Next review: » Anaal Nathrakh - Vanitas
Released: 2011, Candlelight Records
There was a time - and we're probably taking about a good twenty years ago now, if not more - when heavy metal delivered shock and awe like very few other mediums could even dream of doing. From the god-baiting antics of Venom and Deicide to the OTT alpha-maleness of Blackie Lawless and his homies in W.A.S.P., metal was the music of choice when you wanted to scare the pants off your neighbors or any other unsuspecting civilians.
Of course, these days it's all relevant. As Metallica brought mainstream respectability to thrash, so the shouty antics of Slipknot severely eroded the scare value of Death and Black Metal. Still, you'd have to possess a wrought iron constitution not to at the very least be somewhat gobsmacked by what Birmingham's Anaal Nathrakh have dished up on their sixth opus. Sure, they've pushed the envelope before on the likes of TOTAL FUCKING NECRO and ESCHATON, fusing primeval brutality with a disarmingly deep level of musicality. But where their last disc - 2009's IN THE CONSTELLATION OF THE BLACK WIDOW - lacked the firepower to establish itself as a classic, PASSION boasts a dizzying arsenal that would make most believe they've hears the trumpet call of Armageddon. They're not even doing anything especially different; "Drug Fucking Abomination" for example sports all the hallmarks of the Anaal Nathrakh blueprint, from the hysterical gargles of frontman Dave Hunt to the tuneful, Apocalyptic grinding that's long been the band's calling card. The difference lies in the level of conviction being displayed and - fuck me - does PASSION have it in droves. Hunt's spirited exclamation at the start of "Volenti Non Fit Iniuria" kind of sums it all up - this is Anaal Nathrakh as you've known and loved, on serious steroids.
The real marvel is that they're able to keep it up for ten songs. The sheer barbarism of it all never softens in the least, and yet it all stays thoroughly engaging to the last minute. In fact it's the last track proper - "Ashes Screaming Silence" - that provides the album with some of its deepest and darkest highlights, specifically the chorus that kicks in around halfway mark. But don't take my word for it - put this record to the test yourself; immediately is already too late.
1. Volenti Non Fit Iniuria
2. Drug-Fucking Abomination
3. Post Traumatic Stress Euphoria
4. Le Diabolique Est L'ami Du Simplement Mal
5. Locus of Damnation
6. Tod Huetet Uebel
7. Paragon Pariah
8. Who Thinks of the Executioner?
9. Ashes Screaming Silence
10. Portrait of the Artist
V.I.T.R.I.O.L. (Dave Hunt) - Vocals
Irrumator (Mick Kenney) - Guitars, Bass, Programming
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