Posts Tagged ‘Anaal Nathrakh’

Now my previous lists have been specific to genre, but this is my ultimate top 20 of the year. It’ll include some records that you won’t have seen in previous ones as, for example, I only really heard two good power metal records this year, so I can’t really make a list from it. Also, where do you categorise certain bands, like Triptykon, who cover a wide spread of genres? Anyhow, my top favourites of the year are as follows:

20. Killer Be Killed – S/T – A supergroup that combines equal parts of their bands to create awesome

19. Grand Magus – Triumph and Power – Riffs of stone and hooks of great magnitude, the title track alone is one of my favourite songs of the year.

18. Winterfylleth – The Divination of Antiquity – Another record of spellbinding black metal from England’s finest. Windswept and vast

17. Edguy – Space Police – Catchy as hell and stupidly anthemic, Tobias and the squad bring some RAWK to their power metal greatness

16. Electric Wizard – Time to Die – A suffocating, occult riddled drag down doom alley. Evil and heavy as fuck

15. Mastodon – Once More Round the Sun – A big improvement over The Hunter and Mastodon’s prog doom trip extends further

14. Mayhem – Esoteric Warfare – A follow up to ‘Ordo Ad Chao’ was always going to be difficult, but the True Mayhem brought out another stormer

13. At the Gates – At War With Reality – Thank fuck we finally have the follow up to ‘Slaughter of the Soul’. They put all copycats to shame.

12. EyeHateGod – EyeHateGod – NOLA sludge titans send Joey LaCaze off with one of their most superlative records yet. Angry, harsh and utterly devastating

11. Decapitated – Blood Mantra – Poland’s finest sons of death continue their streak of blinding records with yet another punishing exercise in tech death

10. Anaal Nathrakh – Desideratum – Nasty, abrasive and skullfuckingly epic in parts, Anaal do things their way, and better than most

9. Inter Arma – The Cavern – A Spellbinding 45 minute trip through the mind of one of post metal and doom’s brightest sparks. Wonderful

8. Hour of Penance – Regicide – Always brutal and relentless, I’ve grown fonder and fonder of this record the longer the year has gone on. Death to all!

7. Dead Congregation – Promulgation of the Fall – Nasty, lurching death metal chaos, belching death and pestilence to all

6. Whalerider – Thanatos – A surprise late entry, and its been on constant rotation. A stormingly good rock record with doses of psych doom weirdness too

5. Panopticon – Road to the North – Soaring and scorching black metal, vast and hypnotic. Epic black metal is the theme this year, and its great

4. Sabaton – Heroes – I fucking love this band. No one writes more anthemic metal tunes than this. Fantastic record and catchy as hell

3. Mount Salem – Endless – A starkly beautiful trad doom record with perfect vocals and atmosphere. The fact it is third on my list is testament to its quality

2. Behemoth – The Satanist – The rebirth of a legend and a triumphant return. Any other year this would’ve been the best by a country mile

1. Triptykon – Melana Chasmata – Nothing could beat the pure misanthropy, despair and heaviness wrought from Tom G Warrior. A simply monumental release

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This review was originally posted here: http://www.thesleepingshaman.com/reviews/album-reviews/a/anaal-nathrakh-desideratum-cd-lp-dd-2014/ and has now led to me getting the chance to interview Anaal Nathrakh. Probably the band that started my slow appreciation of grindcore in 2006 with the release of ‘Eschaton’.

If you were to describe Anaal Nathrakh to someone who had never heard them, you’d probably say something along the lines of ‘They sound kinda like if you trapped Nihilism in a wind tunnel’. Very few acts have ever matched the pure, skull fucking intensity that Anaal Nathrakh produce, be that on the stage or on record. They’re also remarkably productive, releasing 8 full lengths in a mere 13 years since their debut, The Codex Necro, in 2001.

Onto Desideratum, the band’s newest release and successor to 2012’s devastating Vanitas. After the menacing of intro track Archeronta Movebimus, which sets the scale for the unleashing of the sound holocaust that is Unleash. A chaotic whirlwind of blastbeats, howling shrieks and the now traditional, vast Emperor-esque clean vocals, Unleash is everything you expect this band to do and more. There’s some fat, almost dub beats hidden within there as well. Monstrum In Animo is another example of the blastbeat volcano erupting and spewing aural violence everywhere. These are shrapnel peppering the foundation of industrial filth and the searing, black metal riffs. This track is the sound of the machines winning.

Anaal Nathrakh have perfected this terrifying mix of grindcore’s fury and speed with gritty industrial bleakness and black metal’s nihilistic streak. But what has always set them apart for me has been the grand vast sections with the soaring clean vocals. There’s few bands that could get away with clean vocals like that in a black metal song without being labelled sellouts or posers. Anaal Nathrakh manage it simply because their music is so violently uncommercial that the clean vocals could never be accused as an attempt to break the mainstream. They are there to enhance the music. A light in amongst all that hate. If it wasn’t so relentlessly dark and full of tales of annihilation or Armageddon, you’d almost think there was hope for us. Almost.

The savage odyssey continues, through the grandeur and carnage of The One Thing Needful, and the blasting A Firm Foundation of Unyielding Despair to the twisting, thrashing malevolence of Idol and the vast title track. There has been a definite increase in the electronic and industrial influence in the sound here, employing techniques seen in some of Aborym’s best work. Crashing dub beats drop away into savage blackened grind, while cold, industrialised noises linger in the background. Vocalist Dave Hunt out does himself on every track, his voice tearing, shrieking, growling and soaring whenever required. He has to be one of extreme metal’s most versatile vocalists, going from a wonderfully rich clean vocal into the terrifying banshee shriek without a pause.

All in all, Anaal Nathrakh have done it again. With this prolific release schedule, you would’ve thought that they would have released a dud at least once. But their work has always been consistently of high quality and Desideratum in no ways stalls that progress. Another horribly beautiful record of nihilistic hatred and dreams of Armageddon from Brum’s most twisted sons.

Anaal Nathrakh are the epitome of the twisted nihilistic flame that produces the best in black metal. They define uncompromising, each album producing walls of triggered blastbeats, positively insane vocals and rasping black metal riffs. They embody their concept of mankind’s extinction in the face of machine dominance fully, truly sounding like the coming of the Apocalypse.

Their second album, ‘Domine Non es Dignus’, released in 2004, shows the full power of their abilities. I mean, the opening intro track is called ‘I Wish I Could Vomit Blood on All You People’. What do you expect after that, I mean really? It is a more ambient, industrial piece before the full on assault begins with second track ‘The Oblivion Gene’, a raging torrent of a track that encompasses all that makes this such an excellent album; razor sharp riffing, impenetrable blasting and tortured, shrieking howls from vocalist Dave Cunt.

The third track however, ‘Do Not Speak’, is where the band throws us a curveball and prove that they aren’t a one trick pony. Opening with the quote ‘If you want to see the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face forever’, it tears off with some great blasting and riffs, coupled with screeching and growling before opening up into a monstrous melodic section, complete with grand clean vocals reigning over a blasting hellscape beneath. Imagine if you will, the song as a movie about a battle between the last of human kind and their mechanised enemy. The blasting, fierce sections are the close in shots, right up where the blood and metal fly. The open sections are the moment where the camera shoots up and gauges the massive scale of the event, complete with operatic angel choirs etc. It sounds very cliche I know, but it was the first image in my brain when I heard it.

For me, ‘Do Not Speak’is the benchmark for quality in this album. ‘Procreation of the Wretched’ is a more typical black metal attack coupled with more grindcore esque vocals, and ‘To Err is Human, to Dream: Futile’ is a more subdued beast, reminiscent of Satyricon’s more regal moments. It is however Emperor that Anaal really seem to emulate, with the huge vocal arrangements on some tracks, especially some of the falsetto work in ‘Revaluation of All Values’ which is very Ihsahn-like. Its not a bad thing, and it is good to see them taking a more mature black metal approach than just the riff/blast/shriek combination that has afflicted a lot of the black metal scene. In fact ‘Revalution…’ actually possesses a very groovy riff section at the 3 minute mark before exploding into craziness yet again.

The album continues in such a destructive manner, destroying everything in the wake of ‘The Final Destruction of Dignity’, pounding the remains mercilessly into the ground with ‘Swallow the World’ and then producing yet another melodic break with ‘This Cannot Be the End’. Closing with the Dylan Thomas-inspired ‘Rage, Rage Against the Dying of the Light’, Anaal Nathrakh continue to rally the listeners to fight the coming dehumanisation of the world and to fight mankind’s extinction. You could almost imagine the band being asked to write the music for the new Terminator movie, as it would sit in perfectly with the theme.

If you are a fan of such nihilistic, destructive music, Anaal Nathrakh are the band for you. I prefer their later work personally, especially ‘Eschaton’ and ‘Hell is Empty and All the Devils are Here’, but ‘Domine Non es Dignus’ is as devastating as this band can be. A work of uncompromising brutality, rage and quality from a band who are probably going to be the voice of the Apocalypse.