The Silent Enigma
Review by Allan on May 11, 2002.
"The Silent Enigma" is the transitional piece from Anathema's doom metal roots to what they have become today. It is the beginning of a new chapter, a chapter where the band begins to progress into something totally unforeseeable over the span of many, many albums. The elements of the band are beginning to pull together, and they are finally finding their own sound. Although retaining small nuances of their past, it is a pivotal piece of work that is more than just a piece of history.
Like an express highway, in the sense that every track is like an individual car, all of them are separate entities, but all are traveling to the same location. And as with cars, while all of them are good, people have their own favorites and opinions. Then there is a chance that some amazing car will speed past you and nobody can deny its greatness. No matter how hard you’re laughing at my intensely lame analogy, it is truth with "The Silent Enigma", an album that has nine fantastic tracks, each with their own attitude, and at least one highly acclaimed (read: amazing) track, although I think of them all as above average.
"The Silent Enigma" is the first album that no longer sports vocalist Darren White. Vincent Cavanagh does a good job of taking his place, despite not really having being a vocalist ever before. His vocals are usually a harsh yell, or sometimes a more mournful weep, which can become somewhat tedious after awhile.
This is music that isn’t meant to be pulverizing and chaotic. This is a doom/deathish album, with a big emphasis on the doom. If you’re more familiar or interested in the later works of the band, it could be a turn-off. One complaint about this album that is often raised is the depressive nature of the album combined with lengthier songs. However, I cannot sympathize because the way the band combines emotion with melody is excellent, and I never feel like the songs are too far drawn out. While I can’t find a weak aspect about the album, it does have a few rough edges that could be polished and matured.
Bottom Line: For fans of Anathema, this should be something that they enjoy, if not love. Although it isn’t the best introductory album for the band, and it may be reserved for your bleaker days, it’s indeed an excellent piece of work that should be admired.
Categorical Rating Breakdown
Rating: 9 out of 10