Thursday, November 2, 2017

Anathema - The Silent Enigma (1995)

Welp, it's my 200th doom metal-related post. To mark the occasion, I thought I'd post an album that I've been known to refer to as the best doom metal record of all time, with the three caveats: 1) There are plenty of other contenders, 2) It took years to grow on me, and 3) Pretty much no one agrees with me. As far as I'm concerned, though, with this record, Anathema attained a level of atmosphere and epic, monumental sorrow that few bands before or since have matched. At the very least, it's their best record -- unless you prefer their later stuff, in which case, we're just not gonna see eye-to-eye on a whole lot.

The Silent Enigma was Anathema's final full-on doom record before they went prog, and their first with founding guitarist Vincent Cavanagh as lead vocalist. For his part, Cavanagh fully commits to the wrenching, if melodramatic heartache, as he shouts, moans, whispers, and growls in equal measure. (Pretty sure it's his unorthodox approach that turns some people off.) Meanwhile, the guitar interplay is second to none. It often feels as though there's a massive cloud of clean and distorted guitars hanging over everything, but a close listen will reveal a level of thoughtfulness in composition rarely heard, in metal or elsewhere.

Track listing:
1. Restless Oblivion
2. Shroud of Frost
3. ... Alone
4. Sunset of Age
5. Nocturnal Emission
6. Cerulean Twilight
7. The Silent Enigma
8. A Dying Wish
9. Black Orchid

The soul has seen through eyes of heaven
The imperium of earth
Nothing left to perceive

Also listen to:
Mourning Beloveth -
The Sullen Sulcus (2003)
On Thorns I Lay -
Orama (2003)


  1. Pentecost III is the best doom metal album and probably the best metal album of all time, only rivalled by Burzum-Filosofem

    1. Pentecost III was the record that got me into Anathema, and is truly amazing. That's really why I love The Silent Enigma so much -- it's like Pentecost III, only there's more of it.

    2. Can you upload Pentecost as well? I can't seem to find it anywhere and I have a real hankering for it now.

    3. Daniel Davis Snyder: Absolutely, here ya go:!FWZwXBjb!5mXUlNUnjEX1c4W57BsDTMTNE0bgccmi2O3Ezm6F5Go

  2. Don't back down man. This album kicks ass. It's the only thing, along with the Pentacost EP, that I've ever liked from them.

  3. Good to see this one get some much-deserved love. It's hard for me to pick just one favorite of any genre, but this one is among my many favorites. And Vincent's vocals are perfect for the mood of the album.

  4. I don't think this is my kind of music but if *you* think it's so great I simply must submit. After all, you are my hero. Ta!

  5. Serenades/Crestfallen were the true doom masterpieces. The Silent Enigma is a cool album though, and the atmosphere is amazing, but not my favorite of the early Anathema releases...I mean most of this record was written in the studio (which is pretty impressive) but still, the songwriting often seems directionless. Saying that I can totally get behind your choice here, it has a weird psychedelic gothic-doom thing going on that I've never heard before or after.

  6. I like most Anathema (have not listened to any of their stuff from the last ten years) but I always liked Eternity the best. In fact, I don't think any album (by them or anybody else) actually sounds like Eternity - I call it "Sorrow Metal"