Antimatter: Alternative Matter

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Antimatter: Alternative Matter
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Antimatter: Alternative Matter
Ambient, Gothic Rock, Progressive Rock
Prophecy Productions
January 11th, 2011
Release length: 1:47:00
Myspace
Website
Antimatter is a band that is known in certain circles for being an extroadinary and evolutionary band, but not really known outside of those circles that listen to the more recent releases of Katatonia or Anathema constantly. These more dark and artistic Rock acts have been pioneering a solid style of music for a good while, and branching it out nicely to people who may never actually hear that style of songwriting. Of course, Antimatter has been performing their brand of dark, electro-rock since their formation in 1998, and, like the aforementioned artsy rock acts, this more dark Progressive Rock act may be a name new to many out there, though it’s been one lurking in the shadows for a good while now. Alternative Matter is a compilation release of various songs, enhanced from original recordings, unreleased, etc., and makes the perfect jump on point for anyone interested in this band’s offerings.

Before we go any further, there does exist a three disc set of this recording, but I was only provided the first disc discs by Prophecy Productions for this review. The main atmosphere behind any Antimatter album is a very melancholic feeling, and that stays true on every track. It’s this darker Progressive atmosphere, rich with the classic Gothic sound that acts like Nick Cave have perfected over the years that make this album show signed of life. This compilation captures some of the band’s more well acknowledged material, which is great for the newer fans of the band since much of Antimatter‘s catalogue is rather hard to find, and many tracks have either been remixed, or simply enhanced to a better audio quality. The remixed tracks are simply interesting renditions of the already present material and offers something somewhat new to the listener, while the enhanced tracks come off more as remastered material from older recordings so that everything is around the same level of digital quality. The difference is pretty clear almost right off the bat, with “The Art of a Soft Landing” being one of the first enhanced tracks, and it just sounds fantastic on this recording. The same goes for “In Stone”, which is just moving with it’s somber, melancholic acoustic guitar and vocals meshed with some really beautiful, yet simple, pianos accompanying the music.

While some of these altered or enhanced versions sound great, it’s the live material that really sparks enjoyment. The quality of the live material here will often not even sink in until the end when the audience starts to applaud the performance. The quality is fantastic, and often sounds professional studio quality, and better then some of the actual studio tracks on this recording. “Mr. White (Live)” is the perfect example, coming off more as a studio performance then a live one, but then the next track, “Flowers (New Version)” is a different recording of the track, and it sounds great, but the quality has it sounding more raw and live then the actual live tracks of this recording, which is a little confusing and hard to wrap any form of common sense around. This quality also exists on the alternative track “Flowers (Acoustic)”, an even more somber and quiet track by Antimatter, which appears on the second disc, and really comes off with a beautiful, yet desolate, overall atmosphere, a quality that seems to be more prominant on the second disc, which features more tracks focused on ambience and sounding either extremely dark and melancholic, or focusing on the ambient noises to create a sort of apocalyptic feel to the music that takes it beyond a melancholic feel, like with “The Art of a Soft Landing (4 Track Demo)” and “Expire (Atrabilis Sunrise Remix)”.

Of course, for all the enjoyable acoustic tracks presented on this recording, with “Black Sun (Dead Can Dance Tribute)” being the only genuine track on the recording that isn’t slow paced or acoustic, there’s a few tracks on here that just don’t do too well and make one wonder why they were added. “Expire (Lackluster Remix)” had some very soothing ambience going on, but the female voice saying “The final solution” over and over through the song, though as soft and soothing a voice it is, does become a little grating and irritating after a while. “God is Coming (Duncan Patterson Remix)” is another song like this, though for the most part it’s an enjoyable song that takes the ambient noises and other electronic effects and synths to form a song, but eventually it stops being music and just becomes atmospheric noise that gives sort of an astral feel to the material, like one you’d expect from a post-apocalyptic science fiction film where higher technology was introduced. While this isn’t necessarily one of the stronger tracks for the release, it does bleed nicely into “Everything You Know is Wrong (Acoustic, Enhanced)”, a very well done piece on par with plenty of the other melancholic sounding acoustic tracks on here. In fact that ambient noise from “God if Coming (Duncan Patterson Remix)” that bleeds into this track carries on throughout it, talks about space (like I mentioned the last track gave an atmosphere of), and really aids the song to stand out and be something fantastic to unwind with.

It’s hard to sit down and pick apart Alternative Matter by examining each track, especially since this is just a compilation of various versions of already released songs. Some of these tracks sound genuinely better then the originals, whether it’s due to the enhanced quality, or the changes made in the music for the new mix or a remix. Whatever the story is, Antimatter take some of their best material, and make it available in new mixes for everyone to check out and enjoy as part of an anniversary release. If you’re into the depressive Gothic Ambient Progressive Artsy Rock style of music, then Alternative Matter is an album that well deserves your time, as there’s few tracks on here that disappoint, and plenty of well done acoustic tracks mixed nicely with ambient track and instrumentals to show off the band’s artistic and creative natures nicely, putting them one step ahead of plenty of bands, including some of the leaders, for this unique style of Rock music.

Disc One
01. Black Sun (Dead Can Dance Tribute) – 5:25
02. The Art of a Soft Landing (Acoustic, Enhanced) – 3:18
03. Far Away (Live) – 5:13
04. Savior (Reel to Reel Demo) – 3:05
05. Landlocked (Mick Moss Remix) – 4:45
06. In Stone (Acoustic, Enhanced) – 5:25
07. Epitaph (New Version) – 6:48
08. Terminal (Duncan Patterson Remix) – 6:03
09. Mr. White (Live) – 3:46
10. Flowers (New Version) – 4:06
11. Expire (Lackluster Remix) – 5:13

Disc Two
01. God is Coming (Duncan Patterson Remix) – 6:46
02. Everything You KNow is Wrong (Acoustic, Enhanced) – 2:58
03. A Portrait of the Young Man (Enhanced) – 5:22
04. Flowers (Acoustic) – 4:07
05. Holocaust (Reel to Reel Demo) – 4:48
06. The Art of a Soft Landing (4 Track Demo) – 4:14
07. Expire (Atrabilis Sunrise Remix) – 5:27
08. Ober Your Shoulder (Acoustic) – 3:25
09. Dream (4 Track Demo) – 5:53
10. Lost Control (Acoustic, Enhanced) – 6:50
11. Epitaph (Orchestral Mix) – 4:13

Overall Score: 8/10
Digital review copy of this release provided by Prophecy Productions.