Anaal Nathrakh
The Codex Necro

There must be some foul work afoot in England. First Akercocke, now Anaal Nathrakh. England is producing some supremely evil and menacing music once again. This two-piece project follows hot on the heels of the recent neo-black metal craze, with also a nod to the industrial programming of The Berzerker and the result is some of the most face-ripping black metal noise I have heard since Emperor’s In the Nightside Eclipse. It is that intense.

Falling squarely in the industrial black metal category, Anaal Nathrakh have taken the glossy cybernetic mechanical sheen and butchered it, resulting in a caustic, abrasive style of black metal that is simply hateful. Whereas the Zyklon and Cadaver Inc. can be likened to a clinical, cybernetic precise killing machine, Anaal Nathrakh is a colossal corroded engine with grinding gears, massive pistons and jutting twisted barbs of steel residing in a barren wasteland of war torn wreckage. This album gave me tetanus. The apocalyptic aura is aided by a distorted, feedback-laden production that spits out psychotically robotic vocals and buzzing guitars, all to the backdrop of insanely fast-mechanized drums.

However, even thought Anaal Nathrakh are clearly one of the new spawn of black metal, the riff and song structures do have one foot firmly planted in the icy northern mountain scapes of there pagan Scandinavian ancestors. The simple, yet driving riff of the relentless opening track “The Supreme Necrotic Audnance,” certainly conjures up misty images of Mayhem, Emperor and Darkthrone, but they’ve mutated it into a biomechanical platform of spiteful futuristic music. This feel is no more evident than on standout track, “When Human is a Cancer,” that starts with a huge pounding mechanical riff then tears into some traditional yet oxidized black metal. There are few more “experimental” moments on this album, like “Paradigm Shift-Annihilation”, the inserted electric drumbeat is foreboding and ominous, rather than come across campy and “spacey” like …And Oceans. These industrial interludes are far more menacing, due to the rest of the cut n’ thrust black metal being suitably twisted and scathing, so the elements blend, rather than just mixed in as an effort to seem progressive.

This album is not for the faint-hearted; it is as venomous, hate-filled release as I have heard. It has it moments that, mainly due to the programmed drums, reminded me of The Berzerker. But whereas as the Berzerker has its moments of controlled plodding industrial experimentation, Anaal Nathrakh absolutely do not let up. Their more controlled moments like “Incipid Flock” reseamble futuristic smouldering war machines crushing bones under their tracks. Even the solos are played with a chaotic abandon, feeling like a cyborg that’s blown a fuse and gone out of control.

This album shreds through forty-six minutes of merciless, malignant and virulent music. However, that might also be the one small pitfall of this album – the listener has no chance to catch his/her breath. I had a hard time listening to the full album in one listening due to its sheer intense malice. If the current black metal trend is your style, this is for you, but be warned. This is not shiny methodical industrial black metal. It’s chaotic, disturbing and malignant and quite possibly a classic album from a band that’s is only two years old. It’s scary what Anaal Nathrakh might accomplish with time. Even if you don’t like the genre, buy this album to say you own it, also it should be handy for scaring of unwanted visitors. Plus, you never know if the big one does ever drop, you have a suitable album to witness the end of the world with.

For once, I actually agree with the blurb on the promo material: this is indeed the soundtrack for Armageddon.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
February 9th, 2002

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