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Released: 2012, Candlelight Records
England’s Anaal Nathrakh have been making waves in the black metal scene for over a decade now, are highly respected, and yet have been totally ignored by me up until now. Well, 2012 seems to be a “catch up” year for me as I’ve heard a number of bands that have been on my “to listen to” list for a long time. And with VANITAS, Anaal Nathrakh’s sixth full-length release upon us, it seemed like a great time to check in with the band.
Anaal Nathrakh’s reputation is that of one of the most spiteful, hateful bands on the planet, and song titles like “To Spite the Face”, and “Of Fire, and Fucking Pigs” certainly make the case that the band haven’t mellowed with age. Getting into the album, it’s clear that musically, these guys aren’t about to go acoustic on us either! Although I can’t compare with their previous output, I can say that VANITAS is one hell of an intense listen beginning to end, and if I had to guess, I would say that it’s just as powerful as their previous work. The band’s touted mixture of death, black, and industrial is here in full force, full speed ahead. The band do slow it down a bit for a menacing grind through “Feeding the Beast”, but pretty well everything else on the album will rip your face off.
I do find it interesting that, for all the bluster associated with the band, their song craft is uniformly excellent. Hell, it doesn’t take any effort to find catchy riffs and many memorable passages. Sure, you won’t be singing along, but you may find yourself tapping your toes while you bang your head.
I was tempted to say that VANITAS is a shockingly good album, but given the uniformly high praise afforded this band I guess I’ll just say that it’s as good as expected. These guys are definitely in a league of their own – no one captures rage & fury in music quite like Anaal Nathrakh.
1. The Blood-Dimmed Tide
2. Forging Towards the Sunset
3. To Spite the Face
4. Todos Somos Humanos
5. In Coelo Quies, Tout Finis Ici Bas
6. You Can’t Save Me, So Stop Fucking Trying
7. Make Glorious the Embrace of Saturn
8. Feeding the Beast
9. Of Fire, and Fucking Pigs
10. A Metaphor for the Dead
Irrumator: Guitar, Bass, Programming