Review Summary: An incredible work of art that will find its way to your heart
Anathema have an knack of matching their album artwork with their music. This applies right throughout their discography, from the murky celestial expanse of Eternity to the lush, humid tranquility of A Natural Disaster to the clarity and openess of Weather Systems. It also applies to Judgement, the sound of which is reflected perfectly by the dense, blue/purple background, from which shines rays of emotional light; not glaring or harsh, but saturated with hopelessness and emptiness that can blind the listener just as effectively.
Judgement is quite a tricky album to review for me; I can easily listen to it and point out what it goes well and why I enjoy it, but the way that I connect with it and allow it to envelop me is very hard to convey. Right from the start, you are swallowed by the gentle rhythm and earnest-yet-composed vocals of Deep
, which introduces the album very well, easing the listener in to a relaxed state of mind that the band exploits to its full potential. The next track, Pitiless
compliments the opener's soothing aspects with a harder, more aggressive edge that is perfected by a wild solo, and the track after - Forgotten Hopes
- is slow and minimalistic, making it all the more effective.
These are three songs that when listened to clinically are very different, but when heard with a more open mind sound very similar. The reason for this is that they all present the listener with exactly the same atmosphere, and that is the genius of Judgement; it contains a wide variety of songs that all convey dispair, sorrow, lack of direction and a general blue swirl of emotions in various different ways, so that whilst it is a fairly diverse album, it is also incredibly coherent and to be enjoyed as a whole.
The various aspects of Judgement all compliment each other fantastically, from the dreamy, synth-laden Make It Right
to the raging regret of Pitiless
to the passionate lament One Last Goodbye
. The soul-touching piano duet Parisienne Moonlight
is paired with the doom-laden build-up of Judgement
, which explodes into a searing frenzy of anger, and the towering wall of power that is Wings of God
is followed by the bleakness of Anyone, Anywhere
, which climaxes beautifully only to slip into the trailing outro of 2000 & Gone
. By the end of a listen, you feel emotionally drained, perhaps not inclined to immeadiately listen again, but guarenteed to revisit Judgement sometime later.
Judgement has found a place in my heart by being both loud and quiet, subtle and ostentatious and angry and hopelessly calm. It is a classic to me because it does perfectly what music is supposed to: it conveys emotions and feelings that surpass words in exactly the same way that the obscure, shining artwork does. I recommend it to anyone; it is both accessible as well as deep and a great starting point for Anathema.
Consistant and with variety
Great vocals and musicianship
Erm...sorry guys, I really tried hard, but I can't think of anything
2. Parisienne Moonlight
3. Anyone, Anywhere
4 . Emotional Winter