Anathema – We’re Here Because We’re Here

2010 (Kscope Music)

1: Thin Air (6:00)
2: Summernight Horizon (4:13)
3: Dreaming Light (5:47)
4: Everything (5:06)
5: Angels Walk Among Us (5:17)
6: Presence (2:58)
7: A Simple Mistake (8:14)
8: Get Off, Get Out (5:01)
9: Universal (7:19)
10: Hindsight (8:11)

With “We’re Here Because We’re Here”, the eighth studio album by Anathema, the band from Liverpool, the progressive ensemble opens the door to a magnificent future wide open. Wow, what a record. It’s always cool when an orchestra is added to the band’s sound. However, the collaboration between Anathema and the London Session Orchestra is infused with such intensity that it completely blows away the listener.

Aside from the orchestra, Anathema manages to strike a good balance between their heavy side and beautiful melancholic counterweight. The first two songs can be considered robust in their own way. Well, one and a half songs, actually. The opening track Thin Air is initially quite mild with a lot of melody, until the distorted guitar blows the song up into almost gothic-like proportions. The following Summernight Horizon is a robust wild child full of pounding bass work and exhilarating drums. It’s beautiful the band delves into melancholy halfway through.

Next, the band presents five tracks that already make this album legendary. Especially songs like the poignant Dreaming Light, the pulsating Everything where an angular theme sets the course, and the beautifully crafted A Simple Mistake with well-placed metal riffs contribute to that.

It must have been the ultimate task for Steven Wilson to have the opportunity to mix “We’re Here Because We’re Here”. What a luxury he had under his fingertips. It’s amazing how he managed to bring structure to the complex layers of sound. The music is grim, bombastic, dark, tender, and much more in all the right places. Anathema combines subtle guitar work with gritty chords, the keyboards and orchestra add depth to the whole, and the extensive harmonies combined with the often double lead vocals of Vincent Cavanagh and Lee Douglas are also a convincing result.

Although the band has enough variety in their own input, there are a few guest contributions on the album. Ville Valo (HIM) provides vocals on Angels Walk Among Us, Presence features a narrator, and the bombastic closer Hindsight includes a spoken audio fragment at the beginning and end. It’s all very enjoyable, topped off by the cinematic Universal. The first part of it is immersive until a sparkling piano ignites the orchestra to great heights.

“We’re Here Because We’re Here” sounds exceptionally appealing. The combination of atmospheric music and intriguing power has turned this album inside out. Spectacular, to say the least.

Danny Cavanagh: guitar, keyboards, vocals
Jamie Cavanagh: bass
Vincent Cavanagh: guitar, vocals
John Douglas: drums
Lee Douglas: vocals
Les Smith: keyboards
Stan Ambrose: spoken words (6)
London Session Orchestra: orchestration
Maren Svenning: spoken words (10)
Ville Valo: vocals (5)

© Dick van der Heijde 2022