Anathema - Pentecost III review


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Band: Anathema
Album: Pentecost III
Release date: March 1995

01. Kingdom
02. Mine Is Yours To Drown In (Ours Is The New Tribe)
03. We, The Gods
04. Pentecost III
05. Memento Mori

Pentecost III comes at an unusual moment in Anathema's career. This would be the last release to have Darren White as vocalist. However, while on the verge of leaving, he remained in the band for Pentecost III. Pentecost III is easily one of Anathema's high points and Darren's best performance during his tenure. This EP is somewhat polarizing; even my long time buddy who loves Anathema doesn't really go back to this album. From first listen I knew that this was going to be a fantastic album and to this day it still holds up for me.

Pentecost III heightened the Gothic elements in the music. Noticeably there is a strong level of atmosphere and melody to be heard; however, it still has those crushing death-doom moments. It's one of the first signs where Anathema were leaning towards gothic metal. This is an album where I feel that Duncan Patterson has found his voice as a bass player, as his performance was stellar. His performance had variety especially coming from songs like "We, the Gods" where the Gothic influence is sinking into his bass playing. Also, whenever there's a death-doom moment, Duncan knew how to crush his playing. As for the rest of the music, very doom, but also more atmospheric than Serenades. The beginning of "Kingdom" starts minimalistic, but the build up to the song is a nice touch, especially with the hypnotizing sounds of the lead guitar and the climax of the song. The biggest highlight comes at the end with "Memento Mori." This song is so crushing and disorienting, loaded with death-doom energy and spooky atmosphere from some of its Gothic elements. Needless to say, this is a large improvement from Serenades in terms of musical structure.

I always felt that Pentecost III was Darren White's best performance with Anathema. His voice is no longer dry, and they're not as guttural as on the previous releases. His growls have more tone and control, and have given him more consistency. Noticeably, his performance has shouting energy where I am able to hear a key in his extreme vocals. The biggest highlight comes during "Memento Mori" where his voice makes the song sound death-doom-like along with the backup vocals that sound like black metal shrieks. A phenomenal performance, very aggressive and even mournful.

Pentecost III is also diverse in terms of lyrical themes. Some of the songs are well-written to sound dark and epic. Combining that with the musical landscape and Darren White's performance makes this album all the more satisfying to listen to. Songs like "Kingdom" and "We, The Gods" match the atmosphere of the Gothic influences heard in the music, and "Memento Mori" is straight-up bleak and poetic. Here's an example of the lyrics from the EP:

"My life's minds plagued by lyssophobia
In a cage solitude locks me in
As the dar blackened walls close in on me
Dementia strikes, there's no turning back

Drowning in the stygian sea
As those voices repeat to me my malediction
Memento Mori
Remember you must die"

Overall, I think Pentecost III is the best release in Anathema's Darren White era and still sounds as amazing as when I first listened to it. It's underrated, as it is sandwiched between Serenades and The Silent Enigma, but this is the type of release I can show to a fan of extreme metal who wouldn't be so interested in Gothic or doom metal music. This is one of the EPs that elevated my love for Anathema more, and I highly recommend checking this out as a highlight of the band's metal era.

Rating breakdown
Performance: 10
Songwriting: 10
Originality: 9
Production: 8

Written by Gothic Metalhead | 09.10.2020


Guest review disclaimer:
This is a guest review, which means it does not necessarily represent the point of view of the MS Staff.


Comments: 1   Visited by: 30 users
09.10.2020 - 22:25
While this is certainly a good album I have always preferred The Crestfallen and Serenades to this one.
Almost incredible that only half a year later they would come to release their magnum opus.
But thumbs up anyway for you reviewing all their early efforts recently, now that this great band appears to go from us.

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