Antimatter - Planetary Confinement
The End Records
Dark Ambient
9 songs (47'15")
Release year: 2005
Antimatter, The End Records
Reviewed by Alex

Metal fans are a fickle crowd. Metalreviews.com fans are a particularly fickle crowd. On one hand they can seethe when there are not enough “metal” releases being reviewed, on the other hand they can ask for an Ulver review. Knowing that my colleague Daniel was coming out with that review last week I held off with Antimatter until now. Why test the limits of how much non-metal can people accept in one week?

Antimatter is a two-man project in which Mick Moss and Duncan Patterson (ex-Anathema) joined their talents to create melancholic dark art. Given this fact, by all accounts of my taste in music I should have liked every note Antimatter ever produced. I actually missed their debut Saviour, but for the life of me I could not get into Lights Out. Atmospheric and ambient, that album was way too ethereal for my liking, not natural and spacey. Not willing to dump on what I could not understand, I never reviewed Lights Out on these pages. Remembering the fiasco I let Planetary Confinement languish on my desk for a long time. Then one day I had to pick a friend up from an away airport and as I was rushing out the door I grabbed the first few new discs I wanted to listen to on my nightly ride. Planetary Confinement was one of them, and I really didn’t even try the rest in the stack. It would have felt anti-climactic. Ever since I have been resisting the urge to put this album in whenever I feel downright sad and depressed.

With Planetary Confinement Antimatter has abandoned the caverns of that electronic spacey sound and decided to return to Earth. Almost, anyway. The album has one of the most natural organic sounds you will hear this year. Just like black metal bands sometimes record a split album, Planetary Confinement tracks are divided up pretty evenly between Duncan and Mick who composed and recorded their songs independently. Unlike a typical black metal split the tracks on Planetary Confinement alternate in order between two musicians.

Patterson’s songs retain a lot of the airy quality. He does not handle vocals himself, instead opting for female singer Amelie Festa. Line of Fire and Relapse feature a fair amount of keyboard work and Trouble cover Mr. White feels almost creepy. Moss’ songs, however, is what draws me like moth to a fire. Just about all of them are based around him singing to the accompaniment of an acoustic guitar, sometimes in the presence of beautiful violins (Epitaph, A Portrait of the Young Man as an Artist). Never before a fan of a solo bard singing, I am completely overwhelmed by The Weight of the World, A Portrait of the Young Man as an Artist and Legions. When I turn the lights off it feels that Mick is right here in my room tearjerking the most sacred emotions out of me. On Relapse Patterson sort of travels the Moss’ road, adding acoustics in the mix, but the female vocals here just don’t quite reach the necessary dramatic points. No offense to Amelie, she is an awesome vocalist, but she is almost a light-headed counterpoint to Mick’s vocals carrying “the weight of the world” on his shoulders. The drumming on the album is very minimal, percussive in Line of Fire and reminding of heartbeat in Legions. The lyrics are extremely profound and grey barbwire cover art completes the picture.

Only one song, the closer Eternity Part 24, is reminiscent of Lights Out with its eerie sample oriented empty final 5 minutes. I can take it here, it brings the perfect closure to the album, and with Duncan Patterson leaving the band it may have been his swansong.

This is as close to metal as the above mentioned Ulver, but I do not think Planetary Confinement is challenging. It is a perfect soundtrack to sorrow, ambient and dark at the same time. It has a potential to help purge your sudden sadness attack, or it will plunge you to the depths of despair you won’t be able to climb out of. Strongly recommended, and I leave the choice of the end to the listener.

Killing Songs :
The Weight of the World, Epitaph, A Portrait of the Young Man as an Artist, Legions
Alex quoted 86 / 100
Other albums by Antimatter that we have reviewed:
Antimatter - The Judas Table reviewed by Alex and quoted 82 / 100
Antimatter - Alternative Matter reviewed by Alex and quoted 73 / 100
Antimatter - Saviour reviewed by Jack and quoted 80 / 100
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