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Deep Inside. - 85%

Perplexed_Sjel, July 4th, 2008

It is hard not to admire the progressionist nature of Liverpool’s Anathema. There are occasions where the experimental, or avant-gardé styling of this British act can become a bit infuriating. For example, the ’Eternity’ era of Anathema. Whilst one does accept the ’Anathema way’ of chopping and changing, one doesn’t believe that the talents of the band were harnessed well enough throughout that record and it seems like a grey spot on what has been a mostly successful career, especially after the death/doom era that started it all. The potential is certainly there, but it is not portrayed in the correct manner. So, ‘Judgement’ signifies the next step in the long career of the Liverpudlian’s. It’s the fifth full-length and one that is received well on the whole by audiences around the world. To me, whilst this record does differ in terms of the musical content, the appeal of Anathema is much the same as it has always been, even stretching back to the early days of the bands career when those crushing guitars laid down a superb doom metal sound. ‘Judgement’ is certainly a classy addition to the atmospheric pieces of Anathema, but in the grand scheme of things, it won’t be classed as the ultimate Anathema record, though it does come very close. The one to really showcase what Anathema’s music is all about. Although I do like this record, like I said, it isn’t the best available. However, do not let that take away from the experience.

One thing Anathema has always provided me with is a lyrical connection. I could always relate to the lyrics the band provided with their music. That made Anathema special to me. I loved the way in which the music and the vocals could speak volumes to me, but in distinctly different ways. Since Vincent Cavanagh took over the vocal duties in 1995, he has grown into one of the best vocalists the rock genre in the modern era of rock music. His lush voice sings with a tremendous amount of passion, power and precipitates the underlying emotive nature incredibly well. Songs like ‘Deep’ and ‘Emotional Winter’ explain the very nature of the songs in their titles. Both songs portray deep emotions. It is one thing to be able to state that the music is intensely brilliant, but to be able to suggest that there is a perfection in terms of lyrics is usually unheard of. Anathema’s talents aren’t all centred in one direction. Some examples of the divine lyrics:

“A fettered heart, waking
A tainted youth, fading
Leave it all behind
Delirious again
Mesmerise my senses
Souls entwine one more time.”

“How fast time passed by
The transience of life
Those wasted moments won't return
And we will never feel again.”

Whilst the music itself is undoubtedly filled to the brim with emotion, the vocals are slightly different in their emotional approach. I’ve always enjoyed the way Anathema incorporate backing vocals, whether that be through an additional male vocalist, or a female vocalist, which tends to add a certain amount of depth to the music. The beauty is enhanced by female vocals more so than through male vocals and that leads me to believe that Anathema are deceptively brilliant at manipulating the perception of their music. Whilst there is an overriding sense of simplicity in terms of the instrumental parts, the soundscapes push all simplicity aside to leave nothing but complex human emotions on show for us all to see. Anathema’s inviting style is incredible. Not only do they aptly portray the lyrical themes, but the music also breaks down the complexity of life’s hardest emotions and showcases to the audience a revealing and bluntly truthful look at the ways in which we work. The production is perfect as well, which allows the creativity to flow without anything stopping it in it’s tracks. The creativity of Anathema’s musicians is something that will never come into question. The musicians behind the music are experienced and know what it takes to perform for a wide ranging audience at a very high level. Their song writing has gone from strength to strength and doesn’t ever seem to fade. The well certainly isn’t running dry. The creative juices, at this stage in Anathema’s career, has only gotten running. Especially since Anathema have such talents at their disposal. The ability to be able to bring in female vocals, or splice up a song with a mesmerising acoustic isn’t something every band can achieve.

Anathema are by no means one dimensional. The use of acoustics, varied vocalists, pianos, keyboards and the rest make this a very intricate piece of work in terms of layers. Although the music is indeed layered on top of one another, it doesn’t ever seem clustered in it’s approach. In terms of originality, Anathema’s ‘Judgement’ is very original in an odd way. Although the positives remain the same, they’re created and enhanced in various ways. Each album differs from one another, whilst remaining the same in certain ways. In terms of negatives, well, they’re hard to point out. There are no real outstanding negatives. The vocals are godly, in all forms, the guitar work is immense, the production is perfect, the bass displays individuality at it’s best, the drums are perfectly adapted to the sound of Anathema. This is a subtle emotive journey with some harder and harsher sections that allow the audience to take away many different positives.