Album Title: The Judas Table
Label: Prophecy Productions
Year Of Release: 2015
If 2015 has demonstrated any kind of trend in my music-listening it is that I have discovered and been highly impressed with a number of artists with whom I have not previously had dalliances. The list is long and includes the likes of Teramaze, Bauda and Agent Fresco to name but three. Now, as the year reaches its twilight, I can add the name of Antimatter to the ever-growing list.
Based in the UK, Antimatter is the moniker given to what is essentially a one-man project, assisted by what the website describes as a ‘revolving door of one time and regular session musicians’. The main man goes by the name of Mick Moss who, alongside Duncan Patterson (ex-Anathema), formed Antimatter in 1998. In 2005, Patterson left, leaving Moss to fly solo and, based on the content of album number six, ‘The Judas Table’, it seems to have been something that Moss has thrived on.
Moss himself describes Antimatter as dark alternative rock and the ten tracks that make up ‘The Judas Table’ would most definitely support such a description. Antimatter is not for the music fan that’s looking for a light-hearted and instant slice of aural candy. It might not be the most complex in terms of the song structures or the individual performances but what ‘The Judas Table’ is, is a set of compositions that are rich and atmospheric that evoke all kinds of emotions in the listener. Easy listening it certainly isn’t. But then, one look at the wonderfully evocative and striking cover artwork and any notions to the contrary would surely be expelled anyway.
Dark atmospheres, gentle acoustic passages, atmospheric keys and deep resonant vocals all combine beautifully to create some really evocative and melancholic amusic. There are times when the music verges into almost Gothic territories or even into post-rock or ambient realms. There’s even an element of Pink Floydian majesty and occasional forays into more metallic surroundings (‘Stillborn Empires’). But no matter what the direction, the glue that holds the music together is the powerful song writing and an innate understanding of simple yet memorable melodies that draw the you in and which seduce you.
‘The Judas Table’ begins with ‘Black Eyed Man’. The haunting lead guitar that overlays the acoustic framework and strong rhythms instantly reminds me of Anathema but the brittle yet commanding vocals lead my mind quickly away from any thoughts of dismissing Antimatter as being a mere clone. Strange synth sounds add a certain modernity and quirkiness leading me further away from easy comparisons. And then the lead guitar solo hits and I’m thoroughly smitten.
‘Comrades’ is a contender for one of the songs of the year. Beginning with just an acoustic guitar and vocals, it is stunning in its simplicity. The melodies are strong but the direct and poignant lyrics take the track to a whole new level, brought to emotional life by a raw and heartfelt vocal performance. Lush orchestration joins in and the track builds to great effect in the latter stages, only adding to the compelling nature of the song.
It’s fair to say that ‘The Judas Table’ is consistently excellent but other highlights include ‘Integrity’ which displays more excellent lead guitar work and a depth that many other bands would kill for, whilst ‘Killers’ offers a sense of the dramatic as well as a nod towards that Gothic sheen I referred to earlier. The chorus is massive and the piano embellishments are simple yet inspired.
I have no frame of reference and cannot compare ‘The Judas Table’ with previous Antimatter releases. Therefore I cannot proclaim this album as the best of Antimatter’s career. However, what I can say is that it is an undoubtedly superb record and demands to be heard by as wide an audience as possible.
The Score Of Much Metal: 8.5
If you’ve enjoyed this review, check out my others right here:
Bauda – Sporelights
Waken Eyes – Exodus
Earthside – A Dream In Static
Caligula’s Horse – Bloom
Teramaze – Her Halo
Amorphis – Under The Red Cloud
Spock’s Beard – The Oblivion Particle
Agent Fresco – Destrier
Cattle Decapitation – The Anthropocene Extinction
Between The Buried And Me – Coma Ecliptic
Cradle Of Filth – Hammer Of The Witches
Disarmonia Mundi – Cold Inferno
District 97 – In Vaults
Progoctopus – Transcendence
Big Big Train – Wassail
NightMare World – In The Fullness Of Time
Helloween – My God-Given Right
Triaxis – Zero Hour
Isurus – Logocharya
Arcturus – Arcturian
Kamelot – Haven
Native Construct – Quiet World
Sigh – Graveward
Pantommind – Searching For Eternity
Subterranean Masquerade – The Great Bazaar
Klone – Here Comes The Sun
The Gentle Storm – The Diary
Melechesh – Enki
Enslaved – In Times
Keep Of Kalessin – Epistemology
Lonely Robot – Please Come Home
The Neal Morse Band – The Grand Experiment
Zero Stroke – As The Colours Seep
AudioPlastik – In The Head Of A Maniac
Revolution Saints – Revolution Saints
Mors Principium Est – Dawn of The 5th Era
Arcade Messiah – Arcade Messiah
Triosphere – The Heart Of The Matter
Neonfly – Strangers In Paradise
Knight Area – Hyperdrive
Haken – Restoration
James LaBrie – Impermanent Resonance
Mercenary – Through Our Darkest Days
A.C.T. – Circus Pandemonium
Xerath – III
Big Big Train – English Electric (Part 1)
Thought Chamber – Psykerion
Marcus Jidell – Pictures From A Time Traveller
H.E.A.T – Tearing Down The Walls
Vanden Plas – Chronicles Of The Immortals: Netherworld