Jeez, what's up with Danny Cavanagh? The main songwriter for Liverpool's majestic prog act Anathema is obsessed - make that all caps: OBSESSED - with near-death experiences. Not sure who he lost or what he went through or even how many times he watched "The Sixth Sense," but Cavanagh is on a two-album tear of artistic therapy in which he explores the themes of loss, love, hope and celestial permanence. As with the previous masterpiece, "We're Here Because We're Here," Anathema sculpt shimmering slices of aural wonder that build and build in trance-inducing vocal melodies and waterfall instrumentation. Yes, there are elements that touch on the new-agey, but the music is all-world, and Cavanagh's obvious sincerity and fathoms-deep emotional connection far transcend any perceived corn factor.
- RICK KOSTER