A Fine Day To Exit is Anathema's latest and possibly last offering, released in 2001. Replete with the usual Anathema fare of melodic soft-rock songs dealing with the futility of life and the inevitable onward march of time, A Fine Day To Exit comes off sounding similar in style to their last album, Judgement, only with a warmer sound which is perhaps a little more accomplished and mature than before. As a whole it is not as easily accessible as their last few records, but give it a few listens and it will end up gently pushing its way into your heart.

The album itself does sound like the perfect release for the band to end on; it paints a sad and lonely portrait reminiscent of the empty beach on the CD's cover before ending with the strangely comforting upbeat melodies of the final track, Temporary Peace. The artwork actually lends a lot to the album's atmosphere, the back cover depicting a man driving at night, the apparition of a young boy in the road before him, then the front cover showing almost the same view from within the car, only now it is empty and parked on a beach strewn with clothes. He had obviously decided that this was a fine day to exit. Regarding the story behind the pictures, frontman Vincent Cavanagh had this to say:

If you look at the back cover it's like, well, imagine a guy, like awaking, twenty years doing the same old thing, and he doesn't realise what's all about. He's just been listening to lies, he's been told lies all his life. So he awakes in the middle of the night, he drives along the road, remembering the time when he was a kid, when he was happy, wondering what he's gonna do, he's going mad, gets everything he could possibly do, he does it all, drugs, pills, booze, guns, thinks he's gonna kill himself, thinks he's not gonna kill himself, wondering what to do, drives at the beach at five o'clock in the morning. Sits on the beach and start to think, and goes like "Screw it, I'll just leave it all behind, start something fresh, start a new life, just like a rebirth". That's the general thing behind it.

So now you know. If you are unfamiliar with Anathema, Judgement is probably a better album to listen to just to get into the band, but overall this ranks higher in my personal collection. Here are A Fine Day's tracks:

  1. Pressure
  2. Release
  3. Looking Outside Inside
  4. Leave No Trace
  5. Underworld
  6. Barriers
  7. Panic
  8. A Fine Day to Exit
  9. Temporary Peace

Here, in time-honoured tradition, are the lyrics for the title track:

A Fine Day To Exit
2001, Anathema

Long way from home
Nowhere to go
What made the river so cold?
Sweat of thoughts
Trickle down my brow
Soaking and stinging my eyes

You gotta face it head on
So you can turn this thing around
Cos this ain't right

Tell tale sighs and cries
Dreams unfulfilled
And time is running, running dry
Panic stricken bloodshot hearts
Try to restart
But no longer build the will to survive sweet oblivion

You gotta face it head on
So you can turn this thing around
Cos this ain't right

I got these feelings and I don't know why
I see all my fears in the darkness of light
What made the river so cold?
Never anyone to rearrange and fall to
Time inside the empty
Call to the blameless
I am faithless
Placid dying eyes

You gotta face it head on
So you can turn this thing around
Cos this ain't right
You have to go eye to eye
Raise your face to the sky
Cos this ain't right

You've got to believe when I say
Only this is the way

(Apologies if the lines aren't quite separated properly, my brother is borrowing the CD so I can't remember how they go). More lyrics are available on the "albums" page of Anathema's poorly-designed official website, at http://www.blackmetal.com/~mega/Anathema/albums.shtml

The site is cheekily subtitled "A Fine Day To Visit".

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