One of the most consistent names in modern extreme metal is without a doubt Anaal Nathrakh. Through eight albums they’ve consistently produce face-shredding and brain-melting metal that isn’t for the faint of heart. To describe their sound is to take grindcore, industrial, speed metal and a touch of gothic flavor and mix it together with an overall black metal backdrop. And that doesn’t even fully encapsulate the audio terror that attacks the listener. It’s menacing and barbaric in it’s approach with a take-no-prisoners mentality. And through their entire recorded catalogue, they’ve exhibited exactly these descriptions.
So as I’m sitting here with their latest album “The Whole Of The Law”, I’m wondering where the band can possibly explore further and expand on in 2016. It’s almost as if they would have to one-up themselves when they’ve thrown almost everything at the wall that they can in their career without sacrificing on the ferocious aspect of their compositions.
As I start off the album with the short “The Nameless Dread” with it’s dark and scary environment, “Depravity Favours The Bold” takes a stranglehold with it’s operatic vocals giving an unnerving feel with the blast beats and scorching vocals pouring out of the speakers. The menacing tone continues with “Hold Your Children Close And Pray For Oblivion”, with the title basically summing up the sound, which comes across like armageddon with disturbing harmonious passages.
Fans of the industrial-tinged effects of the band’s sound will love these elements that are included in “We Will Fucking Kill You” and “In Flagrante Delicto”. “And You Will Beg For Our Secrets” is a total black metal meets grindcore vibe. I’m loving the gothic vocal touches that make the song that much darker. “Extravaganza” added a bit of surprise for me with the already versatile and multi-faceted vocals of David Hunt going the extra mile with the King Diamond-esque vocals near the halfway point of the track. They fit very well with the other clean vocals that Hunt executes with power and emotion.
The standout track for me overall would have to be “On Being A Slave”. One of the more complete song structures on the album is a very well put together and somewhat straight-forward approach for the duo of Hunt and Mick Kenney (guitar/bass/programming). There are the signature blast beats and sandpaper vocals thrown in, but the pace to the song is drawn out, which makes me happy in a way which shows growth without sacrificing the band’s core ideals.
And if the album was to close on a weird but appreciative note, we get two cover songs, “Man At C&A” by The Specials, and the legendary metal classic of “Powerslave” by Iron Maiden. Yes, you read that correctly. The band make both songs their own, in the true nature of a cover song. The latter especially is impressive considering what a task it should be to make that song different and unique, but they do, even complete with the soaring vocals in the chorus.
If you’re a fan of this band, you’ll be more than happy with this album. The trademark sound is still in tact, and all facets of their ferocity are still on full display. Many non-fans will either embrace the hell out of this and be floored, or they’ll just hear various stages of demented noise that’s unrelenting. But for the spectators siding with my latter statement, take solace in the fact that digging deep into this album will give you various nuggets that help expand the very essence of extreme metal.
I’d like to think that this might be the most complete Anaal Nathrakh album to date. Growth for this type of band is a relatively hard thing to accomplish without sacrificing major components of the sound, but the band have managed to update the core of their anarchic noise without losing their place as one of the pinnacles of extreme metal longevity.
Their bio states the following which is not lost with this album; “Anaal Nathrakh was created for one purpose – to be the soundtrack for Armageddon, the audial essence of evil, hatred and violence, the true spirit of necro taken to its musical extremes.”. A more apt description couldn’t be made for this group.
01. The Nameless Dread
02. Depravity Favours The Bold
03. Hold Your Children Close And Pray For Oblivion04. We Will Fucking Kill You
05. So We Can Die Happy
06. In Flagrante Delicto
07. And You Will Beg For Our Secrets
09. On Being A Slave
10. The Great Spectator
11. Of Horror, And The Black Shawls
12. Powerslave (Bonus Track)
13. Man At C&A (Bonus Track)
Playing time: 53:12
Release date: 28 October, 2016
Label: Metal Blade Records
Website: Official Anaal Nathrakh Website