities, Anathema’s Weather Systems is an album of exquisite dynamic and tonal deviation. The record features a constant shift between tranquil reflections and heated longing and acceptance; in fact, this approach serves as its own representation of our immense emotional spectrum. The last installment of this series explored that beautiful sonic apocalypse that is “The Gathering of the Clouds”, so it makes sense that the fourth and fifth pieces on the LP—”Lightning Song” and ”Sunlight”—strive for a calmer, more peaceful aesthetic overall. They’re not totally serene, but they’re definitely more hopeful and overtly soothing than the preceding trio.


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