Anathema
Judgement


4.5
superb

Review

by Jorn van Schaïk USER (172 Reviews)
November 14th, 2007 | 677 replies | 44,103 views


Release Date: 1999 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Keep the tissues ready, because this is one hell of an emotional ride...

15 of 15 thought this review was well written

Imagine you're in your bedroom. You've half closed the curtains, in some hopeless attempt to dim the light, but the rays of a dying moon still enter your room. You lay hopelessly on your bed, looking at the fake stars a lost friend gave you for a long forgotten birthday. The waning visions of the world wash over you as the batteries of your lamp die. The magazines you loved to read lay abandoned and scattered across a floor you once could be bothered to keep clean. And the pictures, the pictures on the wall, all they serve as is a reminder of days you wish you could return to, but are now beyond your grasp.

You turn to your cd player now. You want the comfort of slow, moody music, without abrasiveness but with a slow, downkey melody, expressive and emotional vocals and a feeling that radiates the emptiness which equates with your life. What record should you now turn to? The answer should come as no suprise, for it is Anathema's Judgement.

As one of the progenitors of the doom/death sound, Anathema's music has always revolved around a sober, downkey vibe, slow atmospheres and drawing on loss for inspiration. It's always been a muddy sodden ride through the minds of the Cavanaugh brothers. This album is no different (and I don't think Anathema will ever change that, or at least I hope so), as it revels in that side of life listeners usually like to keep veiled or wallow in: sorrow, misery, and bleakness.

Anathema, though a metal band formerly, however, have kind of shifted their sound to what may be called atmospheric doom rock, in a sense. Instead of using grunted vocals and looming walls of guitar, they have taken a sense of melancholia atmosphere over it instead. Drawing heavily from bands such as Pink Floyd and Porcupine Tree on this album, they instead take a moody approach. Danny Cavanagh's sometimes eerily resembles that of Gilmour, with long, sustained notes, and haunting acoustic picking which so subtly underlines the keyboard atmospheres.

However, instead of opting for long and drawn-out orchestrations, Anathema keep it short and concise. Every song features different things and melodies, but all share a similar sense of gloominess. One Last Goodbye is possibly the most touching lament ever written, with expressive vocals from Vinny Cavanagh as his brother's lyrics reflect the passing of their mother. The solo at the end is simple, but instead of going for technical flashes, the supremely placed melody gives the song exactly that extra punch and vibe of despair the band so desperately wants to give off.

In other places, Deep is a more uptempo track featuring layered guitars and a more direct approach, giving it some extra punch as the lyrics take you straight into the world of bleakness Anathema create. Parisienne Moonlight opts for a cliche female/male vocal duet, but the melody interwoven throughout the song is such a masterpiece that the absurd cheesiness of actually going through with it hardly even matters anymore. And the meticulously placed instrumental Destiny is Dead opts for an atmospheric approach rather than needless technical ostentatiousness.

Sometimes, it may seem as if Anathema are only too eager to let you wallow in their sorrow, but the poignant introspective lyrics and the intoxicating atmosphere prevent the listener from drifting off into a state of boredom. The most interesting thing about this record is not that it is depressive (as many other records are), nor that it is atmospheric (as many other records are), but that its poignancy seems completely genuine. Even if the melody would be crafted through a computer or by some other technical means, it sounds organic and true; and it still invokes pathos and emotion, and that is truly where the strength of the album lies, as without it the only depression a listener would get would be the utter timidity and vapidity of the record.

Anathema sure may not have reinvented the wheel or done anything specifically musically interesting, apart from crafting some supreme melodies. However, if you're looking into some downkey music for the sadder moments of life, this is the most genuine record you're going to be likely to find. And that emotion in the end is what music listeners have sought in the past, and many still seek. It's what keeps people going, and what keeps a band like Anathema going. Long may it continue.

Check-out tips:
One Last Goodbye (!!!!)
Deep
Parisienne Moonlight



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4.2
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other reviews of this album
Nick Mongiardo CONTRIBUTOR (5)
Certainly not for the faint of heart, Judgement takes the listener on a heavy hitting journey filled...

johnny of the Well (5)
An incredible work of art that will find its way to your heart...


Comments:Add a Comment 
Confessed2005
November 14th 2007



3314 Comments


Anathema are a cool band. I haven't heard a great deal of them but this looks like a good place to start looking into the band more.

Zoo
November 14th 2007



3759 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Alt, you got this album down to a tee here. Very nice job.

DerMond
November 14th 2007



126 Comments


i love this review. as a matter of fact im getting the CD JUST because of this review.

Kage
November 14th 2007



1173 Comments


Since you been gone I been lost inside

Slaytan
November 14th 2007



1186 Comments


The introduction was very well written. The review was great as well. I think I'll check this out.

Aficionado
November 14th 2007



1027 Comments


I've heard great things about this band, might check em out.

Willie
Moderator
November 14th 2007



15964 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

You turn to your cd player now. You want the comfort of slow, moody music, without abrasiveness but with a slow, downkey melody, expressive and emotional vocals and a feeling that radiates the emptiness which equates with your life. What record should you now turn to?
You should actually check out the last two CD's by Antimatter... they're even closer to what you're describing, and have a member of Anathema in the band actually.
This is the first CD of Anathema's that I thought was actually really good since Darren White stopped doing vocals for them.
And good review.. voted.

Digging: Necropoli - I

LostViking
January 11th 2008



79 Comments


In my Top 10 of all-time. Gets you at your very core. The album was composed after the the death of the Cavanaugh brothers mother.

Altmer
January 11th 2008



5652 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

I think that that event is what gave this album such a spark. I cannot stop playing One Last Goodbye.

jrowa001
January 11th 2008



8750 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

i really need to get this. all i have is A Natural Disaster and it is really good

Zoo
February 17th 2008



3759 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

It's damn hard not to like it.

Poet
February 18th 2008



5933 Comments


I have been wanting to listen to this for some time now. I am actually listening to One Last Goodbye right as I typing this. It is a truly beautiful song.

BattleOfSerenity
February 28th 2008



186 Comments


I've gotta say, what an album.
As a whole it works so well.

TheGreatD17
March 14th 2008



1141 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

is the tracklist for this correct? I have Make It Right before One Last Goodbye and Judgement as track 8

Altmer
March 15th 2008



5652 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

So do I, but I think there have been different pressings of it.

TheGreatD17
April 17th 2008



1141 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Up to a 4.5 now, this keeps getting better the more i listen to it. I don't think Pitiless gets enough love though, that's one of my favorites.

Altmer
October 10th 2008



5652 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

Relistening to this as preparation for Anathema's gig tomorrow and my god this is just one wickedly awesome album.

Willie
Moderator
October 10th 2008



15964 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Relistening to this as preparation for Anathema's gig tomorrow
Lucky bastard! Can you make a list of their setlist after the concert?

fireaboveicebelow
October 10th 2008



6837 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I second that request

Altmer
October 10th 2008



5652 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

If I remember the songs, I will...

I probably will remember them though.

Also they are playing 6 mi. from me so I am a really lucky bastard.This Message Edited On 10.10.08



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