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Anathema - Judgement CD (album) cover




Experimental/Post Metal

4.16 | 741 ratings

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5 stars After the previous Alternative 4, original bassist Duncan Patterson departed, leaving fans in wonder as to how this would affect the songwriting being that Patterson was, along with guitarist Daniel Cavanagh, one of the major songwriters in the band. He was replaced by longtime friend of the band and former Dreambreed bass player Dave Pybus, who did an admirable job here and even contributed to some of the songwriting. Also, original drummer John Douglas returns after his one album absence. For the first time, Douglas contributes to the songwriting, even being credited with three songs of his own.

"Deep" opens Judgement on a powerful yet moving note, a sure classic track and perfect introduction which bleeds into "Pitiless", the heaviest song here including some downright scorching guitar work by Daniel. His playing has always astounded, but throughout this album, he manages to squeeze every ounce of emotion out of his instrument. Some of the most emotional guitar work I've ever had the pleasure of hearing. He really gets to shine here, as Judgement is a return to the elaborate style featured on Eternity rather than the minimal approach of Alternative 4. "Forgotten Hopes" welcomes in acoustics and an engaging chorus melody as "Destiny Is Dead" is an instrumental which ends a four song series that could almost be perceived as one lengthy track, as they all bleed into one another with no pauses in between. "Make It Right" , one of the songs written by Douglas, is one of the more straightforward compositions on the disc, yet very moving with keyboards enhancing the guitar melodies wonderfully and Vincent's passionate vocal delivery. In Fact, Vincent Cavanagh has now firmly established himself as a vocal god. His performance in the heart wrenchingly beautiful "One Last Goodbye" could single handily establish this fact. In what is the most emotionally moving song to ever penetrate my soul, Vincent pours out his heart in a manner that sends shivers down the spine and brings tears to the eyes. Daniel's solo at the end is equally as moving, making you just want to lie down and die....If you are not moved by this song, you are dead. "Parisienne Moonlight" is an enchanting piano based piece with female vocalist and sister of drummer John, Lee Douglas voicing words of heartfelt sincerity. "Judgement" begins acoustically then crashes into a driving ending that sees Anathema rocking out at a tempo not often associated with their name. Intense. "Don't Look Too Far" is another one of the more straightforward numbers on offer but with absolutely no shortage of emotional or atmospheric impact. "Emotional Winter" features some very soulful guitar playing and beautiful vocal cries from Vincent. Highly atmospheric. "Wings Of God" contains one of the most moving moments I have heard on any album when it launches into a magnificent ending with a serene guitar solo that just takes me away...the band really sounding as if they are enjoying themselves here. Breathtaking. "Anyone, Anywhere" is a desperate, acoustic based cry for understanding in a heartless world. "2000 & Gone" is a tranquil instrumental that births images of a fallen world, the final breath of life, but a relieved last breath by a soul who has had enough and is ready for rest...There is an acoustic instrumental included as bonus called "Transacoustic", but "2000 & Gone" is really the way this beautifully crafted album should come to a close.

On Judgement, Anathema achieved perfection. What attracted me about this band in the beginning was their expression of real and pure, heartfelt emotion through the most powerful songwriting possessed by any band in music. They are as real as it gets. The ones who have felt the power of Anathema's music know that they have discovered something truly special.

bleak | 5/5 |


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