TOOMIO’s TOP100: 5. Anathema – A Fine Day to Exit

Producer: Nick Griffiths
Recorded: 2000-2001
Released: 9.10.2001
Label: Music For Nations

#34 in Finland. The only record with drummer John Douglas has worked as a composer.

SINGLE
– Pressure

Until this album was Anathema only “pretty ok” Judgement to me. After I had seen the video of Pressure, I began to listen this band.

The entire album moves as so happy subject as suicide. Theme album it is. The cover image is perfect image of the start of the 2000s. On the other hand, the artwork tells a little too much of the story of album.

The songs are clear, but atmospheric. The album deals with suicide more by getting bored than by the despair. The tracks are not profoundly sad. They are more melancholy. The suicide is handled through different emotional states. There is abandonment, panic, hatred and schizophrenia. Lyric side has traces of the band’s previous Gothic times.

Melodies are beautiful. Especially the bass lines are comfortable. The album’s essence is grey, and the colour will remain, even if the tempo varies. Single and opening track Pressure presents itself with a piano and whistling guitars create an image of slowly decomposing head. Release resembles about Judgement’s guitar work, but leans also towards Radiohead. Looking Outside Inside’s first part is like Anathema nowadays. On the other hand, the chorus sounds like guitarists playing in Nirvana. However, racking grunge fully supports the theme.

Leave No Trace returns to nauseam and the feeling of smallness. The chorus says a lot of the atmosphere:

“Here and now
We are gone in a heartbeat
A dream in the
Passage your time

Chances are failing
This world isn’t waiting
The moment is passing you by”

Even I have lived so long that I’ve met self-destructive people. Underworld is formed, at least in my eyes, a narrative of how the majority of people know what suffering souls should be done. It’s not always so easy to accept. The brain functioning in power saving mode. Instructions grows anger. Barriers offers a peace after rage. But only for a moment before Panic, which perhaps has the best lyrics on this album:

”Whispers coming from the next room
Window cleaner keep on SPYING
I put my hands up to my eyes
But the HOLES in my PALMS let me find
A way to corner me

Twelve tonnes hammer for My breakfast…”

Album title track starts a little unresponsive after Panic’s manic pace, but after a while it turns out to be very satisfactory piece. The lyrics move toward great decision. The album ends with Temporary Peace. Every one may actually make own conclusions about what is the destiny of narrator.

Every song is in the right place on this album. There’s some remastered version, where the order of songs is changed, but Wikipedia tells the correct order. Technically, the quality of production is still high. Even in the sounds of synths, even they sound like cheap pre-set sounds. I’ve also always liked Anathema way to mix drum sounds. There is not a lot of audiophiles. They sound like rehearsals, which is a good thing.

There’s no weak moments on A Fine Day to Exit. The album is just the cases that need to listen through once. This is definitely an autumn Monday’s record. Coming home from work later than normal, at dinner yesterday’s sauce, warmed in the microwave and the flu symptoms begin.

Take your headphones, take a seat on the couch, look at the rain and listen to this album.

THE BEST MOMENTS
Barriers ja Panic –
Tells everything about the perfect placing of songs.

NOT SO BRILLIANT
This is so f*****g brilliant!

This is a compilation of three albums. There’s the original track list of A Fine Day Exit.
https://open.spotify.com/album/6rAcqvF8bsczcbpmCAIfZN

TOOMIO’s TOP100: 9. Opeth – Damnation

Producer: Opeth, Steven Wilson
Recorded: 2002
Released: 22.4.2003
Label: Koch

#37 in Finnish chart. The first Opeth-album without growling.

SINGLE
– Windowpane

“This will be The Album of The Year!” said my brother in 2003, when I played Damnation for the first time. We were amazed.

Making process of the album was obviously hard for the band. Recordings of Deliverance weighed in the background, and the recording session was full of technical problems. Fortunately, the band was able to walk through the session.

Indications of Opeth‘s ability to make lighter music had always been visible on some level. After producer Steven Wilson came in, the band had the courage to do the whole album with lighter touch. Although I’m a little tired of Wilson’s sound, but on this album it’s hardly be heard. There you can find Mellotrons and really crisp acoustic guitars, but the sound is still very massive. Mellotron fits nicely to Opeth’s music. The album is very exciting work, because it was made by progressive death metal band. Still it’s very easy to listen through, regardless of your age.

This is certainly the most balanced prog music throughout this century.

The album spins exactly nine seconds before it becomes clear that the band get a grip. Opening track Windowpane’s guitar solo comes in a strange position. However, Mikael Åkerfeldt’s solos does not make mistakes, so it’s rather awaken to listen more closely, as a nuisance. Nearly eight-minute song is not a one second too long.

Transition to heartfelt In My Time of Need goes naturally. Each piece is foisted the lurking evil, which always go with Opeth’s music. Death Whispered a Lullaby, which is composed by Steven Wilson, sits nicely on an album. The bass lines and guitar effects at the end of a hassle (which is so Wilson!) make this song perfect for Opeth also.

The chorus of To Rid The Disease is brought to the surface by using Mellotron, that you must like it. The intro guitar piece moves along with the song, creating despair. The Young and the Restless-piano in the background increase the bass and drum attacks. This is certainly the most balanced prog music throughout this century. If I have to name one album, that describes melancholy, it will be Damnation.

I can’t explain the atmosphere that I have while listening this. Driving from Tuuri to Ähtäri on slushy weather of early December. It’s still not freezing cold, but not warm either. Socks are almost certainly wet. A pale coffee and old bun waiting in the granny’s house. Windscreen wiper blades should be replaced.

Everyone should listen to this album. Everyone

THE BEST MOMENTS
Windowpane
– This song gets me to learn acoustic guitar.

NOT SO BRILLIANT
There’s no weak moments.

TOOMIO’s TOP100: 10. Porcupine Tree – In Absentia

Producer: Steven Wilson
Recorded: 2002
Released: 24.9.2002
Label: Lava

The first Porcupine Tree-album with drummer Gavin Harrison.

This album is legendary. In a later view, this was a real breakthrough of Steven Wilson. The album wasn’t sold so much as would be expected, but in the progressive world it’s generally well known and highly considered.

Based on the cover art, the music could be whatever you could imagine. The music is progressive rock, Brit pop, even grunge, but I think it’s not so much metal on this album. Porcupine Tree has often “music for musicians”-sign on it, but technicality is quite gentle in comparison to existing djent-bands. The band is talented, but the difficulty factor is not high.

As soon as the first song chorus coming, you’ll know that the production is from the top of the world. Sound, mixing, and all are exactly where thee should be. Sure, 15 years will do the task, but this was “TOP” in 2002. The sound solutions of this album are great from all angles of view. Extremely thoughtful keyboard sounds, hot and cold guitar distortions and accuracy highlighting bass and drum sounds.

The first two songs are like diamonds. Blackest Eyes is one of the best opening songs of any album. The drummer Gavin Harrison and bassist Colin Edwin plays frighteningly accurate. Gavin Harrison talent on drums cannot be denied. It’s it something that can be found in Porcaro and Colaiuta. Extremely good timing. I’ve heard this song several times in variant soundchecks. Singer and band’s frontman Steven Wilson, is quite skilful too, but maybe he’s more composer than live musician.

Entity is a bit chaotic. There’s some pretty redundant song. Let me say once again what has already been said: the albums produced by Wilson after this sounded a bit similar. Quality isn’t low, but the results are too safe.

Trains has it all. Even that necessary annoying point of perfect song. Because of the perfect will never be error-free. Words speaks beautifully about trains, which describes the trip, time, place, solitude, change.

Wilson’s lyrics are partially naïve, but second stanza of Trains, which obviously doesn’t tell about anything else but trains and woman, is magical.

”A 60 ton angel falls to the earth
A pile of old metal, a radiant blur
Scars in the country, the summer and her”

The Creator has a Mastertape is result of the perfect band’s musicianship and strange lyrics:

”The creator had a mastertape
But he left it in a cab”

I don’t know what the lyrics actually means, but I’ve always interpreted the words so that God had a master tape of the world, which he forgot in a taxi. People then found it and was mixed it worse. Hardly so this has been thought of, but this is how it presents to me.

However, Trains and Collapse the Light On Earth compositions are already so good combo when they are on the same albumm that place in TOP100 and TOP10 was already pretty sure before the actual listing.

The nature of Finland is even more beautiful, when Trains spins at the summer evening.

THE BEST MOMENTS
Trains
If thinking about the basic elements of progressive rock, so in this section, they are perhaps the most correct.
Collapse the Light on Earth This is a massive piece of work. It’s not heavy, but still it is overwhelming on.

NOT SO BRILLIANT
Strip the Soul –
Sometimes it works, more often not. Annoying riff.

TOOMIO’s TOP100: 42. Pink Floyd – Wish You Were Here

Producer: Pink Floyd
Recorded: 1975
Published: 15.9.1975
Label: Harvest, Capitol

Number one in the UK and the USA and in many other countries too.

SINGLE
– Have a Cigar

“This boringly named album cannot contain anything interesting.” This is how I thought. Then happened so, that I found countless abandoned C-cassettes. One of them happened to be exactly this album.

The album was a little disappointing among the fans when it appeared. The Dark Side of the Moon had been so insane success that it was still strong in many charts. At present, Wish You Were Here is a better album than the album from the dark side.

At that time is something exceedingly fine, because then they could make over ten minute songs and still albums are sold. Sure, equipment to skip songs has been weak. After all it’s quite different when the album plays over eight minutes before the singing begins.

Shine on You Crazy Diamond is a great song, even if the length is terribly for a modern world. It’s full of those elements that Pink Floyd serves at best. Gripping blues melodies by guitar, effects bending to psychedelia and involved lyrics. It also includes the band’s concern about the former band mate.

”When you hear Pink Floyd’s music, you’ll know that it’s Pink Floyd’s music.”

This album is a masterpiece. It could be also background music, but it’s not mean that it’s insignificant. When you hear Pink Floyd’s music, you’ll know that it’s Pink Floyd’s music. David Gilmour guitar solos are just so long as they should. Melodies bends to where they expected for bending. Richard Wright‘s keyboard sounds has always been something pleasant.

Late at night. Just before bedtime. I recommend headphones. There are heavenly pans out there.

THE BEST MOMENTS
Shine On You Crazy Diamond – This song could be the whole album.

NOT SO BRILLIANT
Have a Cigar If this song wouldn’t be so weak, the album would be in TOP-10.