Music Industry Veteran Simon Glacken Ranks His Favorite Kscope Label Releases

The bastion of progressive, challenging and heavy music in the world, Kscope is celebrating ten years in business in 2018! Cheers! To help us celebrate, music industry veteran Simon Glacken of For The Lost PR has shared his favourite releases from the Kscope label. Continue reading

Anathema – The Optimist

Over a lengthy and storied career, Anathema have always had a knack for change; whether it being through evolutionary steps, a desire toward experimentation or both. It is well documented by now of their beginning as a Doom/Extreme Metal outfit with cult classics developing through to their contemporary, comparatively unrecognisable incarnation as an emotive Prog outfit; simply put, Anathema have always done what they want and have never been ones to bow to expectation. Nowadays, fanfare and as a result, expectation is at an all-time high when it comes to a new album; so in perhaps typical fashion, they release their most cinematic effort and most challenging release for many years in The Optimist (Kscope). Continue reading

Anathema – A Sort Of Homecoming

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They say you should never judge a book by its cover, but sometimes the front can tell you exactly what to expect and emphasise something’s importance. The stunning scene from Liverpool’s Cathedral which adorns this particular cover perfectly encapsulates not only the grandeur of the cathedral itself, but the stunning atmosphere that any Anathema show has to offer.

A Sort Of Homecoming (Kscope) gives both a live video and audio version of Anathema’s Liverpool Cathedral show; part of a run of stripped down, mostly acoustic shows across similar venues around the UK and Europe, but a show in the band’s home town shows a great personal significance and familiarity to them. Some brief, jovial heckles here and there do not detract whatsoever and even highlights the warmth their music generates.

Much of the set on offer has been in heavy rotation in recent tours, and of course the latest album Distant Satellites (Kscope) gets a heavy airing, but even the regularity many will surely have heard these songs before does not lessen their effect or their presence whatsoever, and in actual fact the band do a lot to keep them sounding fresh.

‘The Lost Song Part 2’ opens the show to a fairly sombre note and curiously is done so without its corresponding parts, as Lee Douglas takes the first vocal duties of the night, and once again showing her improving confidence each and every show. Elsewhere, the poignant ‘Dreaming Light’ becomes a duet with Vincent Cavanagh sharing vocals with Lee, and ‘Internal Landscapes’ gets taken to its bare bones and sees Vincent and Danny singing together. An uncommon airing of ‘Electricity’ also helps to keep this set unique, alongside stunning performances of the likes of ‘Ariel’ and ‘A Natural Disaster’.

The video performance of this does well to showcase the gravitas of the surroundings and offers a clear, well shot document of the event throughout, all the while sounding crisp and note perfect, making this a live album that holds a candle to many of the greats. The largely familiar set list could have been a pitfall for those who have seen Anathema regularly in recent years, but the band’s unsurprisingly resonant and strong performance, plus the originality of the stripped down song versions and the magnificence of the venue itself, make this a very special release, and shows just why these guys are held so dearly in the hearts of many.

 

9.0/10

 

CHRIS TIPPELL

 

The Official Ghost Cult Writers Albums of the Year Top 50: 30-21

The countdown to the Official Ghost Cult Magazine Album of the Year for 2014 continues. Please consume and enjoy the results of our 2014 Writers’ Poll. We hope it will introduce you to some of the incredible works of art you may have missed that we have had the immense pleasure of listening to and writing about this year.

In our third installment we bring you albums 30 through to 21

 

Casualties_of_Cool-400x40030. CASUALTIES OF COOL – Casualties Of Cool (Pledge/HevyDevy)

“Casualties of Cool is an intriguing experiment from a man who excels in making left-field music. Go in expecting massive a prog-metal exercise will only lead to disappointment, but having an open mind will result in a rewarding experience” DAN SWINHOE 8/10 Full review here

 

 

 

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29. ANATHEMA – Distant Satellites (KScope)

“One of our world’s most understated bands, despite the plaudits they get, Anathema have once again showcased their knack for penning both forward thinking and emotionally driven music which oozes real human character and sentimentality”. CHRIS TIPPELL 9/10 Full review here

 

 

Down-IV-part-2-album-cover-400x40028. DOWN – IV (Part II) (Down Records)

“When we look back on this part of their career, we will likely understand that these are less like regular EPs that other bands release, and much more like a mini-opus, in pieces. Down clearly realizes their collective vision, no matter who is in the lineup, every time”. KEITH ‘KEEFY’ CHACHKES 9.5/10 Full review here

 

 

 

Vallenfyre-Splinters-400x40027. VALLENFYRE – Splinters (Century Media)

“Sadistic and aggressive with endless moments of bleak reflection Splinters is a leviathan unleashed upon unsuspecting listeners and a release surely destined to grace many year end lists” ROSS BAKER 9/10 Full review here

 

 

 

agalloch-album-cover-400x40026. AGALLOCH – “The Serpent and the Sphere” (Profound Lore)

Like a massive-antlered stag glimpsed amidst a wintry landscape, breathtaking, elusive and hard to pin down, The Serpent and the Sphere looks set to continue their elegant and ever-evolving legacy JAMES CONWAY 9/10 Full review here

 

 

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25. THOU – Heathen (Gilead Media)

“A storm manifest as a piece of music, as devastating as it is awe-inspiring, Heathen is varied and compelling for the entire runtime”. TOM SAUNDERS 9/10 Full review here

 

 

Cover_1500X1500_RGB-16bit-400x40024. septicflesh – Titan (Season of Mist)

“Sharp, buzzing riffs and symphonic keys, strength and brutality amongst moments of pomp and beauty, bloody entertaining and another show of form” PAUL QUINN 8.5/10 Full review here

 

 

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23. PYRRHON – The Mother of Virtues (Relapse)

The Mother Of Virtues doesn’t just challenge what is “extreme”, but calls into question whether some of what is produced is actually even music. Completely and utterly impenetrable, and exceptional with it”. STEVE TOVEY 9.5/10 Full review here

 

 

Eyehategod-album-cover-400x40022. EYEHATEGOD – EyeHateGod (Housecore/Century Media)

“Eyehategod continue to age like a good whiskey, seeming to improve as time goes by, but by no means losing their sting”. CHRIS TIPPELL 9/10 Full review here

 

 

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21. ALCEST – Shelter (Prophecy)

“Shedding the last vestiges of metal, let-alone any lingering black metal leanings, a captivating and stunning piece of music poured straight from the heart”. JAMES CONWAY 9/10 Full review here

 

 

Ghost Cult Magazine Albums of the Year: 50-41

Ghost Cult Magazine Albums of the Year: 40-31

Anathema- Distant Satellites

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It is beyond a mystery how after all this time Anathema can still be considered almost a hidden gem, especially considering their consistent ability to make mesmerising and heart wrenching music. Considering their output in recent years especially, the fact it hasn’t hit much wider audiences than it has is quite simply criminal. For those lucky worshippers however, latest effort Distant Satellites (KScope) feels no less magical and tear flowing.

 

Distant Satellites is noticeable stripped down in comparison to the likes of recent albums We’re Here Because We’re Here and Weather Systems, overall using more straightforward song structures, less complex layering and multiple uses of looping systems. The aforementioned loops have become a fundamental part of the bands live show (especially in their acoustic sets) and is a foundation for much of this album such as on ‘Dusk (Dark Is Descending).

 

Opening up similarly to Weather Systems with a two part song; ‘The Lost Song Part 1’ once again offers the more grandiose and powerful, Vincent Cavanagh led version followed by the piano driven second part where once again Lee Douglas’ sumptuous vocals take centre stage. By ‘Ariel’ Lee’s voice will have you weak at the knees before the contrasting interplay with Vincent and the final, softer notes courtesy of Danny.

 

The latter half of the album will be the elephant in the room for many people, where it takes a quite unexpected detour toward more electronic music based territory. ‘You’re Not Alone’ uses continued repeated vocal refrains with an electronic drumbeat. The title track is where these influences really come to fruition with a much more obvious drum and bass style underlying drum beat. It’s this latter half of the album that is far less immediate and will put many people off instantly and take a few listens with others to finally click. Far from being a huge curveball, however, it still holds their characteristic sentiment despite its repetitive nature.

 

One of our world’s most understated bands, despite the plaudits they get, Anathema have once again showcased their knack for penning both forward thinking and emotionally driven music which oozes real human character and sentimentality that anyone and everyone can connect to. Distant Satellites in parts is one of the band’s most difficult albums to fully grasp in recent years but is so rewarding once it does. Prepare to have your heart strings tugged.

Anathema 1 (1)

 

9/10

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CHRIS TIPPELL