ReviewsThe Anchoret Offers Audiences A Unique Prog-Metal Offering In...

The Anchoret Offers Audiences A Unique Prog-Metal Offering In Its Latest LP


Independent progressive metal outfit The Anchoret is scheduled to release its new album, It All Began With Loneliness next Friday through Willowtip Records.  The nearly hour-long album is a presentation that every prog-metal fan will enjoy, as the trio of singles the record has already released prove.  The six other songs that make up the remainder of the record further cement that statement.  That is evidenced in part through the record’s musical arrangements, which will be discussed shortly.  The lyrical content that accompanies the album’s musical arrangements makes for its own interest and will be examined a little later.  The record’s overall production puts the finishing touch to the presentation and completes the record’s presentation.  When it is considered along with the album’s overall content, the whole makes It All Began With Loneliness one more of the best of this year’s new independent albums, as well as one more of the year’s top new metal albums and potentially even best new albums overall.

It All Began With Loneliness, the new, forthcoming album from independent progressive metal outfit The Anchoret, is a potential triple threat presentation.  It is easily among the best of this year’s new independent albums.  In addition, it is also among the best of this year’s new metal albums and potentially the year’s top new overall albums.  The record’s success is due in no small part to its featured musical arrangements.  From beginning to end of the 58-minute record, the arrangements exhibit clear influence from some of the biggest names in the progressive metal community.  Those names include the likes of Devin Townsend, Leprous, Dream Theater, and even Between The Buried and Me.  The influences are evidenced through the distinct vocal styling and instrumentation in each work. At times melancholic and at others absolutely fiery, the vocals are perfectly placed and utilized within each song.  The guitar lines – which at times even conjure thoughts of those from the likes of TeseracT – make for their own depth and richness alongside the songs’ bass lines and drums.  The fact that at points, the arrangements even utilize a saxophone and a flute in a near jazz styling makes for even more interest and originality with the songs.  All things considered, the band – Eduard Levitsky (bass), Sylvain Auclair (vocals), James Christopher Knoerl (drums), Andy Tillison (keyboards), and Leo Estalles (lead guitar) – has crafted in each of the album’s songs, works that are entirely original and unique even with the influence of its noted, more well-known contemporaries evident in each composition.  They are works that will wholly immerse listeners because of that originality and because of their production, which will be discussed later.  This aspect of the album’s presentation in itself creates a solid foundation for the record and is more than reason enough for audiences to hear the album.

The lyrical themes that accompany the album’s musical arrangements build on that foundation and strengthen the album’s presentation all the more.  This has already been proven through the singles that the album has already produced.  ‘Buried,’ the album’s latest single for instance, presents a statement about self-examination and value.  As the band noted in a statement about the song, “There are moments in life when we look into the mirror and fail to recognize the reflection staring back at us.  This song implores us to go deeper within ourselves, remember our dreams and aspirations, and re-discover self-love.”  This is a theme that is quite familiar and just as welcome here in this case as in so many other songs out there by acts at the independent and major label level.

The manner in which the band delivers that commentary is what really makes for the interest here.  Auclair sings in the song’s lead verse and chorus, “Searching for a spark of light in your eyes/I know it’s there/Hiding in the back of your head/I’ve seen it shine before/It’s sleeping in the night/Don’t bury it away/The hurt is what you feel/Don’t bury it away/Please show me how you dream.”  This is not an outright statement.  If not for the explanation from the band this content could have been interpreted as either being a commentary about either mental health or someone pleading for another to be happy again in a relationship.  Knowing the background on the song and reading this much of the song, it really is an interesting way to approach the all too familiar topic.  Auclair continues in the song’s second verse, “Closer to the marrow/I have given it a name/Closer to God/Closer to your well/It resides in our dreams/I am the same/I cover my eyes when afraid to lose it all again.”  This is certain to get listeners thinking because of the visual that it paints.  It and the song’s lead verse make clear why this overall content is a prime example of what makes the album’s lyrical content so important to its presentation.

‘Someone Listening?,’ which comes earlier in the album’s run and is not one of its singles, is another good example of what makes the record’s lyrical content pivotal in its role.  In the case of this song, the theme comes across as being somewhat sociopolitical.  This is inferred as Auclair sings in the song’s lead verse and chorus, “To sacrifice my lie/Is what I choose to do/Without a second thought/In my eyes lies the truth/It’s what I do/All for you/It’s all for you/I do it for you/How long can we last without each other/It’s all I think about/The need to heal the world now/Is more powerful than to burn it down/Fate has ordained/That the men who went to the moon/To explore in peace/Stay on the moon to rest in peace/They know that there is no hope for their recovery/But they also knew that there is hope for mankind in their sacrifice/Calling, calling home/Is there someone listening/Calling, calling home/Is there someone listening?”  This comes across somewhat more clearly than the message in the other examined song.  This really comes across as being that noted discussion on how certain people make sacrifices in life, hoping it will lead to the betterment of the world.  This is furthered in the song’s second verse in which Auclair adds, “In the ancient days/Man looked to the stars in search of hope/Now in modern times, all we see is darkness/We don’t know who we are anymore/Still we look to the stars.  This is a very telling statement.  It is a statement of how mankind has lost itself.  That could not be truer today than in any other point in human history.  Keeping this in mind, the relative accessibility of this message through its delivery and the message itself make the song another example of the importance of the album’s lyrical themes.

‘Forsaken,’ which is another of the album’s singles, is yet another example of the role the album’s lyrical themes play in its presentation.  According to a statement from the band, the theme here centers on “the loss of innocence and how the light in our lives slowly fades away with time.”  Yes, this is hardly a positive, upbeat theme, but it is original and unique.  Few if any bands – independent or otherwise – have touched on this matter or even began to broach the subject.  The subject notes here that “days fade away/Where I can’t feel a thing/Nothing seems real/My blood thickening/I swallow my dreams/I/Now too black to feel/I/Now reside in my cloak of fear/I know it’s wrong/You feel it, too/Just a forsaken, inhuman fool.”  To say that these words are powerful is an understatement.  Only someone who has gone through what this subject has gone through can ever fully relate.  Even those who maybe cannot begin to relate will still read these words and be so moved by the thoughtfulness of their delivery.  The rest of the song’s lyrics are just as deeply emotional and moving.  To that end, they continue to show the importance of the lyrical content in this record as much as that in the other songs examined here and the album’s other entries.  All things considered, the lyrical content featured within It All Began With Loneliness is just as deeply thought out and delivered as the album’s musical arrangements.  That collective content makes the album’s main body reason enough and then some for audiences to hear The Anchoret’s new album.

As much as the content featured in The Anchoret’s new album does to make the record so engaging and entertaining, it is just part of what makes the album worth hearing.  The album’s production puts the finishing touch to its presentation, creating a positive general effect that will ensure listeners’ engagement and entertainment just as much as the album’s content. That is due to the attention that was paid to balancing each musician’s part in partner with his fellow musicians.  Considering the wall of sound generated through most of the record’s songs, the painstaking efforts clearly and fully paid off.  The result is a whole that is just as worth hearing for its aesthetics as for its content.  The whole makes It All Began With Loneliness a strong starting point for The Anchoret’s new audiences and an equally enjoyable work for the band’s established audiences.

It All Began With Loneliness, the latest album from The Anchoret, is a unique addition to this year’s field of new metal and progressive metal records.  That is proven in part through its featured musical arrangements.  The arrangements are of note because while they clearly take influence from some much more well-known prog-metal bands, such as Devin Townsend, Leprous, Dream Theater, and Between The Buried and Me, those influences remain just that.  The band uses those influences to create nine prog-metal compositions that are uniquely their own and fully engaging and entertaining.  The lyrical themes that accompany the album’s musical content are of note, too, because they are unique in their own right.  Ranging from the more familiar to the touchier, the band takes on a range of topics here and does so in an equally original fashion.  The record’s production puts the finishing touch to the whole, ensuring the record is just as immersive for its aesthetics as for its content.  Each element noted is important in its own way to the whole of the album’s presentation.  All things considered they make It All Began With Loneliness a welcome addition to this year’s field of new metal and prog-metal albums.  What’s more, it has the potential to be among the best of the year’s new albums overall as a result of everything noted, too.

It All Began With Loneliness is scheduled for release next Friday through Willowtip Records.  More information on the album is available along with all of the band’s latest news at: