anathema - the silent enigma

Anathema: The Silent Enigma (1995)

I don’t know that a “transitional” album ever felt so complete as The Silent Enigma from UK death/doom progenitors Anathema.  With feet still planted in the doom/death sound (at this point I’d firmly put the doom aspects over the death) the band helped popularize along with My Dying Bride and Paradise Lost, the move of Vincent Cavanagh over to vocals signaled the shift to something new, a faint glimpse of the experimental post-rock powerhouse they would become.

Not yet, though.  “Restless Oblivion” kicks off with a meaty groove and a throaty “C’mon!” from Cavanagh before shifting into some serious slab rock, prompting me to look up what an “inamorato” was and how it could die.  “Shrouds of False” feels much like the band’s earlier output in the beginning, guitar lines languishing in minor keys.  It’s telling that so many bands could have (and have) made a career out of the singular sound Anathema put together on The Silent Enigma, and it’s almost a testament to the band that they so quickly moved away from it.  I can do without the more ambient tracks like “Alone” and “Nocturnal Emission” but everything else made this a great introduction to Anathema, even though my preference definitely leads more toward their later output, particularly We’re Here Because We’re Here.

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