Members: Vincent Cavanagh, Daniel Cavanagh, Jamie Cavanagh, Les Smith, John Douglas, Lee Douglas
Active: 1990 - present
Anathema are an English band from the city of Liverpool, who - together with Paradise Lost and My Dying Bride - helped develop the doom death genre. Since their third album, Eternity, Anathema have strayed away from doom and eventually metal altogether, becoming an atmospheric rock band.
Anathema was formed in the year of 1990 under the name of Pagan Angel and in November of that year, the band recorded their first demo, entitled An Iliad of Woes. The switching of names occurred at the beginning of 1991.
Their initial demo caught the attention of a couple of bands from the English metal scene and Anathema then began to play gigs with bands such as Bolt Thrower and Paradise Lost.
The band gained a lot of attention with the release of their second demo - entitled All Faith Is Lost - which landed Anathema a four-album deal with Peaceville Records. Their first release under the label was The Crestfallen EP in November 1992. With the material from that album, the band toured with Cannibal Corpse.
Serenades - Anathema's debut LP - attracted a lot of mainstream attention. A music video for the track "Sweet Tears" even received some airplay from MTV.
1994 was the year of Anathema's first European tour, which was closely followed by gigs in the Independent Rock Festival in Brazil.
In May of 1995, vocalist Darren White quit the band, eventually forming The Blood Divine. Rather than recruiting a new vocalist, the band decided that guitarist Vincent Cavanagh should assume the vocals. This new formation debuted by touring with Cathedral in the UK.
Later that year, the band released The Silent Enigma, which was a turning point in their career. The album incorporated changes in the vocal style and introduced much heavier goth elements. Most fans of the band's original style consider this album the beginning of Anathema's metaphorical downfall.
1996 saw the release of Eternity, which relied more on atmospheric sounds and started the transition to clean vocals, which would be consolidated later in Judgement. A European tour followed.
The second member to leave the band was drummer John Douglas in the summer of 1997. He was replaced by the ex-drummer of Solstice - Shaun Taylor-Steels - who would also later play drums for My Dying Bride.
Alternative 4 was released in 1998. During this time the band underwent many line-up changes. Bassist Duncan Patterson quit due to musical differences and was replaced by Dave Pybus of Dreambreed, where Duncan had played bass for a short period. Martin Powell (who had played keyboards and violin for My Dying Bride previously) also joined the band. Finally, John Douglas assumed the drummer position for the second time.
In June of 1999, the album Judgement was released. This album marks 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. However, the essence of the band was kept, as their songs continued to express a feeling of depression and more often than not desperation.
During the same year, Martin Powell switched positions with Cradle of Filth's keyboardist Les Smith, who became an integral member of Anathema.
Shortly before the release of A Fine Day to Exit, Dave Pybus announced his departure from the band and later joined - ironically - Cradle of Filth. He was replaced by touring bassist George Roberts, and later by Jamie Cavanagh.
In March of 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. Since then, Anathema's sound has acquired an atmospheric and progressive tone, as exhibited in album tracks 'Flying' and 'Violence'.
Due to the closing of their label Music for Nations after its purchase by media behemoth Sony BMG, Anathema's currently find themselves without a record label despite having completed an extensive tour of the UK with popular Finnish rock band HIM in April 2006, which undoubtedly won them many fans. 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 donate a 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.
1993 - Serenades
1995 - The Silent Enigma
1996 - Eternity
1998 - Alternative 4
1999 - Judgement
2001 - A Fine Day To Exit
2004 - A Natural Disaster
1990 - An Iliad of Woes
1991 - All Faith Is Lost
1992 - The Crestfallen
1995 - Pentecost III
1992 - They Die
1994 - We Are The Bible
1998 - Alternative Future
1998 - Split EP with My Dying Bride
1999 - Deep
1999 - Make It Right
2001 - Pressure (song)
2006 - Everything (internet download-only release)
2006 - A Simple Mistake (internet download-only release)
2001 - Resonance
2002 - Resonance Vol. 2