'Fear Of A Unique Identity'
All music and lyrics by Mick Moss
Mick Moss (vocals, lead guitar, ebow, acoustic and electric guitars,
bass, synths, piano, programming, samples)
Colin Fromont (drums) (1,2,3,4,6,7,8)
Vic Anselmo (additional vocals) (2,3,5,7,8)
David Hall (violin) (1,4,5,8,9)
Recorded during Autumn and Winter 2011, 2012 between Sandhills Studios & Wyresdale Studios, Liverpool, England, Pure Hour Studios, Lille, France and Ezy Sounds Studios, Krefeld, Germany
Engineered by Al Groves, Mick Moss, Kyle Western, Fabrice Pureur and
Produced by Al Groves
Mixed by Al Groves and Mick Moss
Mastered by Maor Appelbaum at Maor Appelbaum Mastering - California - U.S.A
Artwork and layout by attheends.com
Released 23rd November 2012 (Prophecy Productions)
The longest track on Antimatter‘s Fear of a Unique Identity, “Firewalking” tops eight minutes and uses that time to offer some glimmer of hope from the head-down melancholia in which so much of the rest of the album revels. Fear is the British project’s sixth studio outing — there’s also been a best of and two live records — and continues their relationship with Prophecy Productions, a label which has become a haven for depression conveyed via musical gorgeousness, lush melody and introspective lyrics. In the case ofAntimatter‘s latest, we get all of the above.
With a total nine tracks/49 minutes, it’s also an album that was bound to be a surprise — it’s Antimatter‘s first LP in five years since 2007's Leaving Eden and the second since Duncan Patterson left the band. The multi-instrumentalist, also ex-Anathema, was formerly a defining presence in Antimatter alongside guitarist/vocalist Mick Moss, playing a central role in the ambient/electronica vibing of the band’s earliest albums, Saviour (2001) and Lights Out (2003). With 2005's Planetary Confinement, Antimatter began to move toward a more organic, intimate style, and Patterson went on to release material with another band, Íon, that was in a roughly similar earthy vein before getting started with the darker project Alternative 4 (named for the last Anathema album on which he appeared), who made their full-length debut with 2011's The Brink.
Moss, meanwhile, took the reins of Antimatter and has proven he’s capable of carrying the band in terms both of songwriting and performance. On Leaving Eden, he brought in Anathema‘s Danny Cavanaugh for the sessions and subsequent touring, also sitting in with Cavanaugh‘s Leafblade side-project. You’d need a chart to note every connection between these players, but one way or another, it mostly leads back to Anathema, except in Moss‘ case as he was never a member of the band. On Fear of a Unique Identity, however, Antimatter is perhaps the most separate from the Anathema lineage that they’ve ever been. Sure, the wisping ebow guitar leads in “Wide Awake in the Concrete Asylum” bear some sonic resemblance to Anathema‘s mid-period downer glories, but Moss is firmly in control of the band’s sound and quick to distinguish and make a mark of his own within these songs.
Primarily, he does this vocally, with a stunningly emotive and melodic delivery that’s adaptable to whatever happens to be going on musically at the time, but really, it’s the music itself on Fear of a Unique Identity that’s going to surprise first-time listeners or anyone who’s followed the band since they got going. It’s heavy. From the beginnings of opener “Paranova” to the Euro-doom stomp of “The Parade” and all the distorted tonality between, Antimatter in 2012 have more in common with Katatonia than with Anathema‘s newfound progressive joys. The additional vocals of Vic Anelsmo, periodic violin of David Hall and drumming of Colin Fromont give a full-band feel to Moss‘ singing, guitar, bass, piano and programming, and yet Antimatter retains an intimate, personal sensibility through their dynamic approach, here soft and contemplative, as on closer “A Place in the Sun,” and there unremittingly dark and threatening, as on centerpiece “Here Come the Men,” which marks Moss and Anselmo‘s best duet of the record.
Cuts vary in their individual memorability but all manage to serve the album’s purposes well in terms of mood or instrumentation, beginning with a strong linear build of “Paranova” and continuing onto the synthesized underpinning of “Monochrome” — perhaps a callback to Antimatter‘s beginnings echoed later on the album with “Uniformed and Black” — which soon gives way to heavier-toned chorus payoff. The title-track is every bit as progressive and brooding as one might expect, and the apt naming of “The Parade” makes it clear that if Antimatter were ever afraid of having their own identity, it’s a fear they’ve long since gotten over. Despite its already-noted nod to Anathema, “Wide Awake in the Concrete Asylum” makes one of Fear of a Unique Identity‘s strongest musical statements, Anselmo layering her vocals in the second half bridge to lead into an emphatic verse from Moss, whose convictions are answered with an engagingly weird solo.
As someone who’s been hit or miss with Antimatter over the years, Fear of a Unique Identity is a thrill, as it joins the band to not just a bygone day of British melancholic rock — Anathema having moved on in their approach, Paradise Lost having gotten more aggressive, and My Dying Bride retreated into what’s for them safer musical territory — while also establishing them as Moss‘ band without question. Further, while Katatonia‘s 2012 release Dead End Kings offered periodic bursts of excitement, Fear of a Unique Identity feels wholly less formulaic and threatens to put new malleability into what’s been a long-set mold. The songs remain emotionally charged, and that will likely always be the core from which they spread out, but there’s a feeling of tact conveyed here as well, and I’m hoping it’s not another half-decade before we get to hear the next stage in Antimatter‘s apparently ongoing evolution.
Antimatter is first and foremost the brainchild of Liverpool-based singer/guitarist Mick Moss. In the past, Duncan Patterson (ex Anathema,Alternative 4) and Danny Cavanagh (Anathema) were involved with the project as well. Under the Antimatter moniker, Moss released four studio albums to date. “Fear Of A Unique Identity” is the title of the fifth Antimatter album. Let’s take a closer look.
In the early Antimatter years, the emphasis lays mainly on acoustic guitars, ambient passages and electronic effects, but with each subsequent release rock influences (read guitar) became stronger. “Fear Of A Unique Identity” is first and foremost a guitar-driven record, but without losing Antimatter’s fine tuned feel for gloomy misery. For the uninitiated, try to imagine Anathema’s most melancholic moments on “Judgement”, “A Fine Day To Exit” and “A Natural Disaster” but with a better developed feel for songwriting and a more powerful vocal delivery and you’ll have a good idea what “Fear Of A Unique Identity” has to offer.
The overall attractiveness of this album can be attributed to many factors. Mick Moss’ impeccable feel for memorable songs is one of them. From brooding rock oriented tracks like “Paranova”, “Monochromatic”and “Uniformed And Black” to the psychedelic overtones of “Firewalking” and bitter sweet misery portrayed in “A Place In The Sun” and the title track. Moss isn’t afraid to fiddle around with electronic effects either, although they’re mostly used to invoke and strengthen a certain atmosphere and Antimatter wouldn’t be Antimatter without acoustic guitar playing and tasteful use of a string section either. Another highlight are the vocals by Vic Andselmo, especially when she harmonises with Moss. This is especially striking on the aforementioned “Paranova” and “Here Come The Men”.
“Fear Of A Unique Identity” by Mick Moss/Antimatter is a hauntingly beautiful album with some of the most heartfelt and sorrowful songs I’ve heard in a very long time. Heartily recommended for everyone with a penchant for high quality melancholic music. Simply stunning and arguably better than Anathema’s “Weather Systems”. Enough said!
Antimatter emerged halfway from Anathema. Firstly band founder Mick Moss worked with Duncan Patterson, and then continued after his departure with Danny Cavanagh. This resulted in the superb 'Leaving Eden' – an album whose title track is still one of the most melancholic songs ever.
Mick Moss is now more or less alone on the road - and still, or perhaps even because of this, the new album 'Fear of A unique Identity' is absolutely outstanding . The melancholy that speaks of the songs on this album is sometimes so unbearable that one listening almost expects physical pain. The final track 'A Place In The Sun' is one of those pieces that immediately and inevitably drives out any happiness one has. Such a direct, clear and deeply sad way to drag the listener into the depths is the highest form of art that you can achieve as a musician.
But also the harder pieces, that do not simply feature only acoustic guitars and the incredibly sad singing of Mick Moss, can not be surpassed in terms of sadness. 'The Parade' is supported by a plaintive violin, here even My Dying Bride in terms of gloom is still in the shadows. This is half instrumental, supported only by a few words, and spirals into an ever-higher intensity, exemplifies everything that is possible and is really just a kind of reconciliation.
The previously known 'Uniformed And Black' shows a more easily accessible side to the band, with clear structures and a strange form of lightness that conceals the still prevailing gloom with a gentle veil. The latest albums’ outstanding track is 'Wide Awake In The Concrete Asylum' - a monster to destroy awareness that acts almost suicidal while listening. How do we endure such music without immediately falling into a depression? It's simple: The music is not bleak. It is mournful and gloomy, but not abnormal, or hopeless, and it exudes an uncommon warmth. This music is like a man on his deathbed that has arranged himself with his death, and that feels that the warm embrace of nothingness will be saving him somehow. Sad, yes. And melancholic. Yet of incredible beauty.
Mick Moss and Antimatter have reduced 30 years of Gothic to absurdity with just one single album. Even My Dying Bride have to stand back in terms of sadness, and that means something. That the album is light-years better than the albums of genre-colleagues and former bandmates from Katatonia to Anathema goes without saying. If you are a friend of sadness in it's highest intensity, Antimatter just released your album of the year with "Fear Of A Unique Identity."
It’s not every day you catch me singing songs to myself. Most of the time if the music I’m listening to actually has vocals I either can’t make out what they’re singing or I don’t care. It’s often cringe-worthy or all been said before and doesn’t engage me in the way the music does. I’m a bit Bart Simpson listening to Mrs Krabappel if you like. Of course I do enjoy a good voice and vocal line, but I listen to tone, texture, timbre, technique and melody rather than words. Outside of a dozen bands and songs they made me learn at school, I can’t really sing any songs from start to finish. I can, however, now add Antimatter, the project of Mick Moss, to that list.
On first listen the new record from the UK project, Fear of a Unique Identity, threw me a little. A quick glance at the intergoogle talked about ambient acoustic music, which this clearly wasn’t. In fact it sounded a little commercial and mainstream in parts but with each spin I found more and more depth to the compositions.
In a nutshell these songs find a wonderful balance between hooks and melody that you can sing along to in the shower, and progressive, inventive music that scorns traditional song structures and endless repetition of catch cries and phrases.
But as with all good music it’s the emotion behind this record that makes it so enjoyable and worthy of praise. I love a miserable record. One that spends its time patiently mounting a case for the futility of human existence. There is simply no other emotion in music that makes me feel this alive – no music more beautiful. I’m not a miserable person, I just love miserable music.
In the case of Fear of a Unique Identity, Antimatter launch into their assault on any hope and confidence you might have with a rousing track, ‘Paranova’, that lifts you up as if to set you free only to grab your ankles with bony fingers that anchor you to mediocrity as you survey the wasteland around you. This great use of paradox is repeated throughout the record as it slowly grinds you down, remaining beautiful even in its moments of heaviness. The use of violin, female harmonies, tension and release, delicate guitar melodies and crushing moments of metal all create a whirling mass of melancholy, despair, sadness and absolute hopelessness. This will have you at one moment screaming to the skies with clenched fists, the next curled in a ball under the coffee table hoping no one ever finds you.
And so I return to the lyrics. Moss throws us lines of hope like ‘We’d all love to fly away’ but they are firmly entrenched among a contrasting bedrock the likes of ‘Is that all there is? Conform and display’ and ‘The gloves are off, the knives are out And you’re on your own’. With a strong and clear voiceMoss flows from metaphor to the literal as he paints a story of those who hide in the shadows of sameness and those who control what that sameness is. Great lyrics, sung deep and strong, with dynamic, powerful and emotional music that together tell a story of terrible sadness. And I know the words.
Gloom rock merchants Antimatter have been around the block a few times so it will come as no surprise that this latest release is every much of the calibre we’ve come to expect. For the uninitiated, there have been two members of Anathema involved in this band so if you imagine them with Eddie Vedder on vocals you are probably in the right ball park (seriously, I was getting major Pearl Jam vibes off the vocals on this one – just listen to the title track).
This is Antimatter’s first studio release in five years and the longest hiatus since the unit was formed in 1998. The driving force Mick Moss plays most of the instruments and his lyrics hone in on feelings of being out of sync with the rest of society. Fear of a Unique Identity is musically heavier than some of the more acoustic previous efforts (such as 2005's Planetary Confinement) but either way the emotional bulls eye of this type of music, as you might suspect, hardly relies on the heaviness of the sound. The vocals are without doubt the central feature but the electronic rock that goes with them helps produce quite an oppressive cocktail through the nine tracks. It’s perhaps slightly more approachable than some of the previous releases but, as with sister band Anathema, it’s all too melancholy to be truly accessible. Even for those of us used to hearing some pretty intense stuff this is cleverly dark, heavy and emotionally draining stuff.
It ranges from almost radio-friendly chorus hooks like Firewalking and the gloomy, ominous ballad Here Come The Men to the more intense moments like Monochrome – complete with female vocals provided by Vic Anselmo. Then the final few tracks take the listener from the most melodic the band has to offer, with Wide Awake in the Concrete Asylum, to the most eerily baleful A Place in the Sun – with its horror movie glockenspiel refrain.
Fans of this type of music are going to love this and so will anyone who, like me, has found themselves occasionally dipping into bands like Anathema. and the central theme – those in society that are more keen to follow others than find their own path – will surely resonate with anyone that has read this far. But if you are planning repeated listens over a short space of time it might be wise to remove any sharp objects from the house or at least have the phone number for the Samaritans close to hand.
(8.5/10 Reverend Darkstanley)
Since the beginning of their existence, Antimatter has always been about melancholic music, but was often tagged as the new project of ex-Anathema bass player Duncan Patterson. In recent years, Antimatter has had the imprint of Mick Moss, who along with Patterson, formed the band in 2002. When Moss was left to continue the band after Patterson left in 2006, he made the most of that opportunity, all the while seeing the band’s sound evolve into something that reaches the height of its melancholic existence, which culminates with their latest release Fear of a Unique Identity.
For Fear of a Unique Identity, Moss enlisted the talents of Colin Fromont on drums, David Hall on violin, and Latvian songstress Vic Anselmo as the female vocalist. Judging from the album title, the central theme is one of fitting in with a crowd instead of standing out, which should make for an easy connection to Antimatter’s music. The atmosphere on the album is somber with little hope for better days, and Moss’ vocals are an integral part of the feeling on the album. Songs such as “Paranova,” “Uniformed and Black,” and “Wide Awake in the Concrete Asylum” are a good starting point, but every song on the album is worth checking out. Anselmo provides more of a complimentary voice to Moss’ vocals, an aspect that while it is good, could have happened a little more. Moss handles most of the instruments, and it is clear he has a good idea of what he wants, as the songs are carefully constructed and are more together than in the past. The piano parts, particularly on “Monochrome” and the title track, provide a haunting presence that will stick with the listener for a while. They even challenge themselves on “Firewalking,” which is the longest song on the album at just over eight minutes. Inevitably, comparisons to the newer Anathema material, as well as Porcupine Tree, will come up while listening to Fear of a Unique Identity, but it is evident that Antimatter can stand on their own merits.
Antimatter has come a long way from their roots, when it was known as a project of ex-Anathema member Duncan Patterson and the band was trying to find their way. In recent years, Antimatter has grown more comfortable, albeit without Patterson, and with Fear of a Unique Identity, they have taken a major step in being recognized in the same vein as Anathema and Porcupine Tree. Fear of a Unique Identity is recommended, especially as a study in contrast to Anathema’s latest album Weather Systems.
[8/10] It’s been a long and strange journey for Antimatter over the years. What began as a direct off-shoot of Anathema during their transitional period has become the solo vehicle for Mick Moss and perhaps all the better for it. His penchant for the actual ‘song’ writing aspect of the band, married in days of old with the experimental and expansive stylings of Duncan Patterson, is at the forefront here; no unnecessary meandering or explorations even in the longer songs. Fear Of A Unique Identity is by no means illustrative of the band in the modern day, far from it, in fact.
Dark-rock not too far removed stylistically from Katatonia/similar is the focal point on display nowadays. Unlike the Swedes, however, there are no metal tinges, for aside from the super light use of double-bass in “Firewalker” the heaviness is all of a thematic-sort, not sonic. Melancholia has always been Mr. Moss’ stock-in-trade and it’s delivered in spades here, whether on the more upbeat (relatively) numbers like “Uniformed & Black” or the slow jams like the stellar album centerpiece “Here Come the Men .” The songs are follow similar tempos and lengths, but for the most part manage to avoid trending monotonous.
It’s fascinating to take this album and compare it with the Patterson’s Alternative 4 release from a couple years ago, if only to see how each release reflects parts of Antimatter’s past. The early albums were an uneasy tension of the succinct and the experimental (Moss’ loving songcraft especially prevalent in the live release Live@K13), so seeing Fear Of A Unique Identity wrapped up purely in Moss lets all that is great about Antimatter shine through in the spotlight. The songs are focused and haunting, the spirit of Antimatter living on in a new and fantastic form.
The origins of Liverpool’s ANTIMATTER date back to the late 1990s when Mick Moss and Duncan Patterson joined forces. It was around this time that Duncan parted company with ANATHEMA, a band for whom he had played Bass for a number of years and had been responsible for penning a good number of familiar tracks during his time with the band.
It is no surprise then that ANATHEMA will be referenced when ANTIMATTER is discussed, but this is just a starting point. The comparison to a familiar name could be a frustration for many acts (think of how the “O” band creep into any Progressive Death Metal conversation), but it an important one to make here. Both bands share friendships and the inspiration of the same part of the often bleak North of England, a region synonymous with some of the more sombre and melancholic bands over the years. Beyond this, Danny and Jamie Cavanagh have helped out with contributions to ANTIMATTER as well. In short, fans of one band are likely to find something they also love in the other band.
The project is difficult to categorise due to its ever-changing nature. The development of ANTIMATTER has been a varied one, taking in various different styles and each release differing from the last. The debut album “Saviour” was based around Dark Electronica, verging on Triphop, with predominantly female vocals from 2 guests. Since then the band have evolved through dark acoustic releases and, since Duncan’s departure, to a full electric band. Even the early experimentation with Dance rhythms was always brooding and at times uncomfortable.
An impressive 2010 retrospective release called “Alternative Matter” again cast new light over some of the past output, but allowed a line to be drawn under the previous evolution and provided a blank canvas for the new material.
The fifth and latest album, “Fear Of A Unique Identity” is the most well rounded and accomplished album in the catalogue to date. As the title suggests, the nine tracks centre around a theme of alienation and the need to fit in with one’s surroundings so as to avoid unwanted attention to the point where following the masses seems the safe option. It is a truly damning narrative of the increasingly grey and malignant environment that too many people seem to embrace in modern society.
Musically, the vocals benefit from guitars, bass and drums, along with synths and violin to create dark Rock atmospheres. Liverpool has a proud musical heritage and this shines through, along with influences from the likes of Ultravox, Gary Numan and the New Wave Movement that emerged from Punk in the 1970s. It is glowering, reflective and bleak, but modern, accessible and at times very beautiful. Mick is blessed with one of those rich, warm voices breathing life into every note and is at times complimented by outstanding additions from Latvian songstress Vic Anselmo. In my opinion, Mick has to be counted amongst the best of the vocalists in Rock Music today.
ANTIMATTER is in no way a heavy project, but is intense, dark, captivating and memorable. The album opens strongly with the infectiously catchy opener “Paranova”, building from a minimal drum beat at the start to a rousing chorus and an introduction to the album. It is difficult to pick out individual tracks as they are all strong, varied Electro Rock and Acoustic Rock. Lead Video track from the album is the hook-laden “Uniformed & Black”, which like the opener is nudging at the periphery of radio play and mainstream Rock accessibility. An instrumental “The Parade” eases us to the closing track of the main album and a mellow little number called “A Place In The Sun” which proves that dark and unsettling direct lyrics can be delivered very gently with maximum effect.
ANTIMATTER is clearly a labour of love for Mr. Moss, with all music and lyrics solely from him. He holds a tight rein on all aspects of the project and has seemingly unified elements of all the previous albums into his finest musical achievement to date. Knowing that he had written the album he really wanted, it signalled a time for a return to the old collaboration between ANTIMATTER and Prophecy Productions following some self-released albums. The label had supported the act in its formative years and with this latest release has given the album greater exposure and a number of formats with deserved great care and attention given to the premium versions.
Yes, it took its time till Mick Moss has released a new ANTIMATTER album.Leaving Eden already dates back on 2007. But the long wait got sweetened by a live CD in 2009 and a double compilation album in 2010 to celebrate ANTIMATTER’s 10th anniversary.
And here we are, embracing the darkest season of the year and ANTIMATTER deliver the perfect soundtrack for it. Stylistically nothing has changed. ANTIMATTERis still a synonym for under the skin creeping, deeply melancholic Rock songs with profound lyrics. Regarding the execution the new record differs. Fear Of A Unique Identity presents itself more down-to-earth and rocking, with heavier guitars than its predecessor. And Fear Of A Unique Identity is more electronic, which adds more drive and depth... Vic Anselmo adds her amazing voice to most of the songs in duet with Mick Moss. Enchantingly beautiful. Really. Just listen to Monochrome for example and Uniformed And Black, where just mentioned trademarks gets united. And listen to the mesmerizing title track for its beauty. Both exceptional musicians unite in perfect symbiosis, creating excellent music. Next to Vic Anselmo, David Hall plays a sometimes Irish-tinged, sometimes a heartbreaking violin as in the epic Firewalking or in Here Come The Men; on drums one finds Colin Fromont.
Let me mention that next to the nine original tracks, six bonus songs are available, remix or demo versions of the new material. That adds a plus of 25 minutes ;)
Fear Of A Unique Identity is another gem of music ANTIMATTER can add to its jewelry. Masterpiece!
Antimatter is a UK band , formed in 1998 by Duncan Patterson (former bassist/songwriter of Anathema) and Mick Moss. After the successful release of “Planetary Confinement” Patterson left the band, leaving Moss in charge of the songwriting and vocals as well. Moss managed quite well making two releases, with the latest being the band’s fifth album “A Fear of a Unique Indentity”.
The style of the band had changed over the years; the first releases focused on melodic vocal lines, had dark electronic atmosphere and balanced on the borderline between gothic and trip hop. “Planetary Confinement” marked a shift towards more of an acoustic based melancholic rock sound. The same directions follow the other two releases with Moss (only in charge), adding his own ideas thus giving electric guitars more role to the songs.
“A Fear of A Unique Identity” basically continues in the same pace ; is a guitar driven album – there is a resemblance to Anathema’s most melancholic’s moments- making this a heavy sounding release. The running time of the songs is long, this is necessary because it gives the right amount of time for the melody to be unravelled and the atmospheric feeling to pass on to the listener. I really felt travelling with every single track and I think they should be listened more than once to be better understandable. Basically the songs begin instrumental (electric guitar, drums) and somewhere in the middle the melody blend with industrial, electronic elements with foreboding and ominous undertones. The album begins with “Paranova’’ and “Monochrome’’ giving a small taste of rock oriented elements , “Firewalking” the longest track, featuring a bittersweet melancholic electric guitar solo, that still ring in my ears.
“The Parade” is probably the best and most interesting song; its short in running time and simplistic as it is only instrumental but it holds such an atmosphere that it could represent the whole style of the album. The continuously drums give a marching feeling to the song that it keeps going more intense reaching the end where it suddenly stops and the song as well. The theme of the lyrics is about society and is mostly referring that people should find their true identity without fear of being singled-out. The lyrics in some songs are excellent and pass through this idea, while others don’t make much sense, which strangely isn’t annoying because they blend well with the mysterious feeling and atmosphere some tracks have. The vocals mostly are from Moss, there are few duets along Anselmo, who can mostly be heard as echoing or singing in the same time with him.
Overall this is a strong album, the songs are emotionally charged and the feeling of confinement and bittersweet solitude will carried you away. Definitely, one of the best releases of 2012, for this genre of music. This is a must for listeners that like to discover new things or for those souls that enjoy chilling-out listening to high quality melancholic music.
There must be hundreds of albums blending gothic, atmospheric, ambient, progressive, symphonic and melodic elements to accompany metal tunes, so why choose “Fear of a Unique Identity”? Obviously because musicians don’t always combine things suitably… which is not the case here, though.
Sweetly saddened by its song arrangements and deeply touched by absorbing lyrics, it’s only fair to say it is not an Anathema or Entwine like affair. They may move in a sort of similar territory but their work is not deprived in terms of originality whatsoever. Heartrending melodious orchestrations are entangled with harder sounds and the more demanding ears should inevitably be allured by the violin (David Hall), the backing female vocals (Vic Anselmo) and the great performances each and every member of the band gives. The songs are highly emotive and you have to be in a certain mood to get the best out of them. I’d rather not express any personal preferences over specific tracks as, truthfully, no fillers exist and none of their musical/lyrical approaches displeased me.
Antimatter had been away for five years and their fans kept on wondering whether there would be any new work in the future. “Fear of a Unique Identity” is worthy of attention. There’s no “love it or loath it”; even if this music genre isn’t your first choice, you can still be amazed by its certain cachet.
It’s hard to believe that a brilliant band such as Antimatter has yet to acquire the unanimous recognition it rightfully deserves. After some years of silence, the latest release “Fear Of A Unique Identity” confirms the extraordinary talent of songwriter and mastermind Mick Moss. It’s useless to try to categorize the music style of a versatile band such as Antimatter, therefore it would be better to enjoy listening to “Fear Of A Unique Identity” without any prejudice.
“Paranova” has a slow pace mixed to a groovy rhythm with an addictive chorus. The highlight of this track is represented by the poetic keyboards arrangement that create a quite emotional uplifting mood.
“Monochrome” has a well balanced trip hop/ambient musical core. The overall atmosphere is very gloomy and sorrowful, yet there is a captivating catchiness embedded in the main melody and chorus.
The title track has an introvert approach with soft vocals and delicate piano melodies. The vocal duet adds romantic melancholic undertones while the guitar work brings a dynamic twist in alternative rock fashion. The same guitar style is very dominant on the musically multifaceted “Uniformed And Black”.
“Firewalking” is a melancholic anthem with an obvious psychedelic core, bittersweet distorted guitar licks, a heartfelt vocal performance and an experimental keyboards arrangement. Despite the length and the overwhelming misery, this song tends to get stuck in your head easily.
“Here Come The Men” could be mistaken for a simplistic song, but it is the highlight of the album as it definitely holds a great musical depth. The harmonious arpeggios and the extremely passionate vocals feel like a tender lullaby while the overall atmosphere tends to be darkly nostalgic.
“A Place In The Sun” is a delicate sad song that relies on a grief-stricken sequence of arpeggios adorned by peaceful sounds of nature. The addition of soothing violins creates the atmosphere of a desolate landscape.
In the end, “Fear Of A Unique Identity” is a consistently fascinating effort, not as depressing as it might appear at the very first listening, and it truly shines for the exquisite attention for details both in terms of songwriting and execution.
Liverpool, U.K.'s Antimatter have released their fifth full-length studio album with Fear of a Unique Identity. Their first offering in five years, the record defined by the band as a concept album, an exploration of the potential pitfalls of a society that becomes homogenous to the point where conformity is considered a much greater virtue than individual expression. Band mastermind Mick Moss puts is an astonishingly emotive, yearning and devastating vocal delivery that is always beautifully melodic, even understated at times.
There are deep connections between Antimatter and fellow melancholics Anathema, but perhaps the clearest comparison to their sound is Katatonia. However, where Katatonia create a more structured, comforting exploration of longing and misery, with Fear of a Unique Identity Antimatter have become even more nebulous and mercurial, abandoning reason for emotion.
Antimatter is a UK dark gothic acoustic electro rock band, formed in 1997 by Duncan bassist/songwriter of Anathema) and Mick Moss. The pair released three albums together – ‘Saviour’, ‘Lights Out’ and ‘Planetary Confinement’.
Shortly after the completion of ‘Planetary Confinement’, Patterson left to start another band called Íon. Mick Moss continued onwards and released the project’s fourth album, ‘Leaving Eden’, with Anathemaguitarist Danny Cavanagh, following on with 2009’s ‘Live@An Club’. Most recently Moss has overseen a 10 year retrospective multi-disc release entitled ‘Alternative Matter‘.
‘Paranova’ starts off the latest offering from Antimatter, being the first offering that they have produced for over four years. With the departure of Danny Cavanagh the connection to doomsters Anathema has been firmly cast aside, and with the cryptically named title ‘A Fear Of A Unique Identity’ being chosen for the offering, you have a feeling that Mick Moss is determined to cast aside the old associations tied in with Antimatter once and for all and create a new sense of identity for the project.
As the album unfolds you get to witness this rebirth, with the deep, thoughtful lyrics, finally being backed up by a full band, giving Antimatter a new leash of life, and allowing you to become fully immersed in the soundscapes that are produced as they wash over you with waves of haunting synth based backing seamlessly merging with the vocals of Mick producing an early/traditional gothic feel to the songs.
This transformation is solidified with the cleaver use of additional vocals by Vic Anselmo which create a similar impact to the inspirational use of Ofra Haza’s vocals by the Sisters of Mercy, and produce a carefully crafted extra dimension to the songs that they are used on which is really exemplified with ‘Monochrome’ or the title track ‘Fear of a Unique Identity‘ where the deliberately subdued usage of them add a shoe gaze effect to the songs producing an almost dream like feel to them.
‘Fear of a Unique Identity’ marks the age of a new dawn for Antimatter and shows that the traditional gothic scene is still alive and kicking. I look forward to watching this project continue to evolve.
Highlight of the album: ‘Monochrome’
With the retrospective compilation box Alternative Matter, Antimatter rounded off its first decade late 2010. The project, initially co-founded by Duncan Patterson, evolved to the musical vehicle of one sole man during these ten years: Mick Moss. He always works with session musicians to colour his melancholic, thoughtful compositions. He played more instruments than ever before on Fear Of A Unique Identity and only got help from drummer Colin Fromont and occasionally from the Latvian female singer Vic Anselmo and violinist David Hall.
In comparison with predecessor Leaving Eden released in 2007 this seems to be a less guitar oriented album at first sight, with more modern ambient and electro influences. It is true, you could not help but notice these magnificent guitar solos of Danny Cavanagh on Leaving Eden. On second thought however, we can hear fluent guitar ornaments that go straight to the heart in nearly every song on Fear Of A Unique Identity as well. But a slightly wink to the early days work, more precisely Saviour and Lights Out, happens to be prominently present. In that respect, the new album is a logical next step in the existence of Antimatter: the past and the rock sound of Leaving Eden melt together into an amazing blend that makes you think and wonder (lyric-wise), while musically it has a serene beauty.
For the first time, lyrics have a conceptual connection. Something we can talk about for hours and days, but let us keep it brief. The theme questions why most of the people just do what others expect from them, without trying to find out what they really want. The patterns of expectations from environment and society make silenced, one of the herd individuals of them. Dont they have a secret dream that unfolds their true identity? That is the heavy subject carrying the dark and melancholic music of this genuine musician
Antimatter kicks off with the contemplative Paranova. The warm voice of Mick Moss, the heavenly fluttering guitars and the modern feel in rhythms instantly sound familiar. The dynamic bass lines and sonorous keyboards in Monochrome illustrate the other side of the creator. These days, people may call it differently, but nobody seems to realize that these synths and loops probably refer to Micks love for music from the eighties. The single and video clip Uniformed And Black is a perfect example of that. It is extremely catchy and could be a chart buster. Antimatter remains a champion in captivating songs with emotive guitar work. The title track and the last one A Place In The Sun are timeless and fragile. Very storytelling is Here Come The Men (snappy questioning our values) and the bittersweet Wide Awake At The Concrete Asylum. Vic Anselmo adds a female vocal touch in the background in some of the songs. Never lead vocals and thats fine with me, since Micks voice is too beautiful to be put aside. The violin is also only used when very functional. Finally some words about Firewalking, a long track with trance-like repetitive patterns and by far the most experimental one. In the past, Antimatter might have gone too far with that, but now it is kept within limits; fortunately. Conclusion: this is a compelling time document of a great artist!
It's really been a while since 2007's ‘Leaving Eden’. The compilation album ‘Alternative Matter’ soothed the fans for a while but a full length studio album was way overdue, so now we can happily say that the 5th full length of Antimatter ‘Fear of a Unique Identity’ is finally in front of us! Not only that, Mick Moss has now broken the links with Anathema since there is no one connected to that band anymore in Antimatter, and he is once again in charge of all lyrics and music so it is obvious that there is life for Antimatter after Duncan Patterson.
Fear of a Unique Identity brings some changes into the band's sound so all those who fell in love with them because of their ambient/acoustic rock sound are in for some surprises indeed. But before we go on I should note that Fear of a Unique Identity is conceptual album with a self explanatory title, it revolves around ideas of human fear to be different and stick out of norms, which are questionable at least; these ideas are accompanied with unique promo photos and a video for the song ‘Uniformed & Black’, so you can log onto the band's official Facebook page and get the basic ideas of atmospheres concealed on Fear of a Unique Identity before you delve deep into it.
Today is actually the release date for the album (Prophecy uploaded the full thing on their channel: http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLToXWne2Bk-cBrwylfJ7AX1X-kx7DM2Gf&feature=view_all) and I already saw very mixed fans’ reactions on Youtube and Last.fm, some people are whining about the new sound while others are embracing the change with open arms. What am I talking about? Well, it is obvious that Antimatter changed its coat but on the other hand it is still the same emotional band underneath it – yes, I know that this vague description but it all boils down to this sentence basically.
The thing is that Mick has included larger use of electric guitars into Antimatter’s sound – ‘Fear of a Unique Identity’ does sound the heaviest of all Antimatter's catalog for that matter, although that is really not that important since this band's heaviness always lied in the stream of emotions it conveyed. In that process the intimate atmosphere that has streamed from older albums was lost a bit which led people accusing Antimatter of sounding too alternative rock, even comparing Mick's voice to Eddie Vedder and Antimatter to 3 Doors Down... Well, I say bullshit! Change is always welcome in my books and if you want calm Antimatter you can listen to first four albums all you want – they will not go anywhere but Antimatter is rushing forward which I totally hail since Fear of a Unique Identity sounds just fine to me. Essence of band is kept intact, we are still dealing with melancholic rock here and if we want to throw some comparisons around I would rather link Fear of a Unique Identity to Anathema circa Alternative 4/Judgement than some college rock band. After all, haven't naysayers had the same problem when back in the day Bob Dylan went electric? We all know how it ended up. And yes, you can purchase deluxe edition of the album with bonus acoustic tracks so satisfy that kind of thirst there. I am personally very satisfied with Fear of a Unique Identity since this refreshment is totally welcomed, Antimatter sounds livelier and interesting once again so I can recommend this album but keep in mind that you should approach it without prejudice!
Trifunovic Slobodan (8)
How to classify Antimatter?
Dark, melancholic, progressive in small steps, the group moves on as progressive alternative rock.
Their music flirted with atmospheres akin to Porcupine Tree, Pink Floyd, Anathema, Gazpacho and others whilst still preserving their identity.
The voices of Mick Moss did a lot to the charm of formation, a warm, slightly veiled stamp that appeals immediately. Then there is the music, sensual and dark, with the inventive drumming of Colin Fromont, sometimes very present unless it spreads to the landscape. The violin of David Hall weaves frames instead of an electric guitar. Also, the singing of Vic Anselmo beautifully accompanies Mick on some titles.
Mick Moss in addition to singing performs many instruments, from keyboards to bass through to samples, he composed the music and wrote the lyrics, in short he is the front man of the project.
Fear Of A Unique Identity weaves a dark, melancholic atmosphere. You do not jump up and dance to this album, let's be honest; reserve a quiet time at night, turn down the lights, make yourself comfortable and enjoy. Enjoy these two beautiful voices and this specific music, enveloping you in a coat of mist. The magic will work. This album plays with your emotions without doing too much however, just enough to leave a sweet melancholy settled in you.
It is difficult to analyse title by title, one must take the album as a whole, listen to it from start to finish without pause. The lyrics are dark like the music, not necessarily very accessible, dealing with society and the individual, with a twist of metaphysics.
A beautiful concept album not to be missed.