Live at Festimad 2007, 8 June 2007
|Pagan Angel (1990)|
|Origin||Liverpool, Merseyside, England|
|Labels||Peaceville, Music for Nations, Kscope|
|Cradle of Filth, Antimatter, Porcupine Tree, Steven Wilson, HIM, Anneke van Giersbergen|
Anathema are a British rock band from Liverpool. The line-up consists of singers and guitarists Vincent and Daniel Cavanagh, their brother Jamie Cavanagh on bass, Lee Douglas as singer, and keyboardist/drummer Daniel Cardoso since November 2012.
The band was founded as Pagan Angel in 1990 by the three Cavanagh siblings, drummer John Douglas, and singer Darren White, as a death/doom band. At the time White was the only singer of the band. The following year, Jamie left and was replaced by Duncan Patterson. Under this line-up, Anathema released their first EP, The Crestfallen (1992), and their first album, Serenades (1993). However, White left in 1995; Vincent decided to act as Anathema's vocalist in addition to his guitarist function in the albums The Silent Enigma (1995) and Eternity (1996), which were going into a more gothic metal direction.
In 1997, John left the band, and was replaced by Shaun Steels for the album Alternative 4 (1998). Both Patterson and Steels left the same year, replaced by Dave Pybus and a returning John Douglas, while former My Dying Bride keyboardist and violinist Martin Powell also joined the band (Daniel Cavanagh was also acting as the band's only keyboardist, and shared this position since). The only album released with this line-up was Judgement (1999): the same year Powell switched positions with Cradle of Filth's keyboardist Les Smith who joined Anathema, and Lee Douglas, John's sister, was added to the line-up as a backing and occasional lead vocalist.
The band released their sixth album A Fine Day to Exit in 2001, turning to an alternative sound. Shortly after the release, Pybus announced his departure and was replaced by the band's original bassist, Jamie Cavanagh, reuniting the three brothers in the band for the first time since 1991. There were no new members for the next ten years, with the albums A Natural Disaster (2003) and We're Here Because We're Here (2010) all being recorded and released by the same line-up, with the sound turning even more towards progressive rock; however, Daniel Cavanagh left Anathema in 2002 to join Antimatter, returning in 2003. Smith left Anathema in 2011, and Vincent and Daniel both assumed the function of keyboardist for the band's ninth album, Weather Systems, in 2012. The same year, Cardoso, the band's live keyboardist since 2011, joined as a full-time member.
Anathema formed in 1990 as a doom metal band, initially going by 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 and labels from the English metal scene.
At the beginning of 1991, the band 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, and released The Silent Enigma soon after to rave reviews. It also showed the band starting to take a direction akin to Gothic metal.
The next member to leave the band was drummer John Douglas, who departed in the summer of 1997. He was replaced by Shaun Steels, formerly of Solstice, who would also later play drums for My Dying Bride. 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.
Alternative 4 was released in 1998. During this time the band underwent many line-up changes. Bassist/songwriter Duncan Patterson quit due to musical differences and was replaced by Dave Pybus of Dreambreed, a band which Duncan had played bass for during a short period, and not long after this Martin Powell (who had played keyboards and violin for My Dying Bride previously) joined the band for live performances. Finally, founding drummer John Douglas returned to the drums in place of Steels.
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. Their songs continued to express a feeling of depression and, more often than not, desperation.
Shortly before the release of A Fine Day to Exit, Dave Pybus announced his departure from the band and later joined 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.
On 20 March 2010, Anathema announced on their website and Facebook page the release date of their next album. We're Here Because We're Here was released on 31 May 2010 on the Kscope label. John Douglas' sister Lee Douglas joined the band in the capacity of a vocalist during the recording of this album. She had previously performed on the two previous albums as a guest vocalist.
On 6 July 2011, it was announced on the band's official page that their album of re-interpretations, Falling Deeper, would be released on 5 September 2011. The album was a follow-up to Hindsight and contained new orchestral versions of songs from the past, as well as a version of "Everwake" featuring the vocals of Anneke van Giersbergen. On 12 September 2011, Les Smith's departure due to "creative and musical differences" was announced on the band's website.
The band's live album, named Universal, was released as a double vinyl album on 24 June 2013. The album is a recording of a special one-off gig at the ancient Roman theatre of Philippopolis in 2012, where the band were joined by the Plovdiv Philharmonic Orchestra. The set was released on Blu-ray, DVD and CD under the name Universal, with an alternate track order, on 17 September 2013.
The band performed on drummer Mike Portnoy's Progression Nation at Sea tour aboard the Norwegian Cruise Line ship Pearl that sailed from the Port of Miami on 18 February 2014. Daniel Cardoso, initially keyboardist, has assumed the role of drummer taking over from John Douglas who now plays percussion and keyboards.
On 28 March 2014, the band announced their upcoming studio album would be called Distant Satellites. The album came out on 9 June 2014 on the Kscope label, and was produced by Christer-Andre; Cederberg in Oslo, Norway. Several tracks were mixed by Steven Wilson (of Porcupine Tree). Different from previous albums is the use of more electronica on this album. The album was released in four different versions: CD, vinyl, Media Book, and a Deluxe version. The band toured the album starting 22 May in Istanbul, Turkey, continuing throughout Europe and travelling to Australia for the first time to perform three dates during August 2014.
Following the success of their short Australian tour, an acoustic tour was announced for New Zealand and Australia in 2015. Daniel, Vincent and Lee performed these show without the other band members. Later that year, the band released an acoustic live album and video entitled A Sort of Homecoming, consisting in the record of a concert at the band's hometown Liverpool Cathedral.