Album Review – Antimatter – The Judas Table (2015)

The Judas Table was released on 15th October 2015, and just prior the official premiere; within the same month from October 9th  2015 until March 2017, Antimatter have and are carrying a world tour of the album under The Judas Tour.  Upcoming from the band, are two new singles Welcome to the Machine and Too Late, both available for pre-order on 23rd September 2016. The first single, will feature two live b-sides; Killer and Redemption, and Too Late will feature a recorded b-side By my Side and an acoustic session Landlocked.

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Black Eyed Man the opening song on the album has a captivating fusion of neo-progressive rock, second and third generation goth rock and dark rock (sometimes known as dark alternative). The song is of course slow and remorseful, enforcing the band’s label of ‘melodic rock’, however, the comparison to second and third generation  goth rock and dark rock comes from the inclusion of alternative rock and doom metal; which second and third generation goth rock utilized when they abandoned the punk genre to experiment outside of its origins. Bands that can be used for comparison are Lycia, Inner Missing, Red Sun Revival, The Silence Industry, and HIM, who all capture the spirit of gothic atmosphere, but are not afraid to splinter out and touch on other genres. Killer steps away from goth rock and reforms into exclusively alternative/dark, Mick Ross’ baritone, deliberately shaky delivery emphasis the dangerous life the protagonist leads, which will lead to eventual betrayal of a cherished/loved one. The song metaphorically discusses the biblical mythology of the titular character of the album – Judas Iscariot, and one of the many theories of just how involved he was in the demise of Christ. One of the theorized connections is that Judas was a member a group of Jewish assassins, known as the Sicarri (this theory has been portrayed in films such as The Last Temptation of Christ, and TV serial Jesus of Nazareth, the latter version showing him abandoning that life).

Comrades captures acoustic, and progressive rock to tell the tale of an act of duplicity and abandonment, closely following the narrative of the aftermath of Jesus Christ’s arrest and Iscariot’s eventual suicide; where he comes to realise the actions he took in trying to assist in his close friend being listened to backfired, and he himself was used by the Jewish elders and Romans alike. Stillborn Empires fuses alternative, progressive and dark rock to display the song’s protagonist’s thought process after dealing the act of unfaithfulness; this time on an emotional and romantic level. The song details the tale of a woman who walks into the protagonist’s life, and uses his heart as a means of improving her means of escape from a dishonest life she leads.

Little Piggy reverts back to a mellow, somber acoustics; seemingly a spiritual sequel to Stillborn Empires, where the ripple effects of the female character starting to become evident upon others, and draws a backstory as to how she became that way. This track alone resembles slightly the alternative/gothic metal era of Anathema (Eternity (1996), Alternative 4 (1998), and Judgement (1999)), and also the likes of their peers Katatonia (Tonight’s Decision (1999), Last Fair Deal Gone Down (2001), The Great Cold Distance (2006) and Night is the New Day (2009). Hole, continues with the acoustic theme, however tempers dark rock, not only in the instrumentation but the lyrical content, with the intent of a intrapersonal reflection of one’s thoughts, with slight twists of folk rock.

Can of Worms intertwines gothic and alternative metal, and what makes this track unique from the other track listing, is the sound’s direction, with embraces 90s post-grunge, early to mid-noughties nu-metal and country. Notable comparisons are modern day peers Daughtry and Art of Dying as well as Payable by Death (POD). Integrity extends further into the post-grunge mixture, this time introducing it to progressive gothic metal. Within the undertones of the guitar, I can hear samplings of British goth/death rock band Specimen (Returning from the Journey, 1983) and half way through the return of neo-progressive rock, they using Marillion, IQ and modern day peer Simon Collins (Sounds of Contact) as their influence and basis.

The Judas Table melds alternative and dark rock, Mick Ross’s vocals quivering and breathless as the song confides with the listener vulnerable emotions, using once more Biblical mythology of Jesus Christ inviting his disciples to their last meal with him before the fateful night of his arrest. This scene is used to express the protagonist’s discovery of their closest one by one becoming people who they come to distrust; using the reference of their ghost being representations of who they once were to the character. Goodbye, the closing track on the album speaks of the protagonist finally letting go of the wrong-doing, preparing to move on, and to compliment this tranquil feeling of relief, uses acoustic and dark rock. Ross seems to channel the works of Anna-Varney Cantodea of Goth rock/darkwave Soper Aeternus (Enteral Sleep) and the Ensemble of Shadows, with how he uses his voice of quavering relief.

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Written for Relive the Music
http://www.relivethemusic.net

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