Anathema was formed in the year of the 1990 under the name of Pagan Angel. In November of that year, the band recorded their first demo, entitled An Iliad of Woes. The switching of names occurred on the beginning of 1991.
The band drew a lot of attention to itself with the release of their second demo - entitled All Faith is Lost - which got Anathema a four-album deal with Peaceville Records. Their first release under the label was The Crestfallen EP in November 1992. With the material from that album the band toured with Cannibal Corpse.
Serenades, their debut LP, attracted a lot of mainstream attention. A music video derived from it - Sweet Tears - even managed to reach MTV's parade.
In May of 1995, vocalist Darren White quit the band. Rather than recruiting a new vocalist, the band decided that guitarist Vincent Cavanagh would assume the vocals. This new formation debuted by touring with Cathedral on an UK tour.
Later that year, the band released The Silent Enigma, which was a turning point in their career. The album incorporated changes in the vocal style and introduced much heavier goth elements. Most diehard fans consider this album the beginning of Anathema's metaphorical downfall.
1996 saw the release of Eternity, which relied more on atmospheric sounds and started the migration to clean vocals, which would be consolidated in Judgement. A European tour followed.
Alternative 4 was released in 1998. During this time the band underwent many line-up changes. Bassist Duncan Patterson quit due to musical differences and was replaced by David Pybus, who was part of Duncan's side-band Dreambreed. Martin Powell (who played keyboards in My Dying Bride previously) also joined the band. Finally, John Douglas assumed (again) the drummer position.
In June of 1999, the album Judgement was released. This album marks Anathema's complete shift from the doom metal genre, focusing instead on slower and more experimental songs. However, the essence of the band was kept, as their songs continued to transpose a feeling of depression and more often than not desperation.
On the same year, Martin Powell switched positions with Cradle of Filth's, keyboard player Les Smith, who became an integral member of Anathema.
Shortly before the release of A Fine Day to Exit, Dave Pybus announced his departure from the band to join - ironically - Cradle of Filth. He was replaced by touring bassist George Roberts and then by Jamie Cavanagh.
In March of 2002, Daniel Cavanagh announced his departure from the band, joining Duncan Patterson's band Antimatter. But he came back to Anathema and in 2003 the band released A Natural Disaster and started an European Tour. This album took experimenting a bit further showing that their biggest source of inspiration is Pink Floyd.
Today the music of Anathema lost all connection with the doom or metal genre, but has a more atmospheric and progressive tone. It owes more to the like of Radiohead, Jeff Buckley and especially Pink Floyd, a major influence for the band.
Due to the closing of their label Music for Nations, the next album release is scheduled for 2006.
- Daniel Cavanagh - Lead guitar
- Vincent Cavanagh - Vocals and rhythm guitar
- Jamie Cavanagh - Bass
- Les Smith - Keyboards
- John Douglas - Drums
- Darren White - Vocals
- Duncan Patterson - Bass
- Shaun Steels - Drums
- Martin Powell - Keyboards
- Dave Pybus - Bass
- The Crestfallen (EP) (1992)
- Serenades (album) (1993)
- Pentecost III (EP) (1995)
- The Silent Enigma (album) (1995)
- Eternity (album) (1996)
- Alternative 4 (album) (1998)
- Judgement (album) (1999)
- Resonance (compilation) (2001)
- A Fine Day to Exit (album) (2001)
- Resonance Vol. 2 (compilation) (2002)
- A Natural Disaster (album) (2003)