The Anchoret

Canadian proggers The Anchoret merge together virtually to tell a tale of loneliness.

“This was a one-man project in the beginning,” Eddy Levitsky explains, when we ask about the theme of loneliness that runs through The Anchoret’s debut album, It All Began With Loneliness. “I built the band to connect with other people through the internet and have a bit of collaboration.”

Levitsky had just relocated to a new city when the pandemic began in 2020, and it hit him hard. “I was in a new town,” he explains, “I still felt like a stranger in a strange world.”

Levisky had a vision of combining genres and creating a bridge between the prog world, which he enjoyed growing up, and the metal world. “With that vision I started putting pen to paper, one thing led to another and I connected with all of these other people who were just as isolated as myself.” Levitsky sees this as a coming together of worlds, a coincidence that was always meant to happen. He created the demos for the album alone, and wanted them to be as accurate to the final product as possible, before posting them on forums and apps to find “people who use music to help themselves as well” to work with on the release.

In fact, aside from Levitsky and Sylvain Auclair [vocals], the members of The Anchoret have never met in person. Levitsky orchestrated the creation of the album, and gathered this eclectic group of people to work and record together. “I never expected such talented people to reach out, but I got lucky,” he explains. In reality, the musicianship, writing, and end result of Levitsky’s ideas is more than likely what drew in Auclair, Leo Estalles [guitar], James Knoerl [drums] and Andy Tillison [keys, synths]. “I would love nothing more than to meet these people. It did all begin with loneliness and they were my help.”

The album was recorded entirely remotely, with Levitsky taking in a project manager role, but he explains that each member had a story to tell. It reflects well on him, then, that despite being the sole songwriter and musician, when he invited these newfound friends into the fold to help him create It All Began With Loneliness, they felt able to express their feelings and pour their emotions into the album just as much as he had.

“I thought it would probably piss off both the metal community who are very set in their ways and the prog community who can also be set in their ways, and to bridge the two – I was sure I was making a mistake,” he laughs. “I’m humbled by the reaction, I really am.” Having been picked up by Willowtip – a label notorious for making good discoveries – has really worked in The Anchoret’s favour, but the music speaks for itself. After all, loneliness truly was a motif of the pandemic and the subject matter is more relatable than any of us want it to be – but perhaps that’s why people are gravitating towards their debut album.

Eduard Levitsky [bass], Sylvain Auclair [vocals], Leo Estalles [guitar], James Knoerl [drums] and Andy Tillison [keys, synths]

Haunting melodic metal, 70s prog rock, and ingenious songwriting mixed in a potent cocktail you can’t get enough of.

It All Began With Loneliness is released June 23 via Willowtip Records.


— Cheri Faulkner

From "Limelight - The Anchoret" Prog Reprinted with permission.

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