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Anathema - Alternative 4 CD (album) cover




Experimental/Post Metal

4.09 | 554 ratings

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Any Colour You Like
Prog Reviewer
5 stars Having heard Judgement already, my hopes were high going into Alternative 4 - as you would expect given the sonic goodness Anathema had made their name upon. The Anathema sound is almost at its peak here, driving riffs, filled with atmosphere, doom and visceral power. But there is also an element of frailty in the music, complemented by severely depressing lyrics. From the first chords of Fragile Dreams, it is apparent that Alternative 4 will be a moving experience unlike many others.

Whilst not progressive in the eclectic or traditional sense, Alternative 4 relies heavily upon lyrical imagery, mixed with deep layers to form a dark timbre and texture. Think Floyd, but metal. There are several links to the old Doom Anathema, but don't worry - the cookie monster vocals stay far away, and only the sweet sounding rhythm section remains. The album focuses heavily upon the theme of trust, or lack thereof, and in typical Anathema style, builds power and momentum with forlorn vocals. The combination of such interesting lyrics and beautiful compositions means that the album flows nicely and does not feel overdone. The small touches of violin and sweeping keyboard movements add an extra spice to an otherwise standard Anathema composition. Make no mistake - this is the ultimate Anathema album, even if it doesn't quite reach the same desperate atmosphere as Judgement. The reason I prefer this album over Judgement is quite simple, while they are musically very similar, Alternative 4 is more daring in its lyrical content, while still maintaining a heavy and dark atmosphere. Judgement may be just too similar, and possibly derivative to its predecessor compared.

Alternative 4 is not without fault, it is crushingly downcast, and perhaps never quite reaches the musical smile inducing zenith of Judgement. But given the conceptual purpose, development and beauty of Alternative 4's composition, it is hard to listen and not feel a sense of warmth, in the brutal honesty of despair.

5 Stars

Any Colour You Like | 5/5 |


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