A Fine Day to Exit
Koch/Music For Nations
It’s a curious thing to see Anathema still regarded as a “metal band,” because frankly, they’re anything but now, and their latest, A Fine Day to Exit, emphatically proves this out. Which is also a curious thing, because already this year, we’ve seen the ubiquitous “return to form” from erstwhile veterans Godflesh, Kreator, and once-contemporaries My Dying Bride. Look at it this way: Along with said band and Paradise Lost, Anathema came to characterize the British doom/death metal idiom, and like the latter, with each successive album they’ve managed to mess about with artier, non-metallic idioms and stray even further from the “metal” tag. It hasn’t quite worked out for the better in Paradise Lost’s case; in Anathema’s, conversely, it’s worked out grandly. Sure, you could say Anathema discovered Radiohead and Jeff Buckley (indeed, they have — at a press-only acoustic set at this year’s Milwaukee Metalfest, they covered both artists) and decided to run with it, but goddamn, where does A Fine Day to Exit run! Go into it with a non-metal mind and you’ll be whisked away to the darkest underbelly of OK Computer, the angry cloud of doom n’ gloom hovering above Grace, and the non-dilettantish death knell of Dark Side of the Moon — guideposts, yeah, but apt ones, guaranteed. In fewer words, the album’s epic, ringing, uplifting, depressing, invigorating, tragic, and altogether painted in hues that aren’t “metal” per se, but metal in spiritual nature: Anathema are now coming to a new audience near you.