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Anathema - Judgement CD (album) cover




Experimental/Post Metal

4.16 | 650 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
2 stars Decent Goth-y Depressive Rock, But No Prog

I really love Goth Metal and I have a soft spot for anything in that general musical territory. On paper, I should love Anathema. In fact, there are some tracks here and there that really do nail it. "Re-Connect" from Alternative 4 comes to mind. But like the Gathering, Anathema leaves me mainly bored. The straightforward songwriting ethic of late grunge is still largely in effect here, the characteristic trappings of the 90's all over the music. How this is labelled prog is beyond me. Comparing this to Riverside, which writes from the same emotional territory but actually is prog, makes this so clear. (They're also metal, which Anathema is not). I remember having the exact same reaction when I turned from Type O Negative to Paradise Lost. The music just lacked fangs. Everything is performed quite well. But depression, for me, just isn't enough.

The other thing this music lacks is a hook melody. This is a common flaw in metal in general, but both this style of goth and much of the female-fronted symphonic bands have the same problem. There is melody, but not a hook. By this I mean, there is no figure that I could whistle and you'd say "Oh that's song xxx off JUDGEMENT." Vince Cavanaugh has his characteristic melodic contours, but he doesn't vary it enough to give each song its own signature. Similarly, the musical accompaniment is pretty homongenous through the album as well. I really like the individual sounds, the subtle minor dissonances, the big dark echoes, the trippy baritone vocal. But the band doesn't do enough with their sound, in my opinion. They do use some odd time signatures, but that's really the only thing prog to be found here. But stumming in 5, again, just isn't enough.

Of the handful of Anathema albums I've heard, JUDGEMENT is the worst in this respect. Too homogenous. There are maybe 2 or 3 motifs that stick with me on the entire album. One example is the refrain of "Don't Look Too Far." This song incidentally reminds me alot of Temple of the Dog's much superior tune "Say Hello To Heaven." The obviously Pink Floyd derived lyric "Hey You, rotting in your alcohol shell" from "Forgotten Hopes" also has some staying power.

The last thing that probably kills this album for me is that depressive moping is so played out. Even though the lyrics are pretty good given how much schlock of this type is out there, there's just not anything more to say on the subject. Anathema certainly isn't alone here, as Porcupine Tree lyrics don't do much for me either. Dead Soul Tribe's MURDER OF CROWS also falls into this category on the more metallic end.

This isn't bad, just not memorable, and not very progressive. I definitely suggest trying Alternative 4 first and then going on from there if you like.

2.5 rounded down for non-progginess.

Negoba | 2/5 |


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