Anaal Nathrakh @ The Black Heart, London

Anaal Nathrakh

@ The Black Heart, London
20th April, 2015

Anaal Nathrakh  @ The Black Heart, London  20th May, 2015
Anaal Nathrakh @ The Black Heart, London 20th May, 2015

Review by Caitlin Smith

Photos by Jo Moolenschot

Camden has long been known for the place to find some of the most exciting metal music in London, hidden down the back alley is one of the areas up and coming venues, The Black Heart. It’s not the first time this venue has seen bands bigger than its boots play their stage, with Red Fang hosting an exclusive intimate gig at the venue. Pulling in another mega-band for a special Monday night performance, Anaal Nathrakh take to the stage for an exclusive intimate show.

Voices supporting Anaal Nathrakh
Voices supporting Anaal Nathrakh

Opening the night is locally based Voices [3/5]. Riding on the back of their latest release, London, that hit the shelves November last year, the quartet returns to the very same city for the evening. Forming ominously dark figures on stage, they perfectly set the scene for their unusual version of progressive black metal. Harrowed screeches from Vocalist Peter Benjamin and backed by consistently furious drumming from David Gray, all interspersed with chaotic guitar lines. Playing a mix from across bother their latest album and the debut album From the Human Forest create a Fugue of Imaginary Rain and London, the audience are treated to tracks “Last Train Victoria Line” and “The House from the Black Light.” While their music may not appeal to everyone in the audience that evening, their unique sound helps maintain them as one of the most exciting up and coming black metal acts on the UK scene.

Voices supporting Anaal Nathrakh
Voices supporting Anaal Nathrakh

With a self-confessed so-small-it’s-funny show, Anaal Nathrakh [4/5] replace their usual slot at the Underworld for the cosy venue upstairs at the Black Heart for a one night only performance. With just 150 capacity, it didn’t take long for tickets to this show to fly off the shelves leaving many fans scrambling to get hold of a ticket for this rare intimate performance.

Anaal Nathrakh at The Black Heart
Anaal Nathrakh at The Black Heart

For those who have frequented a show at a sold out Black Heart, the show had promised to be the usual mass of sweat, violence and pain but far from being the usual mire of damp bodies squeezed into the small room, there was a surprising amount to space to move through leaving the question standing: were people skipping the school night show? Or was the gig sold under-capacity?

Anaal Nathrakh at The Black Heart
Anaal Nathrakh at The Black Heart
Anaal Nathrakh at The Black Heart
Anaal Nathrakh at The Black Heart

What the gig lacked in crowd numbers, it made up for it in enthusiasm. The restrained nature of Voices was suddenly shattered as the crowd exploded into a frenzy of fists and flying bodies with the usual violence that comes with an Anaal Nathrakh show kicking in at full force.

Anaal Nathrakh at The Black Heart
Anaal Nathrakh at The Black HeartAnaal Nathrakh at The Black Heart
Anaal Nathrakh at The Black Heart
Anaal Nathrakh at The Black Heart

Newer songs from 2014’s Desideratum provide somewhat more accessible tracks than previous work with “Monstrum in Animo” and “Idol” going down well with the crowd. It’s impossible to beat the classic songs however, and when the band rip out “Forging towards the Sunset,” “Of Fire and Fucking Pigs” and “Between Piss and Shit we are Born” the place descends into chaos.

Anaal Nathrakh at The Black Heart
Anaal Nathrakh at The Black Heart
Anaal Nathrakh at The Black Heart
Anaal Nathrakh at The Black Heart

Highlight of the night however came in the form of a mini-preview as we were treated to the live debut of “The Joystream.” Described by vocalist Dave Hunt as a “love song about murdering children,” it seems to perfectly encapsulate all that Anaal Nathrakh have come to stand for.  The music may be an intense mass of horror and disgust wrapped within some of the most accessibly extreme music out on offer and while you may leave the show battered, bruised and emotionally drained, the experience is always completely cathartic.

Anaal Nathrakh at The Black Heart
Anaal Nathrakh at The Black Heart
Anaal Nathrakh at The Black Heart
Anaal Nathrakh at The Black Heart

 

Setlist:

1. Acheronta Movebimus
2. Unleash
3. Monstrum in Animo
4. Forging Towards the Sunset
5. Bellum Omnium Contra Omnes
6. Between Shit and Piss We Are Born
7. In the Constellation of the Black Widow
8. Drug-Fucking Abomination
9. Of Fire, and Fucking Pigs
10. Idol
11. The Joystream
12. Do Not Speak

Anaal Nathrakh at The Black Heart
Anaal Nathrakh at The Black Heart

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