Lush isn't an adjective that one would have used to describe Anathema in the early to mid-'90s; back then, the British band was often described as blistering, ferocious, and brutal. But Anathema has changed considerably since then, and 2001's A Fine Day to Exit is, in fact, a lush and highly melodic effort that has very little in common with their early releases. While the old Anathema was an underground metal band, this CD has nothing to do with metal -- even those who have an extremely broad definition of the term heavy metal would agree there's no way that A Fine Day to Exit should be described as metal. Anathema has evolved into an atmospheric, moody, spacey alternative rock outfit whose influences range from Radiohead to Pink Floyd to the Beatles to various goth rockers; without question, Anathema has reinvented themselves in a major way. Whether or not this change is a good thing depends on one's point of view; headbangers who only want to hear a metal-oriented Anathema will no doubt resent the fact that tracks like "Underworld" and "Looking Outside Inside" have nothing to do with metal. But those who keep an open mind and respect Anathema's right to evolve will find that this album has a great deal to offer. The only thing about Anathema that hasn't changed is their desire to provide dark, gloomy lyrics; as much as the band has evolved musically, they haven't lost their fascination with the dark side. A Fine Day to Exit may not be the album that headbangers dream of, but it's a pleasing chapter in the evolution of Anathema.
AllMusic Review by Alex Henderson