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Weather Systems

scott adams

Two thirds of the way through 'Weather System''s lead track, 'Untouchable Pt 1', you'll already have given up.

anathema weather systems

Given up, that is, on trying to find reasons not to listen to the band because they're 'not Metal' anymore. For when singer Vincent Cavanagh takes you up in the arms of his emotive vocal, born on the wings of an imploringingly urgent drum and guitar backdrop, you can't fail but to want, really want, to go along for the ride.

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Sure, this ain't no stern-faced doom outfit anymore, but really, long term fans of the band accepted this fact with the turn of the century's revelatory 'Alternative 4' opus, and if you still harbour doubts about whether what this band is doing is for the best then, as duly noted, about four and a half minutes of the opening track should be enough to put your mind at rest.

'Untouchable' is simultaneously heart-wrenching and uplifting, the sort of music you'd expect to find under the tag 'emo' if emo didn't actually mean nasal-voiced, self obsessed, teen whining.

Cavanagh and vocal foil Lee Douglas take you to the brink of tears time and again on 'Weather Systems', before making it all better with a devastatingly well placed melody. "It's been an emotional rollercoaster" is a horribly overused cliché in 2012, but at this point I really can't think of a better way to describe this album.

When Douglas and Cavanagh duet over the frail piano framework of 'Untouchable Pt 2' you'll find your mood almost intangibly lift, even though the melancholy nature of the lyrics should be doing the opposite to you. This is powerful stuff. And when the other Cavanagh sibling, Daniel, takes the song over with some deliciously simple yet effective guitat figures you'll feel the goosebumps starting to rise – there's nothing you can do about it.

After the dozen or so minutes of emotional upheaval that is these two opening tracks you'd think that'd be it, time for something a little more prosaic, but then the band pitches into the effortlessly dramatic 'The Gathering Of The Clouds', and we're off again.

If anything, the relentless, urgent (though still quite sparse) instrumentation of TGotC is even more dramatic, strings slashing behind Douglas and Cavanagh's beautifully intermeshed vocals as percussionist John Douglas kicks the whole thing along with a simple kick drum.

'Lightning Song' is merely brilliant, and then everything the band has been trying to achieve coalesces and explodes beautifully on the mesmeric gorgeousness of 'Sunlight', where Danny's triumphant, chiming guitar will have you out of your seat and punching the air at the end of the song.

The first time I listened to this song, it was late and I was dozing. When this song exploded into life not only did it rouse me from my reveries, it plunged me into confusion, leaving me thinking that someone had slipped a never-before heard U2 song from around 1982 into the stereo. For the purposes of this review this is undoubtedly a good thing, and 'Sunlight' (rarely has a simple, single-worded song title been so apposite) is a truly great song.

'The Storm Before The Calm' is like a heavy version of what Pink Floyd were doing circa 'A Momentery Lapse Of Reason', which I suppose justifies the lazy 'prog' tag many people are trying to hang on this band. I truly do prefer to use the term Emo.

Few albums have such an intrinsically moving effect on me as 'Weather Systems', a relentless time and tide tugging of the heartstrings that simply doesn't let up for a second. This is emotional music of the highest order, even when Cavanagh comes close to singing the chorus of Ultravox classic 'Vienna' on the otherwise stupendous TSBtC.

It's very easy in these days of mass-produced, market saturated mediocrity to leap on an album that has one or two genuinely great tracks and proclaim it a masterpiece. There is no such danger here.

As 'Weather Systems' winds down through three more, beauteous, sumptuous tracks ('The Beginning And The End', the staggering 'The Lost Child' and the achingly touching 'Internal Landscapes') you'll find yourself reflecting that not one second has been wasted on this album, not one opportunity to twist the listener's responses this was and that has been spurned.

It's not Metal, not by any stretch of the imagination, but it is something else beginning with 'M'; 'Weather Systems' is a complete, unutterable masterpiece.


More Scott Adams right here.



Wacken Winter Nights 2018 takes place between February 23rd and 25th 2018 and the great news is that you can now experience a full-on, top class German Metal Festival easily and affordably.

It only takes an hour to fly to Hamburg from London and we've had longer journeys than that within the capital and they were certainly more expensive than the £33 air ticket that just appeared in our 'flights to Wacken Winter Nights' search.


Wacken Winter Nights is organised by the same team who are responsible for the world's greatest Metal festival, Wacken-Open-Air and the 2018 bill includes Skyclad, Orphaned Land, Elvenking, Finntroll, Grave Digger, Aeverium, Comes Vagantes, Coppelius, Corvus Corax, Die Pressgëng, Elvellon, Heimataerde, Hell-O-Matic, Ignis Fatuu, Ingrimm, Irdorath, Johnny Deathshadow, Krayenzeit, Letzte Instanz, Mr Hurley und die Pulveraffen, Pampatut, Pat Razket, Schandmaul, Sündenrausch, The Aberlour's, The Moon And The Nightspirit, Torfrock, Visions Of Atlantis, Vroudenspil, Wind Rose and more.

Besides this rich billing of superb Metal bands, there is so much more to see in the festival area including the medieval market and also the walking acts and jugglers you will meet at the theme worlds, including Robert Blake, three-time World Cup winner of street magic.

Wacken Winter Nights is something not to be missed and you can check out the amazing ticket and accommodation prices right here.

We just priced up the whole four day trip with hotels, flights, shuttles and festival tickets for less than £300 and we don't think you will get a better value festival than that, anywhere.


MetalTalk recently sat down with Wacken founder and owner Thomas Jensen and that interview will be online next week and it's a fascinating insight into how Wacken originated from nothing to become the world's premiere Heavy Metal event.


Wacken 2018 takes place from 2nd to 4th August 20218 and as with Wacken Winter Nights, if you have never experienced all it has to offer, then you owe it to yourself to remedy that.

Already announced for Wacken 2018 are Judas Priest, Nightwish, Running Wild (exclusive), Arch Enemy, Dirkschneider, Doro (Special Anniversary Show), In Extremo, Sepultura, Amorphis, Amaranthe, Firewind, W.A.R., Belphegor, Mantar, Knorkator, Deserted Fear, Watain, Night Demon, Epica, Knorkator, Belphegor, Firewind, Deserted Fear and many more and we'll have more Wacken 2018 announcements during December.

As well as being the greatest Heavy Metal festival in the world, it is without a doubt the Mecca of Metal and the one thing that every single person who loves our music should have on their bucket list.

For 2018, MetalTalk have joined forces with Wacken-Open-Air to help you get to Wacken easily and inexpensively and you can peruse the ticket and travel options right here.

If you are interested in going to Wacken 2018 and have questions, please fill out the form below and we will contact you with answers to all your enquiries. You are under no obligation whatsoever by filling this form out. We won't add you to any mailing lists or send you loads of spam - all we will do is help you get to Wacken as easily and inexpensively as possible.



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