Daniel Cavanagh - Monochrome

Daniel Cavanagh Monochrome cover
Daniel Cavanagh
Anathema frontman did go solo and acoustic a while ago… and while for a variety of reasons Anathema from their early 90s death metal humble beginnings right around the end of the millennium sounded genuine, artistic and driven, they became a watered down boring shadow of their former-selves, slaves to form rather than function and “successful” by appealing to a larger more mainstream audience that until that point snubbed them, by softening and homogenizing their sound even further leading it into an even valley of nauseating radio-friendly brit rock that for some reason some labeled as “prog”, because of the “atmosphere”.
Cavanagh’s tonality is still questionable, several albums into a career, although generous amounts of reverb and the sheer passion, sort of blur up things, saving some face and grace... sometimes.
“The Exorcist” has one semi-decent idea, but is highly questionable and the whiney vocal that just veers on and one monotonous as hell, hardly is a redeeming quality, despite a nice enough melody.
“This Music” features humming and soft airy falsettos, as well as Anneke Van Giersbergen, whose presence is still unable to elevate a song that frankly is quite boring.
“Soho” where the aforementioned AVG resurfaces, also features talented violinist Anna Phoebe and is even more minimal, apart from a crescendo in the middle, but somewhat better.
The pretentiously titled and Poe inspired “The Silent Flight of the Raven Winged Hours” has some very lowly mixed (vocoded?) vocal sounds, as if vocals where there, but the central channel got canceled, thus making it the finest song in the album, especially with its tempestuous moments here and there; not that they are not reminiscent of the past… some backwards tracked also lowly mixed vocals contribute to a bit more intrigue, but what benefits this track is actually the lack of vocals.
“Dawn”, another tune along with the previous one to feature the talents of AP, is pretty much based around a jig and likewise doesn’t have vocals, just DC adding some harmonized ahhhhh’s here and there…
“Oceans of Time”, the last song to featured Anneke, also fails to capitalize on that. It’s slow and at over eight minutes, bored me to tears, literally tears, from yawning… while I didn’t feel sleepy. Also its last part that tries to sustain notes is meaningless, pedantic and without any redeeming qualities. Some people can do that perfectly, ie David Gilmour, who’s carved a career out of sustaining shit forever, but here it sounds pitchy, squealing and ultimately annoying…
Also the long winded and minimal “Some Dreams Come True” could have easily been replaced by a song from one of those “Sounds of the Forest” compilations and no-one would have noticed, so contrived and boring it is…
An album that feels misguided, as it’s too focused to be perceived as “ambient” or chilled-out, but on the other hand also too repetitive and watered down to really captivate the listener in truly interesting prog-sound-scapes. Just being boring and not even in a cool way like PSB.