Anaal Nathrakh
Domine Non Es Dignus

Roughly translated as ‘Lord, You Are Not Worthy’, Domine Non Es Dignus is the highly anticipated follow up to the utterly devastating debut The Codex Necro which due to its caustic, barren and apocalyptic sound, arguably made England’s Anaal Nathrakh one of the most extreme black metal acts around.

So how does album number 2 stack up’ Well first things first, once past the introductory ‘I Wish I could Vomit Blood on You’People’, a unsettling, wretch laden sample, and “The Oblivion Gene’ explodes from the speakers you immediately notice the cleaner, less abrasive production. Whereas The Codex Necro was a distorted, battery acid guzzling beast, this album is more clinical and razor sharp, and while the new tones certainly removes some of Anaal Nathrakh’s viciousness, it doesn’t take away from the bands blistering Mayhem on meth musical stance, as the ‘Thrakh are still utterly hell bent on delivering spitefully aggressive riffs and a near continual merciless percussive assault. A second a more surprising development is the vocal maelstrom delivered by V.I.T.R.I.O.L. and subtle injection melody as typified for possibly the album’s standout track ‘Do Not Speak’. V.I.T.R.I.O.L. utilizes many styles on this album from his usual barren screech, Emperor/King Diamond ‘esque crescendos, robotic chanting and guttural belching-it all adds up to a very disturbing and twisted vocal soundscape that makes up for the new production’s slight shortcoming. In fact, the Emperor influence can be heard far more obviously amid their Mayhem and Bathory worship, as the complexity has been upped, resulting in a sort swirling, operatic chaos not unlike a more visceral Anthems to the Welkin at Dusk without the keyboards. Now, don’t get me wrong, Anaal Nathrakh haven’t sold out or developed into a lighter act, as drummer, guitarist/drummer Irumator (AKA Mick Kenney of Mistress, Frost and Fukpig) still spits forth some utterly skin peeling riffs and machine gun drums, it’s just more pristine and decipherable.

The entire album still drips with a futuristic menace in spite of the lessened distortion, and due to V.I.T.R.I.O.L’s schizophrenic performance, seems more psychotically ‘human’ rather than the robotic soulless-ness of The Codex Necro. ‘Procreation of the Wretched’ possibly harkens back to the former album with shrill guitar FX backing the manic riffage while the robotic, militaristic gait mixed with the hypnotic chanting of ‘To Err Is Human, To Dream ‘ Futile’ imbues an Orwellian slave state ambiance. ‘The Final Destruction of Dignity (Die Letzten Tage Der Menschheit)’ is the albums most vitriolic track after an initial lull, with Kenny just decimating his drum kit with a level of continual extremity on par with The Berzerker (a band that shares common stylistic themes with Anaal Nathrakh).

Each track, while displaying varying degrees of audio hostility, continue to show Anaal Nathrakh’s insidious evolution that still keeps them atop the modern black metal heap, although frankly I wasn’t quite as taken aback as I was with The Codex Necro, but then again, to top that album for sheer venomous rage would be near impossible, and an album that contains the hypnotic vocal line and controlled groove of ‘This Cannot be the End’ certainly doesn’t compete with their debut.

Admittedly, I preferred The Codex Necro, as the quality of this still abrasive album isn’t quite as immeasurable, but it still hums with a sneering, hateful guise, and even the most ardent metal head will be intimidated by the first few ominous bars and punishing blasts of ‘Rage, Rage Against the Dying of the Light’. Still, Anaal Nathrakh is undoubtedly the new contorted face of black metal, and V.I.T.R.I.O.L is it’s spittle drenched mouthpiece.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by E. Thomas
November 2nd, 2004

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