"Eternity" is a defining turning point for Liverpool's doomsters ANATHEMA. Prior to this album, they had released two full-length albums (plus EPs and several demos) that were well received by the media; some even stated the band as pioneers of Doom Metal. I wouldn't say they were THE pioneers but they were one of the first to play Doom Metal and together with MY DYING BRIDE and PARADISE LOST they influenced tons of bands and still do believe it or not.
This is where the band starts to move away from their Doom Metal roots welcoming a more psychedelic, experimental but nevertheless deep and agonising sound. Even the album's artwork is somewhat experimental using a spacey motive with an angel in the middle of a nebula pointing upwards. I'm at loss for words; this is so emotionally crafted music with the most hurting atmospheres, which is why ANATHEMA's third full-length is such a special and challenging album, that takes some time to get into because of its emotional sound. As mentioned the boys decided to change their musical direction, it's really limited how much you can achieve in the typical stripped down Doom Metal genre. "Eternity" can be described as a mix of Doom and Melancholic Metal with PINK FLOYD influences and weeping atmospheres and I have to say that it sounds very original and very mature.
The mournful journey starts with the beautiful intro "Sentient"; already in the opening seconds you'll notice the inspiring atmosphere the album has. The second track "Angelica" is a typical ANATHEMA song with melancholic atmosphere, weeping lead guitars and the soothing vocals of Vincent Cavanagh; I love the way this song starts with the distant guitar intro and as the drums and lead guitars fade in, the album's tragic veil descends upon you. The true masterpieces are "Eternity - Part 1", "Suicide Veil" and "Radiance" where the band is at their best. There's also a cover of PINK FLOYD's "Hope", I haven't heard the original but this version is great and sheds a hopeful light on an otherwise very sad album.
Vincent's vocals were improved greatly on this album when compared to his brutal singing on "The Silent Enigma"; although he hadn't found his range yet there's no denying the emotional impact of his vocal delivery, he tries a variety of vocal ranges from calm clean singing and spoken words to threatening and unhappy shouts, the growls have completely disappeared. The sound is good, but the drums are clumsy mixed in some songs and the guitars are rather foggy which creates an ethereal sound that does fit better with the songs, I guess it was intentional. "Eternity" was a positive album for the band itself and is a shining example of the their unique song writing skills; I think it may be their most atmospheric work to date, definitely a classic in the genre. (Online February 4, 2004)