Review Summary: Certainly not for the faint of heart, Judgement takes the listener on a heavy hitting journey filled with pessimism, loss, regret, and hopelessness.
Listening to Judgement
might as well be the equivalent to experiencing depression for 53 minutes. One of the biggest aspects of this album that it more or less proves this theory happens to be the album cover. The dimming, sorrowful, purple void exhibited on the cover accomplishes the sometimes difficult task of representing what the album sounds like. However, the other essential components to this devastating journey through the mind of a broken soul proves to be the lyrics and stunning atmosphere. Every word that Vincent Cavanagh passionately sings from his broken soul proves to be without a doubt heartbreaking and in addition to the pessimistic lyrics, he’s aided by beautifully played guitar work and a tear jerking atmosphere that will not only touch the listener’s heart, but accomplishes what many artists who dare to tackle the touchy subject of depression fails to do. Judgement
never glamorizes the idea of being hopeless, lost, and having an overall feeling of being unloved. Instead, Judgement
provides an account by means of atmospheric, progressive rock that is both real and runs deep into your psyche.
The melodramatic “Deep” kicks off with a repetitive, but simply engaging guitar riff that develops more and more as the song moves onto a soaring solo. Vincent’s pessimistic lyrics about the inability to feel anything and the terrible demons that are locked away may come off as overly bleak at first, but the plea for the burning feeling to go away only develops into something less melodramatic and more real as the album goes on. It also helps that everything else across the board that includes bass work and drumming exists as exceptional as well. As the album goes on, the listener will be griped by Judgement’s
clutches and it really never let go. Album highlights such as “Make It Right” and “One Last Goodbye” also provide a taste of the mindset of the character being sang about with accounts of blaming one’s self for an estranged relationship and the terrible loss of a close loved one. This loved one Vincent beautifully sings about in “One Last Goodbye” happens to be none other than his mother whom he was extremely close to. From mellow acoustic guitars to a sudden increase in distortion, the song exhibits a type of build reminiscent of post rock that proves to be stunning. The awe inspiring guitar solo exists as nothing complex but nonetheless emotionally stirring with it taking center stage near the end. While “Make It Right” makes use of a less lyrically driven take with soaring keyboards providing the chorus instead of Vincent’s vocals and the track’s guitar tone chills to the bone.
Not only do the vocals and lyrics present themselves as exceptionally written, but the musicianship of the band as a whole happens to be nothing short of incredible. Their unity as a band comes full circle here with everything improved to the fullest after Alternative 4
. The drumming is quite impressive with John Douglas delivering some exceptional drum rolls along the way like in “Pitiless” and Dave Pybus’ bass provides a lovely foundation for many of the tracks on here. For example, “Emotional Winter” provides the perfect taste of the band’s increased musicianship here in terms of progression and song writing ability. The introduction and conclusion gives the listener a bit of Pink Floyd love with a psychedelic vibe and the middle showcases some beautiful guitar and a heartbreaking relatable chorus about how everyone lingers on their mistakes and pitfalls. Not too simple and not too complex, it’s these relatable sections that make this album well worth it to experience. With “Forgotten Hopes” being about blaming yourself for a parent’s alcoholic problems and “Don’t Look Too Far” being about the sometimes anxious feeling of dreaming too big, it’s tough to not either feel for the character or even relate.
As sad as this all sounds, everything truly comes full circle in the second to last track which nearly yields devastating results for him. “Anyone, Anywhere” sees the character in the worst state possible as if he’s staring directly into the purple void, about to be engulfed in it. He sees the world as better off without him…as a place where no one cares about him or loves him. The burning feeling in his heart reaches a terrible breaking point until the listener transitions into the soothing and appropriately titled instrumental track: “2000 & Gone.” The pain has truly left in every shape and form by means of someone or something coming to the character’s aid. Anathema’s vision for this final track is nothing short of masterful because of how they turn things around so quickly with a seemingly one year time jump.
When all is said and done, Anathema certainly crafted an evocative masterpiece that proves to be nothing for the faint of heart. Anyone whose mood is easily swayed should certainly avoid this and those who enjoy uplifting listens will without a doubt fail to find any happiness here besides the final track. Regardless of the mood Judgement
strives to convey, Anathema clearly had a vision to connect with those suffering. They never glamorize this state of mind and body like some artists do and the band manages to make everything that could easily come off as whiny sound so real in the process with the album delivering tons of emotional depth. It’s quite rewarding examining the Judgement
and We’re Here Because We’re Here
album covers side by side because they both exhibit the same sort of concept. However, the uplifting part happens to be how both the lights are drastically different colors. The bleak purple light sometimes outweighs the bright light sometimes, but the point is to never let it completely engulf you. Despite horrible times, there always exists a bright light at the end of the struggle. This album conveys that fact and the journey there may be hard sometimes, but reaching that light proves to be an enlightening experience.