Released: 2009, Candlelight Records
Unholy filthy blackness!
I can’t remember the last time I heard so much fury packed into a half hour of sheer assault. Possibly the very first time I heard REIGN IN BLOOD, but this, Anaal Nathrakh’s fifth full-length, this compact slab of gross misanthropy and hate is just possibly the best album of 2009 for me. Ladies and gentlemen, IN THE CONSTELLATION OF THE BLACK WIDOW.
The first thing I have to say is that there is no filler on the album. No unnecessary intros, long-winded interludes, drawn-out conclusions. Each song is focused, furious and crafted with the sole purpose of taking your head off. This would not be the soundtrack of Armageddon, purely because I get the impression that Doomsday would be a long tedious process. No, if this were to be a soundtrack to anything, it would be Hiroshima 1945. Bang, bang, bang, and you’re fucked on the floor.
The music, what can I say: an impossible combination of the speed and relentlessness of Extreme Noise Terror, the filthy blasting of Darkthrone, Absu, Grave and early Sodom, and the melodic sensibilities of, dare I say it, In Flames. The black-metal tinged riffs are razor-sharp, the programmed drums are powerful and compact and all these elements are just drawn together into an unholy oneness, the overwhelming atmosphere of which is cold, black fury that is to be heard to be believed.
The vocals are, in short, brilliant. Were I asked to elaborate, I’d say the vocals are fucking brilliant.
The aptly named V.I.T.R.I.O.L. is responsible for spewing forth the effluent on which so much of the band’s sound is based. His heavily distorted and industrialised howls (a hint of Impaled Nazarene there, I fancy) bespeak torture beyond belief; were I to hazard a guess, torment by chainsaws dipped in sulphuric acid may possibly come close. At other times, Mr Dave Hunt (his less prosaic moniker) drops octaves into a low growl, bringing to my mind LG Petrov for some reason. And finally, Dave shows his vocal cords are not twisted beyond repair, throwing in some very dramatic clean vocals that may remind one of a cross between Matt Barlow, Messiah Marcolin and ICS Vortex (Dimmu Borgir).
All in all, I haven’t been delivered such a sonic tour de force for a very long time, and I would hope that if you have any interest in extreme metal whatsoever that you will buy this album immediately. I cannot recommend it highly enough.