Alternative 4 – The Obscurants

album by:
Alternative 4
cd/ download

Reviewed by:
On 17 September 2014
Last modified:17 September 2014


Pure brilliance, Alternative 4 produce an ambient and progressive masterpiece

Alternative 4Following on from debut album The Brink, Duncan Patterson and Alternative 4 return with not merely a follow up album but an engaging and thought provoking work of musical art.

Forever associated with Anathema/Antimatter, Duncan Patterson truly nails it with ‘The Obscurants‘, a fine collection of emotional and yet quite hard hitting songs that carry the listener out into the clouds, floating in a dream scape of beautiful, organic wonderment. Lyrically, the album is surprisingly dark in places, tales of conspiracy and cover ups abound, whilst musically the album is most definitely a moving and often uplifting and inspiring affair, many a track will have you drawing a deep breath to suppress an emotional drowning, and when songs can draw you in and engage your feelings in that way, then you know you’re onto a winner.

As a whole piece, the album moves seamlessly from track to track, and from movement to movement, maintaining as it does, a sense of  clarity and purpose throughout. The sound overall, has a distinct ambient and retro tinge, aided by the use of vocoders, synths and guitar distortion but for me, the sublime use of piano stood out as a particular highlight. In many ways, the sound is very minimalist and bare, a perfect example of less is more if ever I heard one.

Tracks like ‘Dina’, ‘Lifeline’ and ‘Mr Black’ are shining beacons of such song writing quality, that it becomes impossible not to lose yourself amongst them, the latter in particular, one of my album favorites. Final track ‘Closure’, is a perfect way to end a highly sophisticated and triumphant release, seven minutes of pure genius.

‘The Obscurants’, will of course be loved and cherished by the Anathema faithful, and rightly so. However, I suggest listening and appreciating it with a fresh ear, a clear mind, and an open heart. From memory, I can’t recall the debut album receiving much of a push promo wise, although Prophecy Productions did re release it further down the line, and so I sincerely hope that the powers that be get behind this record, as it truly deserves to be heard from near and far.

Track Listing;

1. Theme For The Obscurantist
2. Paracosm
3. Returning The Screwalternative 4 band
4. Dina
5. Lifeline
6. The Tragedy Shield
7. Mr Black
8. Closure

Alternative 4 are;

Duncan Patterson – Keyboards, Bass
Mauro Frison – Drums
Simon Flatley – Vocals, Guitars

Available now through Prophecy Productions




Pure brilliance, Alternative 4 produce an ambient and progressive masterpiece

About Simon Bower

Rock/Metal junkie living in beautiful Anglesey.Love live music and have a musical taste which can go from Cannibal Corpse to Kate Bush in the blink of an eye.