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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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Monday, Feb 10, 2014
The third track from Weather Systems offers extremely beautiful and intricate vocal arrangements, as well as heavenly musical complements.

Music is most powerful when the result is greater than the sum of its parts. There’s something wondrous about the way a combination of sounds can create an entirely arresting and therapeutic experience; you can analyze each element and deconstruct every formation (as I’ve promised to do in this series), but like the miracle of life, knowing how it all works doesn’t quite explain the magic of why it works so well (if that makes sense). As I’ve said before, such is the case with Weather Systems, a record on which every moment is just about perfect.

While the first two songs on the album—“Untouchable Pt. I” and “Untouchable Pt. II”—do an amazing job exemplifying how a combination of instrumentation, lyrics, and production techniques form a elegantly poignant journey, the full-length’s third track, “The Gathering of the Clouds”, is on a different level entirely. It’s arguably the album’s most intricate offering, as well as the first of several ingenious weather metaphors that tie together most of the songs. “The Gathering of the Clouds” never ceases to make my jaw drop.

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Monday, Feb 3, 2014
The first two tracks off of Weather Systems serve as the first of many emotional rollercoasters, bursting with touching lyrics and gripping arrangements.

In my introduction to this series, I said that Weather Systems is the most beautiful, affective, and honest record I’ve ever heard, so before I get into the dissection of the music itself, I’d like to begin by discussing the first time I ever heard it (as I often do when I introduce it to people). Many have said that my voice commands conviction, humility, and awe as I tell the story, like I’m speaking of a cherished religious text or a life-altering experience. They’re certainly onto something with the latter quip.

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