Duncan Patterson was one of the chief songwriters and the
bassist for Anathema through the release of their album "Alternative 4." After spending time in the band Anti-Matter, he formed the band Alternative 4, named for the Anathema album. One would expect some similarities to older Anathema with his new band, but they are not obvious at all.
"The Obscurants" is the second release for Alternative 4 and it is not an album that reveals itself easily. It is not the doom metal of ancient Anathema, though it is extremely slow and dark nonetheless. One comparison would be perhaps Pink Floyd in one of Roger Waters' darkest moods
- specifically, the longest track "Paracosm," which is quite Floyd-like in instrumentation and is in no particular hurry to go anywhere, at first. Eventually the track does take you were IT wants you to go. "Dina" is a good representation of the somber tone to the vocals and music of the album. It's peaceful yet somewhat unnerving at the same time. "Lifeline" is another moody, mellow track but it does have elements of modern-day Anathema, complete with female harmony vocals. I could easily hear Anathema doing this track.
Though Patterson has left the fold, he left a mark on that band. The main difference is that Anathema is about light and Alternative 4 is about darkness.
Being a fan of Anathema, I am pleased with the direction the Cavanaugh brothers took that band and the direction
Duncan Patterson has taken with his own band. While similar at times, "The
Obscurants" proves that Alternative 4 are well on their way to being an
"alternative" for Anathema fans who find that band getting a bit too happy.