Released: 2004, Galy Records
Reviewer: Lord of the Wasteland
While Marduk’s past iniquities seem to be keeping them out of North America, we have our own mongers of blackened/war metal to turn to—Anhkrehg. Ten years into their careers, the Quebec threesome has delivered their latest batch of Armageddon-laced tunes entitled AGAINST YOU ALL…. Former Magister Dixit drummer, Infurya, is now behind the kit and his presence is felt right off the bat. This record features heavy, heavy drums with endless blastbeats and some serious double bass action. The riffing comes at 100 miles an hour and Khayr’s vocals are as venomous as they have ever been. As with most Galy Records releases, Kataklysm’s Jean-Francois Dagenais handles production and his work here is as stellar as anything else he touches. Despite the cataclysmic shower of aggression, Dagenais manages to capture a thick, full sound with everything sounding in its rightful place on the record. The band themselves have also branched out a little with AGAINST YOU ALL… clocking in at nearly 45 minutes. Their previous two albums—1997’s LE MENSONGE DE MASSADA and 2000’s LANDS OF WAR—were under a half hour in length each so you’re getting more bang (and bombs and explosions) for your buck this time around.
War and its effect on humans has always been the prime directive of Anhkrehg’s music and AGAINST YOU ALL… is no exception. “The Arrival” is a spoken word piece with explosions, gunfire and general battlefield chaos behind it. Infurya’s war drums on the track (and later during the intro to “La Malediction Finale”) get the listener right into the spirit of the record and bleed into the title track, as well. The use of Louis Armstrong’s “What A Wonderful World” at its conclusion is juxtaposed with more death and destruction in the background showing maybe Anhkrehg aren’t war mongers as much as they are opposed to the war?? Infurya’s blastbeats are set on turbo on “Set Me Free” and “La Mort Reine Du Monde (Howls From The North)” but the intensity of them are perfectly suited for Anhkrehg’s music and, like Marduk or Impaled Nazarene, never seem out of place or forced. Instead playing on ten at all times, the band slows things down for “La Mort Reine Du Monde (Howls From The North),” which unlike their counterparts in Marduk, helps to break up the monotony that such extreme music can have. The riffing is just as strong and Khayr’s vocals are just as unintelligible as ever but this six minute break in the action gives the listener a chance to recharge his or her batteries for the homestretch.
Not to scare off the Anglophones reading this but many of Anhkrehg’s songs are written in French. Given Khayr’s delivery, it’s really a moot point because it is basically impossible to understand what it is he is saying anyway. AGAINST YOU ALL… is a well-produced slice of total destruction from Quebec’s harbingers of war, Anhkrehg. All the hatred, violence and antagonism remains from Anhkrehg’s earlier efforts but this album steps things up a notch both musically and production-wise.
KILLER KUTS: “Against You All…Motherfuckers,” “Set Me Free,” “La Mort Reine Du Monde (Howls From The North),” “Shiva…God of Destruction,” “La Malediction Finale”