Anathema @ Holmfirth Picturedrome

Anathema @ Holmfirth Picturedrome

Anathema start a short, low key tour in the land of Compo, Clegg and Foggy at the Holmfirth Picturedrome to preview some new material, Manchester Rocks just had to be there.

Words and photos: Anthony Firmin

The drive over to Holmfirth is usually a soulful experience, the views are outstanding as you witness God’s country in all it’s beautiful bleakness but tonight, with the nights drawing in and temperatures across the tops almost reaching zero as well as low cloud and driving rain, it becomes an almost apocalyptic adventure.  Dropping into Holmfirth and it is like the last 20 minutes haven’t happened, you are at peace in the eye of the storm at a unique venue, the Picturedrome.

With the exception of the high key slot at Wembley Arena opening for Opeth on their solitary UK date, neu-prog masters Anathema are engaged in a low key tour to preview some new material for their forthcoming album, the recording of which will start shortly after this tour is completed and this is the opening night of the tour.

It is a brave band that opens the first date of a tour with a brand new song tentatively titled Gotyou To which continues to explore some of the newer sounds found on the last album.  All is not lost as the next hour see’s them visit their outstanding catalogue of songs with Untouchable (pts. 1 and 2), Thin Air, A Simple Mistake, Ariel and the vocoder driven rocker Closer on which the band went for it.  There is less new material than I expected although the interesting Springfield, which apparently won’t be called that when the album comes out developed out of a riff at a soundcheck in Springfield in the USA.  Distant Satelites is far heavier than on the album but the highlight for many is the anthemic Natural Disaster with mobile phones held aloft.

There are mistakes and bum notes but that is always going to be the case on the opening night and didn’t detract at all as everyone is just happy to see the band out on the road again.  What is interesting is how many classics they left out, a conundrum they will increasingly face as they release more high quality albums.

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