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ANATHEMA

Current Members

Past Members

Biography

Liverpool based ultra Doom Metal band exceptionally heavy in both their death fixated lyrics more akin to neo-gothic poetry than Metal and grinding riffs, ANATHEMA formed in 1990 under a formative tag of PAGAN ANGEL, debuting with the 'An Illiad Of Woes' demo in November of that year. The founding formation comprised singer Darren White, guitarists Vincent Cavanagh and Daniel Cavanagh, bassist Duncan Patterson with John Douglas on the drums. Adopting the ANATHEMA title in early 1991 the group recorded a further demo, 'All Faith Is Lost' concocted over three days at M.A. Studios in Liverpool that May, and a 7" single, 'They Die', for Swiss label Witchunt, ANATHEMA provoked the interest of Peaceville Records who signed the band in January 1992. The Doom Metal troupe contributed the track 'Lovelorn Rhapsody' to the Peaceville 'Volume 4' compilation album before releasing their highly acclaimed 'Crestfallen' EP. Cut at Academy Studios in Bradford as a collaborative effort between the band and label boss Hammy, 'Crestfallen's engaging sleeve photograph, reviving pre-Raphaelite imagery taken up by swathes of artists since, drew in listeners who were entranced by the group's engaging twist on the Doom genre. ANATHEMA's juxtaposition of the fragile, exemplified by their prose and guest singer Ruth Wilson on 'Everwake', and the ferocious fostered a keen fan base. Also benefiting the band greatly would be their association with the Peaceville imprint, the start up label's uncanny ability to uncover unique artists such as MY DYING BRIDE, DARKTHRONE and PARADISE LOST lending Anathema heightened focus.

The band's first full length album, February 1993's 'Serenades', again received excellent reviews and further intrigued audiences with its cover art, this time depicting a disturbing bandaged female form with a horse's skull. The record's heady blend of primitive Doom with highbrow lyrical art, such as 'Lovelorn Rhapsody', 'Under A Veil (Of Black Lace)' and 'J'ai Fait une Promesse' again featuring Ruth Wilson, had certainly by now placed ANATHEMA on equal par with their label mates MY DYING BRIDE. This gathering kudos enabled the band to tour Europe with support acts CRADLE OF FILTH and Sweden's AT THE GATES before performing further shows with Germany's PYOGENESIS and Finland's GOD FORSAKEN.

Soon back in the studio, ANATHEMA then contributed the track 'Welcome To Hell' to the VENOM tribute album before playing the 'Waldrock' festival in Belgium and the 'Vosselaar' festival in Holland. After headlining the 'Manic Depression' festival in Rumania to 5'000 fans, the band then performed dates in Brazil, headlining the 'Independent Rock' festival as well as shows in Sao Paulo and Belo Horizonte.

During 1994 the rare 'We Are The Bible' single, issued only to members of the Peaceville label collectors club, was pressed in "spiritual" purple vinyl. That January ANATHEMA headlined European dates with support from AT THE GATES and opening act CRADLE OF FILTH. This latter relationship was to be extended to the studio, as Darren White added guest vocals to the CRADLE OF FILTH track guested on the track 'A Dream Of Wolves In The Snow' included on their 1994 opus 'The Principle Of Evil Made Flesh'. In May ANATHEMA revisited Academy Studios to render their next opus, 'Pentecost III'. During the latter part of the year ANATHEMA undertook a further extensive European tour, visiting such countries as Russia, Lithuania, Sweden, Spain and Portugal.

In March 1995 ANATHEMA trimmed down to a quartet as frontman Darren White was forced out and Vincent Cavanagh assumed the role of lead vocalist. White promptly formed a new act, THE BLOOD DIVINE, with three ex-CRADLE OF FILTH members; namely guitarists Paul Allander and Paul Ryan together with keyboard player Benjamin Ryan. Meantime, 'Pentecost III', emerged in May through a new distribution deal between Peaceville and Music For Nations. ANATHEMA had chosen not to deviate from their chosen path, the album weighed down by three leviathan enterprises in 'Kingdom', 'We, The Gods' and the twelve minute 'Memento Mori', the latter hosting an unaccredited 'Nailed To The Cross / 666'.

The re-shaped ANATHEMA chose a fresh venue for their next work, travelling North to Lynx Studios in Newcastle upon Tyne for 'The Silent Enigma'. Originally to be titled 'Rise Pantheon Dreams', this album, issued in August 1995, marked an important turning point in the band's sound, reviewers often quoting PINK FLOYD references, this brave transition bringing new appreciation from a more mainstream band of listeners but also causing a withdrawal of support from hardened Doom fanatics.

Experimenting further, ANATHEMA took on the services of producer Tony Platt to work up the 'Eternity' album at The Windings Studios in Wales during the Autumn of 1996. The progressive hints displayed on 'The Silent Enigma' now took full flight, paving the way for successive outings. Guests in the studio included the CRADLE OF FILTH credited keyboard player Les 'Lectar' Smith and DOMINION's Michelle Richfield. Surprisingly, noted Folk singer ROY HARPER also put in an appearance, gracing 'Hope' with his distinct narration. This song's origins passed many critics by, despite its pedigree. 'Hope' had been composed, but shelved, by PINK FLOYD frontman DAVID GILMOUR for a once mooted project with LED ZEPPELIN guitarist JIMMY PAGE.

In side activity. Daniel Cavanagh linked up with TROUBLE front man Eric Wagner in the project band LID, with an album 'In The Mushroom' resulting. 1996 also found Duncan Patterson performing live as a member of DREAMBREED. In late 1997 former SOLSTICE drummer Shaun Steels was enrolled into ANATHEMA as the band's live keyboard player Les migrated to CRADLE OF FILTH.

The band laid down two obscure cover versions for Peaceville's 1998 'X' compilation album being PINK FLOYD's 'Goodbye Cruel World' and BAD RELIGION's 'Better Off Dead'. The pursuit of the extraordinary continued with the piano driven 'Alternative 4', overseen by Kit Woolven and arriving in June 1998. Newly installed into the fold would be drummer Shaun Steels whilst MY DYING BRIDE's Martin Powell lent his violin skills. Taking their cue from Leslie Watkins 'Alternative 3' novel, having completely shed all Gothic trappings, the introspective record garnered reviews ranging from middling to downright confused. UK gigs in September of 1998 saw the band packaged with MOONSPELL and THERION. However, Patterson departed midway through the tour to be temporarily replaced with ex-DREAMWEAVER bassist Dave Pybus. Patterson used his time away to initiate ANTIMATTER, a pure ambient endeavour involving Michael Moss.

Steels was replaced by John Douglas in early 1999 completing a line-up comprising the Cavanagh brothers and Pybus, now a full time member. The 'Judgement' album, recorded in collusion with Kit Woolven at Damage inc. Studios un Ventimiglia, Italy, took ANATHEMA into an all embracing atmospheric musical landscape. European dates in November 1999 saw ANATHEMA out as support to TIAMAT.

Powell joined CRADLE OF FILTH in 2000 and by the summer of the following year Pybus too also be lured into the same Black legions. An ANATHEMA career retrospective, 'Resonance', saw issue in September 2001, pre-empting the group's next original set of tracks 'A Fine Day To Exit'. This suicide themed slab of melancholy, produced by Nick Griffith, was hewn out over three separate locations at Crash Studios, Liverpool, The Windings in Wales and Chapel Studios in Lincolnshire. 'A Fine Day To Exit' closed out with 'Temporary Peace', which although officially clocking in at 18:46 in fact segued out after six minutes with the remainder sounds of waves crashing on a beach and idle banter. A promotional video was filmed for 'Pressure' but a projected single release was unforthcoming. Concerts, commencing in November, saw the inclusion of George Roberts on bass guitar.

Danny Cavanagh left the band in March of 2002 to join Patterson's ANTIMATTER but within weeks had retracted and opted for a return. ANTIMATTER's 'Saviour' debut would surface in Germany through Prophecy Productions with a North American release being handled by The End Records, this variant adding an extra two acoustic tracks. The band, taking along Danny Cavanagh, would perform acoustic shows in Europe during October.

ANATHEMA made a return in November of 2003 with the album 'A Natural Disaster', enhanced by the tones of female singers Anna Livingstone and Lee Douglas and recorded at Parkgate Studios near Hastings by producer Dan Turner. ANATHEMA performed a special acoustic gig with a string quartet on 27th February 2004 at The Picket music club in Liverpool. The group, alongside a string quartet from the Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, put on the one off show to aid the 'Save Our Culture' campaign for Liverpool's Quiggin's alternative shopping centre. An earlier gig, conducted at the 'Krzemionki' TV studio in Kracow, Poland on 31st January, was captured on film for the DVD release 'Were You There?'.

Guitarist Danny Cavanagh took time out to guest for the Celtic acoustic band LEAFBLADE for low countries gigs in early May. He would also involve himself in a set of cover songs in tribute to the late cult songwriter Nick Drake, this set being released as a handnumbered, limited edition of 1000 through Strangelight Records. ANATHEMA then geared up for a full scale European tour. Their 2nd June show at Copérnico in Spain would be filmed for the national TV programme 'Los Conciertos de Radio 3'. The band would also donate their rendition of 'How Fortunate Is The Man With None' to the 2004 DEAD CAN DANCE tribute album 'The Lotus Eaters'.

On 10th September ANATHEMA, temporarily labelless after Music For Nations had been acquired by the Zomba Records Group, put in a special acoustic show at London's Mean Fiddler venue as special guests to BLACKFIELD, a project featuring Steven Wilson of PORCUPINE TREE and Aviv Geffen. Guitarist Danny Cavanagh then extended this concept further with a solo semi-acoustic tour in September allied with Sean Jude of LEAFBLADE as support. Cavanagh's set comprised ANATHEMA songs and covers, using acoustic and electric guitar and piano.

A further acoustic concert, held on 1st March 2004 in Shepherds Bush in London saw the band performing with cello player Dave Wesling, the JAPAN and PORCUPINE TREE credited Richard Barbieri, Tim Bowness of NO-MAN and Markus Reuter of CENTROZOON and the EUROPA STRING CHOIR. During April ANATHEMA acted as support to PORCUPINE TREE's European dates.

Danny Cavanagh undertook solo concert dates throughout Scandinavia during March 2006. First signs of renewed ANATHEMA activity would be an announcement of supports to H.I.M. in April, releasing three brand new tracks via internet download, 'One Day', 'Everything' and 'Angels Walk Among Us' recorded at Sewerside Studios, to coincide, then a brief Turkish tour for May. A live DVD, 'A Moment in Time', filmed at the Polish 'Metal Mania' festival was issued by Metal Mind Productions.

ANATHEMA announced their first concert in Jordan, held on August 25th at the Al-Ahlyyiah Amman University Arena in Amman. Shows in Russia, in Moscow, St. Petersburg and Ekaterinburg, were scheduled for September. The band played alongside XANDRIA and STREAM OF PASSION at the Circo Volador in Mexico City on October 14th. The following month Daniel Cavanagh lined up solo dates across Scandinavia, his band including Michael Moss of ANTIMATTER and Sean Jude from LEAFBLADE. Cavanagh put in an acoustic tour of Greece and the Benelux countries in the first week of January 2007.

ANATHEMA released its new album, 'Hindsight', on 25th August 2008 via the Kscope imprint. The album featured both old and new tracks from the band's career, with new arrangements utilizing acoustic, electrical and orchestral instruments, including the cello playing of Dave Wesling from the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra.

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