After Anathema’s 2012 award-winning album Weather Systems and 2014’s spellbinding Distant Satellites, the ambient rockers are back with their eleventh full-length, The Optimist. Due for release on 9th June through Kscope ‘The Optimist’ will soon reveal some of the darkest, most challenging and unexpected music the sextet have put their name to.


Photographer – Scarlet Page.

Anathema, led by brothers Daniel and Vincent Cavanagh, along with drummer John Douglas, singer Lee Douglas, bassist Jamie Cavanagh and keyboardist Daniel Cardoso began recording ‘The Optimist’ in the winter of 2016 at Attica Audio in Donegal, Ireland and then finished at Castle Of Doom studios in Glasgow with producer Tony Doogan [Mogwai, Belle & Sebastian, Super Furry Animals] at the helm. Vincent elaborates on Doogan’s influence on the recording process “he suggested that we record as a live band, which we hadn’t done for years. Having played a few tunes on the last tour, we were ready for that. Tony wanted to capture that energy you can only get with everyone facing each other… it makes a big difference. He was a superb guy to work with and I learned a lot making this record”.

The idea for ‘The Optimist’ was born from the front cover artwork of the band’s 2001 album A Fine Day To Exit Daniel Cavanagh explains “I suppose you might say the album is semi-autobiographical because this time we used a surrogate,” he says, of the character that is The Optimist “We put sound, feelings and crucially, our own hopes and fears into another person and made him the subject of the songs then weaving my own internal monologue into the narrative of The Optimist. It was John’s idea to write a narrative, so I took A Fine Day To Exit as the starting point”. Vincent elaborates further on the earlier album’s artwork influence “The guy who disappeared – you never knew what happened to him, did he start a new life? Did he succumb to his fate? It was never explained. The opening track title is the exact coordinates for Silver Strand beach in San Diego – the last known location of The Optimist – shown on the cover of A Fine Day to Exit.”

noun: optimist; plural noun: optimists.
1.A person who tends to be hopeful and confident about the future or the success of something.
2.A person who believes that this world is the best of all possible worlds or that good must ultimately prevail over evil.

ana_thema_the optimist

To continue the theme further, the band brought back designer and illustrator Travis Smith to create the artwork for The Optimist. The artwork was created from a series of photographs Smith took on a West Coast road trip.

With the character’s unresolved destiny the three song writing members, meticulously brought the unfinished story to an end – and most strikingly of all – one which is decided by the listener.

Track List:

32.63N 117.14W [01:18]
Leaving It Behind [04:27]
Endless Ways [05:49]
The Optimist [05:37]
San Francisco [04:59]
Springfield [05:49]
Ghosts [04:17]
Can`t Let Go [05:00]
Close Your Eyes [03:39]
Wildfires [05:40]
Back To The Start [11:41]

Anathema will be revealing more information on The Optimist very soon, album formats and further touring details.

Summer Festivals & shows
11/06/17 – UK, Donington Download Festival
16/06 – BE Dessel , Graspop Metal Meeting
23/06 – NL, Nijmegen – Doornroosje
24/06 – NL, Valkenburg – Midsummer Prog Festival
01/07 – SP, Barcelona – Be Prog My Friend Festival
01-02/07/17 – GR, Athens – Rock Wave Festival

The Optimist tour:
08/06/17 – Russia – Moscow – Yotaspace
09/06/17 – Russia – St. Petersburg – ClubZal
03/08/17 – Mexico – Monterrey – Café Iguana
04/08/17 – Mexico – Guadalajara – C3 Stage
05/08/17 – Mexico – Mexico City – El Plaza Condesa
07/07/17 – Columbia – Bogota – Teatro Ecci
09/07/17 – Chile – Santiago – Teatro Cariola
11/08/17 – Argentina – Buenos Aires – Groove
12/08/17 – Brazil – Sao Paolo – Carioca Cluba
23/09/17 – NI – Belfast – Limelight 2
24/09/17 – IRE – Dublin – Academy

Many more dates to be announced soon!
Tickets on sale now on


Rock City Nottingham 23.3.17

Tonight’s show was a rarity, as I’d managed to secure an interview, with both of the headlining bands and as I’d been given a plus one, I thought it would be cool to ask a friend along and make a day of it. So a day off work was in order, to make the most of it and also prevent me stressing out about getting to the venue in time, as everyone knows what a nightmare it is getting into Nottingham these days!


On arrival, we were greeted by Devilskin’s manager, James, what a pleasant guy, no really! As the band were still sound checking, it gave me an opportunity to pick my spot and get set up. Afterwards, we had some time to kill so we got to witness a preview, of the nights events – Soundcheck! What a treat, to see Jennie of Devilskin, belting out lyrics in a more relaxed environment and even here, she gives it her all!

Our first interview, was with Devilskin and from that band, we spoke with Jennie (vocals) and Nail (guitar) awesome interview.

We then spoke with Sumo Cyco. Initially, we spoke with the lovely Skye (vocals) and then later, Matt (guitar) decided to gatecrash our interview, which was all very cool. If I’m honest, it helped to bring a whole new set of questions to our interview – cheers Matt.

With our interviews done, we still had enough time to see the first act up tonight and let’s not forget them here, as they are a local band who go by the name “Eva Plays Dead” and are a band I’d never heard of before tonight, but by all accounts they are making some real headway with their style of rock/punk music and it’s easy to see why, with the energy of this band. Definitely check these guys and girl out if you can, as there’s two very good reasons to do so. Firstly, Tiggy’s voice is extremely powerful, so it’s obvious to see why these guys managed to tour with Devilskin and Sumo Cyco as she definitely holds her own, in the powerful vocals department! Secondly, they are a lot of fun to watch live! Tonight, my friend and I, after seeing (another) Matt on guitar, looked at each other and thought our friend, who lives in London, was playing in Eva Plays Dead. Turns out, we’ve managed to find his twin – they’re not related, but man, they look alike. Matt too had some great energy tonight and is also a great guitar player!

Tiggy Dee - Eva Plays Dead

Tiggy (vocals) did confess, she’s usually throwing more shapes around during a live performance but she was recovering from concussion! That said, she still managed to give a great performance tonight and we hope to see you playing again soon, seeing as you’re local!

Having heard some of Devilskin’s work prior to tonight, I was looking forward to seeing these guys play live! With two studio albums under their belt, the latest of which “Be Like The River” was released last year and has been greatly received but it was their highly anticipated debut album “We Rise” that has thrown the music industry into a frenzy for these guys. Jennie has a massive range in her voice and uses every ounce of energy, in every song the band have produced. Sadly, this current run of tour dates has now finished and the band are back in New Zealand where they’re from, having a well deserved rest but does a band of this stature ever really rest? I’m aware Devilskin are back here very soon, in two months time in fact, when they support Airbourne on a string of dates before they play the Dogtooth stage, at Download Festival, on the Sunday. If you’re going, be sure to check these guys out, I’m sure you’ll be as impressed with this band, as I am.

Jennie Skulander - Devilskin

Tonight’s set was a masterclass in how to entertain a crowd during a live gig. The song choices were perfect, as they took us on a journey and evoked a whole range of different emotions, but above all, they entertained us perfectly. I even bought a T-shirt, to show my support for the band!

Paul Martin - Devilskin

Finally, a band who the UK music lovers, have welcomed in with open arms and embraced them as one of our own – Sumo Cyco. I can now say this, with confidence, as I now know, they’ve toured the UK six times over the years and every tour appears to have been more successful than the last. This band appeal to me greatly, as they remind me of Skindred, even more so now, as they’ve collaborated with the man himself, Benji Webb, on the track ‘Move Mountains” and a belter of a track it is too!

The first thing likely to strikes you about this band, is the sensual appearance of the bands lead singer, Skye however, her prowess runs much deeper than just her appearance. She is in fact the founding member of the band and all the men within it, work for her! She comes up with most of the lyrics and melodies, with the rest of the band guiding her to what sounds right, what works and what doesn’t, as any good musician should, I guess. I’m aware this band have an ever increasing fan base, loyal to the core, as they’ve proved recently during the bands latest pledge campaign. One guy, Lars, from Germany, even flew himself all the way over to Canada to feature in a music video and help write a song – now that’s commitment! Check out our interview, to reveal more.

Skye Sweetnam - Sumo Cyco

Tonight’s performance was incredible, with every member of the band performing as though it was their last and tomorrow would never come. Thankfully it did and the band have won my heart, with their exuberant performance tonight.

Matt MD13 Drake - Sumo Cyco

Sumo Cyco have now flown over to mainland Europe to continue touring with Hed PE, another band we’re fond of here. It’s safe to say, these guys are true professionals and born performers and we look forward to seeing them play here again in the UK real soon. I just hope I’m there when Benji graces the stage to duet for the bands track, the previously mentioned “Moved Mountains”, which is the bands latest single from their new album OPUS MAR, which gets released on the 31st of March. I did however, manage to buy a copy at tonight’s gig, ahead of its release and I’m enjoying listening to it right now!

As the year marches on, festival season is fast approaching so roll on summer, good times, good friends and above all, plenty of the good music that awaits us! See you soon, fingers crossed!

Review and Photography by Jay Hawkins (JJ Photography UK)


Ahead of the release of their EP ‘Better Safe Than Sober’.

British doom pop group announced for Bloodstock Festival ahead of EP release / New song ‘Knowhere‘ now streaming online.

Rising stars Courtesans have been invited to perform live at the UK’s number one metal festival, Bloodstock Open Air, at Catton Park, Derbyshire this Summer. Courtesans play the Sophie Lancaster stage on Sunday the 13th of August 2017.

Bloodstock Open Air Festival 2017

Demonstrating musical diversity and making waves with their forthcoming new EP ‘Better Safe Than Sober‘, this extraordinary band joins an extraordinary bill which includes Amon Amarth, Megadeth, Skindred, Arch Enemy, Hatebreed, Testament, King 810 and many more.

Courtesans vocalist Sinead La Bella says, “To perform at Bloodstock is incredible exciting. It’s a huge honour to play the Sophie Lancaster Stage, her legacy is at the heart of our ethics. We are advocates of equality and have a zero tolerance to any form of prejudice. We hope to raise a few eyebrows and stir some s**t up!”

Ahead of the release of their EP ‘Better Safe Than Sober’, Courtesans are streaming a new track, ‘Knowhere’.

Better Safe Than Sober’ drops on the 31st March and is available to PRE-ORDER now.

Courtesans live:

1st April – Manchester, Ruby Lounge
5th May – Brighton, Green Door Store
3rd June – Sheffield, Mosfest
23rd July – Gloucester, Amplified Festival
13th August – Walton On Trent, Bloodstock Festival