You've never heard of Anekdoten? Well, don't feel too bad. Their style of music is progressive rock and I wouldn't be at all surprised if this genre was a mystery to you too. I'm the wrong person to ask about classifying music - I just know what I like. And I like Anekdoten very much!!
You can read some descriptions of progressive rock and its sub-genres. The music style originated in the late 60's and was popularized by bands like Yes; Genesis; King Crimson; and Emerson, Lake, and Palmer. The link with sub-genres gives examples of bands in each category - it doesn't list Anekdoten but since King Crimson is in the Symphonic category, I would put Anekdoten in the same category.
You can check out Anekdoten's official website. Sound-wise, comparing the band to King Crimson (especially on KC's Red album) is becoming a cliche but it's fairly accurate. Obviously if you don't know anything about King Crimson these comparisons make little sense to you but Anekdoten did a lot of Crimson covers in a previous incarnation as a trio and still do sometimes although they didn't when I saw them. Like most good progressive bands, they combine beauty, power, and passion in their music. Anekdoten is particulary good at combining very calm and soothing sounds with chaotic improvisation, often in the same song! They're on the harder side of progressive rock, sometimes even paralleling what I would call "head-banging music". They also have several songs with some hypnotically mellow portions such as Hole or This Too Will Pass.
I love their combination of instruments: guitar, bass, drums, cello, and one of my favorite under-appreciated instruments: the mellotron, a sort of early version of a sampling synthesizer used more in the 60's and 70's by classic progressive bands I mentioned earlier plus other bands like the Moody Blues (are the Moody Blues progressive?? there is no agreement among fans - I would say they are not progressive but I still like them a lot) and even the Beatles. They're usually used for classical instrument effects like strings or flutes and often produce an eerie or heart-wrenching sound. Here's a site I highly recommend for learning about the mellotron. You'll find famous samples of uses of mellotrons on songs (like the intro to "Strawberry Fields Forever") and bands who use them, both past and present. It's quite an impressive list!
I used to have clips of some of Anekdoten's songs on my site but I think the band has now done a much better job on their official website. Go there if you want to hear their excellent sounds!
I've been thrilled to see Anekdoten live three times. Click either link below for more information about either show:
Anekdoten was one of the primary reasons I decided to go to this festival in Baja Calfornia! I don't remember which day they performed at BajaProg and I don't have any photos. I didn't even have a camera with me but I had a great time.