This is without a doubt, the perfect example of ANATHEMA's musical style and strength as a band. Despite the high amount of acclaim that “Alternative 4” receives, I don't find it to be a very strong album despite a few excellent tracks, but “Judgement” really shows the band maturing and channelling their depressive tendencies in a way that's not juvenile or irritating, but instead very beautiful and moving.
This is certainly a far cry from the band's Doom Metal origins, but the same sense of dread is still here in full. Having reached the pinnacle (thus far) of their career, there's the perfect balance of ANATHEMA's traits here. There's a bit of a Metal, experimental sound; but filled with gorgeous melodic hooks and rhythms.
“Judgement” is filled to the brim with great, soulful tracks; although the second half of the album starts to lack the same stunning flow the first half did. If I had to choose some great songs that uninitiated listeners could sample out; the songs “Deep,” “Forgotten Hopes” and “One Last Goodbye” are all incredibly emotional and powerful, especially the last one mentioned...
“One Last Goodbye” certainly stands as being one of the very few songs I've ever heard that was perfect. Despite it only being six minutes long, it has such a haunting melody, and each note; each subtle nuance the song has its place. The only other song I could really call 'perfect' is “Bohemian Rhapsody” by QUEEN, but that's another story...
When one says 'Progressive Metal,' this definitely does not fit the traditional bill. It's a much different brand of music than your typical DREAM THEATER or SYMPHONY X. There are Metallic elements, but there's no space left for mindless fills; only pure and emotionally charged song writing.
Realms ahead of most music out there in terms of emotion and effect. Absolutely superb.
(Online June 12, 2012)