Anathema (band)

Anathema (band)

Infobox musical artist |
Name = Anathema

Img_capt = Anathema Live at Festimad 2007, 8 June 2007
Img_size = 250
Landscape = yes
Background = group_or_band
Origin = Liverpool, England
Years_active = 1990–present
Label = Peaceville, Music For Nations
Associated_acts = Antimatter, Cradle of Filth, My Dying Bride, Serotonal, The Blood Divine
URL = []
Current_members = Vincent Cavanagh
Daniel Cavanagh
Jamie Cavanagh
Les Smith
John Douglas
Lee Douglas
Past_members =

Anathema are an English band from the city of Liverpool, which, together with Paradise Lost and My Dying Bride, helped to develop the death/doom sound, a subgenre of doom metal. However, their album "Eternity" was a departure from doom and metal, and signaled their transition to atmospheric rock.


Anathema was formed in 1990 as a doom metal band, initially under the name 'Pagan Angel'. In November of that year, the band recorded their first demo, entitled "An Iliad of Woes". This demo caught the attention of several bands from the English metal scene, allowing Anathema to play gigs with bands like Bolt Thrower and Paradise Lost.

At the beginning of 1991, the band adopted its current name, and gained a lot of attention with the release of their second demo entitled "All Faith Is Lost," resulting in a four-album deal with Peaceville Records. Their first release under the label was "The Crestfallen" EP in November 1992. They took the material from that album on the road, touring with Cannibal Corpse.

"Serenades," Anathema's debut LP, attracted a lot of mainstream attention, propelling their "Sweet Tears" music video onto the MTV playlist.

Anathema's first European tour was in 1994, and was closely followed by gigs at the Independent Rock Festival in Brazil.

In May 1995, vocalist Darren White parted with the band, eventually forming The Blood Divine. Rather than recruiting a new vocalist, the band decided that guitarist Vincent Cavanagh should assume White's role. This new formation debuted by touring with Cathedral in the United Kingdom.

The release of "Eternity" came in 1996, relying more on atmospheric sounds, and starting the transition to clean vocals; the album "Judgement" would later consolidate this style. A European tour followed the album's release.

The second member to leave the band was drummer John Douglas, who departed in the summer of 1997. He was replaced by Shaun Taylor-Steels, formerly of Solstice, who would also later play drums for My Dying Bride.

"Alternative 4" was released in 1998. During this time the band underwent many line-up changes. Bassist Duncan Patterson quit due to musical differences and was replaced by Dave Pybus of Dreambreed, where Duncan had played bass for a short period. Martin Powell (who had played keyboards and violin for My Dying Bride previously) also joined the band. Finally, John Douglas returned to the drums.

In June 1999, the album "Judgement" was released, marking Anathema's complete shift from the doom metal genre, focusing instead on slower and more experimental songs. This new sound has been likened to artists such as Pink Floyd, Jeff Buckley, and to a lesser extent, Radiohead. However, the essence of the band remained the same. Their songs continued to express a feeling of depression and, more often than not, desperation.

During the same year Martin Powell switched positions with Cradle of Filth's keyboardist Les Smith, who came to be an integral member of Anathema.

Shortly before the release of "A Fine Day to Exit", Dave Pybus announced his departure from the band and later joined - ironically - Cradle of Filth. He was replaced by touring bassist George Roberts, and later by Jamie Cavanagh.

In March 2002, Daniel Cavanagh announced his departure from the band, joining Duncan Patterson's band Antimatter. However, he later rejoined Anathema in 2003 for the release of "A Natural Disaster", and started their European Tour. This accelerated the changes in Anathema's tone, towards the atmospheric and progressive, as exhibited in album tracks 'Flying' and 'Violence'.

Upon the closing of their label Music for Nations after its purchase by Sony BMG, Anathema found itself without a record label, despite having completed an extensive tour of the UK with popular Finnish rock band HIM in April 2006. During their search for a new label, the band have adopted a more 'DIY' approach to music release, embracing the internet and releasing songs via their own website, for which fans may donate a monetary sum of their own choice. Despite the obvious lack of label-based tour support, the band continues to play dates across Europe, guitarist Danny Cavanagh also playing the odd low-key acoustic concert.

The band's newest album was originally to be titled "Everything".Fact|date=May 2008 Its release date has been pushed back several times, sparking much controversy and speculation amongst fans. In August 2007, Danny Cavanagh responded by posting a blog to the bands myspace page, announcing that the new material would be played on a full European tour prior to it being recorded, and that the new album, now tentatively titled "Paradigm Shift",Fact|date=May 2008 would consist of perhaps fourteen songs broken up over two discs. During a concert in London he said that Steven Wilson of Porcupine Tree would produce the new album. In May it was announced that recording for the new album, undergoing yet another name change to be titled "Horizons", was well under way. They are playing alongside Paradise Lost and My Dying Bride on 19th September 2008 at London Forum, they will then do a headline tour at various venues around the UK starting in Manchester on 4th November 2008 and going on to play the Islington Academy, London on 7th November.

Band members

Current members

* Vincent Cavanagh - Vocals, Rhythm Guitar (1990-Present)
* Daniel Cavanagh - Lead Guitar (1990-2002, 2003-Present) (Lid, Antimatter, Leafblade)
* Jamie Cavanagh - Bass (1990-1991, 2001-Present)
* Les Smith - Keyboards (2000-Present) (ex-Cradle Of Filth, Antimatter, Ship of Fools)
* John Douglas - Drums (1990-1997, 1998-Present)
* Lee Douglas - Vocals (2000-Present)

Former members

* Darren White - Vocals (1990-1995) (ex-Cradle of Filth, The Blood Divine, Dead Men Dream, Serotonal)
* Duncan Patterson - Bass, keyboards (1991-1998) (ex-Antimatter, Dreambreed, Íon)
* Shaun Taylor-Steels - Drums (1997-1998) (ex-Solstice (UK), ex-My Dying Bride)
* Martin Powell - Keyboards, violin (1998-2000) (ex-My Dying Bride, ex-Cradle of Filth, ex-Cryptal Darkness)
* Dave Pybus - Bass (1998-2001) (Dreambreed, Angtoria, Cradle of Filth, Darkened (UK))


Studio albums

*"Serenades" (1993)
*"The Silent Enigma" (1995)
*"Eternity" (1996)
*"Alternative 4" (1998)
*"Judgement" (1999)
*"A Fine Day to Exit" (2001)
*"A Natural Disaster" (2003)


*"An Iliad of Woes" (1990)
*"All Faith Is Lost" (1991)


*"The Crestfallen" (1992)
*"Pentecost III" (1995)
*"Alternative Future" (1998)


*"They Die" (1992)
*"We Are the Bible" (1994)
*"Deep" (1999)
*"Make It Right" (1999)
*"Pressure" (2001)
*"Everything" (2006)
*"A Simple Mistake" (2006)
*"Angels Walk Among Us" (2007)


*"Resonance" (2001)
*"Resonance 2" (2002)
*"Hindsight" (2008)


Promo video

* "Sweet Tears" (1993, from album "Serenades")
* "Mine Is Yours" (1994, from album "Pentecost III")
* "The Silent Enigma" (1995, from album "The Silent Enigma")
* "Hope" (1996, from album "Eternity")
* "Pressure" (2001, from album "A Fine Day to Exit")

Official live

*"A Vision Of A Dying Embrace" (74 min, VHS in 1997 and DVD in 2002, Peaceville)
*"Were You There?" (DVD, 2004, Music for Nations)
*"A Moment in Time" (DVD, 2006)


*"Live in London, U.K." (35 min., Bootleg, 07.11.1992)
*"Live In Istanbul/TURKEY"
*"Live in Geneve" (50 min, Bootleg, 23.01.1994)
*"Live in Czech" (60 min, Bootleg, 13.11.1994)
*"Live in Białystok, Poland" (30 min, Bootleg, February,1994)


* Cite book |last=Baddeley |first=Gavin |title=Gothic Chic: A Connoisseur's Guide to Dark Culture |publisher=Plexus Publishing Limited |date=2002 |location=London |isbn=0859653080


External links

* [ Anathema] (official website)
* [ Official Anathema page] at Myspace
* [ Reviews and interviews] at Chronicles of Chaos
* [ Live Footage and Video Interview from the 2008 Unplugged Show in Bucharest]

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