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Every so often a band feels the need to change up their sound. They could be growing bored with what they're doing and want to "shake things up", or they could be somewhat forced into doing it by an ever-changing musical landscape. This can lead to both good things (The Black Album, Death's evolution into progressive death metal territory) and bad things (Overkill's 90s albums, Diabolus in Musica by Slayer, Sepultura continuing with nu metal past Roots under the disastrous lead of Derrick Green). In the case of Anaal Nathrakh, this is a mixture of both. The blackened masterpiece of The Codex Necro and the industrial wasteland of When Fire Rains... both laid the groundwork for the band's future offerings, but it was on Domine Non Es Dignus that their sound started to become fully realized. While still a damn good piece of extreme metal craziness, it honestly does not do as much for me as The Codex Necro or a later release like In the Constellation of the Black Widow, feeling both primitive for the band's new direction and, odd as it is to say for a band like Anaal Nathrakh, kind of subdued.
Now when I say "subdued", I don't mean in the sense that the band is holding something back, because this is still a ridiculously chaos record by general extreme metal standards. For Anaal Nathrakh, however, it is definitely not as crazy as The Codex Necro or When Fire Rains Down from the Sky, Mankind Will Reap as it Has Sown. The instrumentation, the vocals, the production style, it's all very, very different for a band as notably insane as Anaal Nathrakh. The style mixing that appeared in minimum on the debut and became more apparent on When Fire Rains... has now overtaken the music completely; it is still black metal, but the record has a very death metal aura to it. The guitars are more in line with death metal writing, with considerably more chugging and staccato guitar work present than on either previous release. This is also the first time we'd hear metalcore elements in Anaal Nathrakh's music by way of the breakdown found in the middle of "To Err is Human, to Dream is - Futile". The drumming is much more in line with drum work that could be found on many old school death metal records, containing numerous hardcore punk-styled skank beat sections and more complicated fills and rolls than the band's previous offerings.
When it comes to speed, the record tends to fluctuate between the slower, somewhat more droning pace of The Codex Necro and the hyperblasting insanity of the band's later records, with the latter winning out more often than not. The music has a somewhat more "epic" feel to it as well through both the cleaner production and the introduction of clean vocals. Guitar solos and lead breaks also make their first appearance here, but they don't appear too often to really influence the overall design of the music that much. The songs are also across the board shorter than the debut record's songs, but for some reason they just don't feel as compelling to me as that album's tunes did. "Procreation of the Wretched" for example is just four-and-a-half minutes of almost nothing interesting. Same goes for "This Cannot Be the End", only with the length extended to six-and-a-half minutes. My natural inclination to prefer death metal over almost everything else should mean that I like this album more than the debut, but it's just not as interesting to me as that album was.
Even with the not as compelling or interesting music, Irrumator and V.I.T.R.I.O.L. once again pull no punches in creating this material. V.I.T.R.I.O.L.'s vocals here, in keeping with the much different feel of the music, are not as torturous as the previous two disc's vocals were, being both lower and less shrieky. His cleans are just as good here as they are on the later albums, although he doesn't reach as high registers here as he does on said later albums. The biggest point of contention for me, however, is Irrumator's mix. It's cleaner, not as loud, more polished & refined, and from a technical standpoint a "better" mix than the debut's. For me personally, I think I prefer the debut's filthy sound over the sophomore's polish and finesse. Same goes with preferring the return of the wall of sound on Eschaton and later In the Constellation of the Black Widow to this one. It's not a bad mix at all, and as said it probably is from a technical point of view "better" than the dirtiness of the debut, but for my own personal tastes I don't like it as much.
In the end, Domine Non Es Dignus might just be the most important release in the band's discography for bringing in the new direction and sound the band would go with on all their later records, but I just don't really find it as interesting or fun a listen as The Codex Necro was. Even with all the new stylistic additions, a few songs are just a chore to listen to and it's obvious the band was still getting used to their new sound. Thankfully, however, human beings have the ability to look at the choices and decisions of the past, as well as the criticisms others may bring to the proverbial table, and improve. Anaal Nathrakh did this, combined the best elements of this album with the best elements of the previous album, and improved drastically upon Domine Non Es Dignus through the maddening masterpiece that is Eschaton. For now, though, their sophomore effort was merely quite good, but not great.
'Domine Non Es Dignus'-or, in English, 'Lord, You are not Worthy'-serves as quite an interesting title to the second album by vile black metallers Anaal Nathrakh. Then again, what else would you expect from a band that, quite plainly on their first album 'The Codex Necro', never really have let up on the virulent venom and passionate yet brutal aggression coursing through the band's ambitious veins? .'The Codex Necro' merely introduced these most blasphemous and unholy of sinful sounds, which were very much supported by some extremely convincing sound samples of such horrific (in some critics' eyes, certainly) films as 'Event Horizon' and 'The Final Conflict'. If 'The Codex Necro' is the parent that birthed the band's voyages into slightly more popular territory, 'Domine Non es Dignus' is surely the successful child that, still to this day, has reigned victoriously albeit terrifyingly supreme.
Anaal Nathrakh have always been quite a chaotically diverse band, introducing distorted voices, warped and rasped vocals, or even a nod towards such otherworldly musical influences as techno and industrial, the latter of which being more than a little prominent within the band's more recent work. What is immediately striking here however, is that nearly each and every song on 'Domine...' is introduced in a different way, no matter how large or small the difference is. There are, as on the band's debut, samples from either film ('Revaluation of all Values') or appropriately enough, the sickness of real life (opening instrumental 'I wish I could vomit Blood on you...People'). Surely enough, the band introduce some songs with actual riffs that could easily have been mistaken for those found on Mayhem's 'De Mysteriis dom Sathanas' album, as on the brutally invigorating 'The Oblivion gene' and literary homage to one of Celtic Frost's most well-known opuses,'Procreation of the Wretched'. Sure, avid listeners of extreme metal who lust for basic, fundamental riffs may despise the use of narrative dialogue and warped distortion, but it is clear that the band only sought to carry out their brand of vicious music.
So why is this album constantly lumped in with the black metal Genre? The answer to that question is in fact very easy to grasp: Blastbeats, ultra-fast drum work and the most unholy of vocals on EVERY SINGLE SONG. Of course, plenty of people get bored listening to the same musical formula in one single album, but Anaal Nathrakh never really were a band set out to sound like nothing else. They just wanted to show the world just how good their brand of extreme metal is. However, it isn't merely the music that displays the chaotic nature of the band, but the lyrics and titles themselves. Take 'To err is Human, to Dream-Futile' for example, a title that, for those who are more than just a little interested in the English language (Ironic that Anaal Nathrakh are from Birmingham, arguably one of the founding homes of all that is metal), conveys an image of power and greed across the whole of humanity. Then there is the title of closing track 'Rage, rage against this dying Light', taken from the famous Dylan Thomas Poem 'Do not go gently into that good Night'. No, the band are not suckers for 20th century poetry. Instead, whereas the poem itself displays a somewhat relaxing and melodious piece of literature, Anaal Nathrakh's 'Rage...' is filled with so much sinful spittle of venom that you can almost feel yourself vomiting just from the sheer power of the lyrics contained within.
I have mentioned before how Anaal Nathrakh never have been a band to change their sound so much that they are referred to a completely different genre, but that doesn't mean to say the band don't change the nature of their musical formula once in a while. One thing fans of the band will certainly be familiar with is their emphatic use of clean vocals on latter albums such as 'In the Constellation of the black Widow' and 'Passion'. On 'Domine...', there are definitely instances in which this vocal range is used. Some way through 'To err is human...' both V.I.T.R.I.O.L. and Ventnor step out of the comfort zone slightly and sing as if they were in a choir, albeit one that could have been created by an angel of Hell itself. Even on the album's longest song, 'This cannot be the End', clean vocals basically take charge and are the chorus' main attraction, though this 'attraction' isn't at all attractive to merely everyone.
The band also dip into melodic and epic territory, found oftentimes within the genre of symphonic and classical black metal. 'Do not Speak', in which a very intelligently used narrative from Hellraiser ensues (and let's face it, who doesn't lust to hear the twisted evil of 'Jesus...wept' again and again?), displays the band's brief forays into melodic solo work and the brilliant imagery of a religious war, thanks to the band's clever interweaving of clean vocals against the barrage of black metal riffs thundering around.
As an extreme metal fan, it is very hard to find anything here that the band do weakly, but there are certainly little things that can frustrate anybody. 'The Oblivion Gene', whilst its presence on the album is that of a vitally important one, features a slight use of vocals found within a hardcore or metalcore band, where it seems every member of the band are shouting the lyrics rather than screaming them chaotically. Then there is the most obvious of them all, the fact that every single blastbeat and riff sounds virtually the same in the first half of the album, which is thankfully changed around slightly in the second half, wherein the band take several steps out of their comfort zones, and show the world they are not as simple as one perceives them to be.
It is interesting how fortunately famous Anaal Nathrakh have become in the extreme metal underground scene of late, particularly since their victorious approach to try something largely new on 'In the Constellation of the Black Widow' and 'Passion'. 'Domine...' does not change the band's perceptions and beliefs, but certainly makes them known amongst an unexpectant crowd.
Anaal Nathrakh has changed. This is not the same band that released "The Codex Necro." While the aethesticism has remained the same (nihilism, misanthropy), the sound has changed much.
Death metal drumming, clean vocals, falsetto's, death metal vocals, black metal vocals, more melodic riffs and solo's, and much cleaner production. The only thing musically that's similar, really, is Irrumator's insane goddamn shrieking.
Domine opens with "I Wish I Could Vomit Blood On You... People." Which is sort of an ambient-ish opening, sounding somewhat similar to The Axis of Perdition's latest. "The Oblivion Gene" opens up with a cool riff, and then some crazy blasting, and shrieking. At about 1:45, we get to see Anaal's more melodic riffing at work. This type of riffing is also prevalent on the chorus of the next song, "Do Not Speak." Which is definitely different. Completely clean, and ending with high pitched falsetto's. The pre-chorus also has some pretty low guttural growls. I'm assuming that all of the vox were done by Irrumator, which means he's pretty... talented. The main riff on "Procreation," is kind of black'n'roll-like, "Err" is badass from start to finish, as well as "Revaluation." The only thing I don't like about "Revalution" is the pre-chorus, where Irrumator starts showing the song title. It's fairly stupid sounding. After that, he does some fairly traditional black metal vocals in the chorus, using his falsetto's to provide some more melody in the back. "This Cannot Be The End" is weirdly catchy, and kickass. "Rage" is another blast fest, and fit to end the album, with some weird keyboard effects at the end.
This is definitely a more mature Anaal, and hopefully they'll continue along this path for their next album.
Anaal Nathrakh are one of my favourite bands and there's no two ways about it, their music is sheer violence in sonic form. They may not be as revolutionary as some poeple would like to think but that doesn't exactly stop it from being great music. And they don't rely on image clichés to market themselves either, they express themselves through their music, not pantomime costumes...don't get me wrong I love a bit of the 'old black leather, spikes, inverted crosses and corpse paint' but it's time the image progressed with the music to be honest, we don't need melodramatics to sell good music.
This album is remarkably different from their excellent debut "The Codex Necro"; there is less of the 'wall of noise', the sound is cleaner, however far from being 'accessible' and the songs seem generally tighter in their composition and execution. For one, there are more sweeping epic melodic break-downs(don't get the wrong idea though, this doesn't mean 'sell-out' material) and some clean vocals (Do Not Speak and This Cannot be The End are two of the best tracks on the aalbum!). This shocked many people at first but once the initial shock has worn off you begin to realise that they are much a part of the musc as the brutal screams and gutteral growls. It's these sections where the music breaks down into something different, which make Anaal Nathrakh so different to any other Apocalyptic-Industrial-Necro-Black Metal bands out there...they are not afraid of progression (a word that would have some bands running for cover), their sound has gone thorugh a stage of natural evolution.
Whereas they use a drum machine for the pulse of the album, it is very well programmed (I've heard far worse when it comes to bands attempting to programme 'metal' drum sequences) and blends suitably with the guitar work and vocals in producing and industrial/futuristic black metal sound.
One note about the vocals; they DO NOT use vocal distortion, as some reviewers seem to believe; it may sound like it but those are V.I.T.R.I.O.L./Dave Cunt's real vocals (I've seen him perform live as lead vocalist of Nathrakh and Mistress so I've heard this stuff performed first hand!). They are 100% genuine...Dani Filth of that terrible excuse for a black metal (if they can be called that) band Cradle of Filth, uses vocal distortion...but not these guys. When the album was finsihed they put this notice on their webpage: "Recording is now complete on Domine Non Es Dignus. Without the use of keyboards, vocal distortion or harmonizers."
They're not everyones cup of tea, but if you having your ear drums eviscerated by chainsaw guitars playing ripping black metal riffs and vocals that sound as if the guy had gargled razor blades (and got that NO DIGITAL VOCAL DISTORTION!!!)...then this is your thing.
Do you like never-ending, blindingly-fast, riffs? How about constant, digitized, triggered blastbeats? What about inhumanly mechanized and distorted vocals? If so, this may be the album for you. If you do not, however, enjoy this idea, then run – do not walk – in the direction that leads away from this album, as fast as possible. For Anaal Nathrakh’s music strikes me as this very fusion of musical elements.
First, some general comments. As a whole, the album comes together fairly well for what it is. The album seems to have two general themes; the first theme is one of dehumanization in the face of an increasingly mechanized world (mechanized, in this sense, meaning both with technology and with human attitudes towards each other). The opening of track three, “Do Not Speak,” illustrates this with the opening line of “If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face – forever.” To this end, the individual songs are not particularly distinct from each other, and all consist of extremely fast, chaotic, grinding riffs and never-ending blastbeats. The sound of album nicely complements this theme; the sound has been carefully calculated to sound as digitized and inhuman as possible, from the programmed and triggered drums, to the digitized and sterile-sounding guitars, to the warped and distorted mechanical roars of the vocalist, as well as the occasional background screams. While the production is generally quite clear and distinct, the extreme amount of digitization has the unpleasant side-effect of creating an unsettling “hissing” of sorts as part of the album’s overall ambience.
The second theme of the album is one of human resistance to the afore-mentioned mechanization. This manifests itself in various ways; occasionally, the vocalist will sing in a clear, strong, and almost operatic way; the guitars will also occasionally cease their constant destructive riffing to play a nice little tremolo-riffing melodic interlude or solo. The final track on the album, based on the Dylan Thomas poem of the same name, exhorts the listener to “rage against the dying of the light,” and by extension, against the dehumanization of the world.
Ok, now the subjective stuff. How does the album come off to these ears? Truthfully, I found this album to be quite unpleasant, thanks to the over-digitization of the music and the relentlessness of the pummeling blastbeats and the riffs. The album would have been almost wholly worthless to me, except for the way the two themes of the music strain against each other. The melodic interludes save this album - unfortunately, though, the only really interesting points in a sea of indistinct blindingly-fast riffage are simply too few and far between. This, I suspect, was a deliberate creation on the part of the artists; it leaves an image of humanity being consumed by vast, impersonal forces. Even though the last track exhorts us to “rage against” these forces, there does not seem to be much hope for victory in that exhortation.
This leads me to my three main problems with this album. First, there are other albums that express the “dehumanization” theme more clearly. Second, there are other albums that express the “rage" theme more clearly as well. Here, the hopefulness of the “rage” theme is drowned by the overall destructiveness of the “dehumanization” theme, leaving one with a very negative feeling after hearing this album. Third, and finally, the music itself is just simply too grating to be listened to enjoyably. If you count yourself among the enjoyers of constant blastbeats and relentlessly grinding riffs, then you will be pleased by this; however, I am not a fan of this.
Therefore, I cannot recommend this album. Occasionally interesting, but mostly annoying, and therefore easily forgotten, Domine Non Es Dignus is not particularly worthy of being added to your black metal collection. If you wish to find a less sonically annoying black metal album that expresses the “dehumanization” theme more clearly, I recommend Axis Of Advance – Obey. The reason for the 65% rating, by the way, is that the album does indeed come together remarkably well for what it is; however, it just does not do it well enough, and the general incoherence and annoyance factors are too high to warrant giving it anything higher.
Wow, this album hit me harder than running into a brick wall at full speed as hard posssible. Seriously, Domine Non Es Dignus will give you a concussion by the time it's finished dealing with your pitiful soul. And who could pass on an album that begins with a track called "I Wish I Could Vomit Blood On You... ...People." With titles like that, it's obvious that you're in for quite the black metal offering.
Although the album is not rawly produced, it still manages to create an atmosphere of pure and utter chaos enough to make somebody go insane and start a killing spree. The sound is perfect, allowing every instrument to leave its blackened mark on this recording. Anaal Nathrakh play their signature fast-as-hell breed of evil black metal while throwing in some of the most crushing riffs and purely possessed screams that are not the typical black metal style. The vocals sound like a cross between a black metal scream and normal pissed off or painful yelling. Along with those come the new clean vocals that the band has adopted which seem completely inspired by Ihsahn's occassional clean singing for Emperor. The drums blast their way through your newly possessed body with the abilities of the likes of Trym and Frost. It's amazing how two people can create such a powerful masterpiece of insanity.
After ten tracks of complete domination, it is impossible to pick highlights of the album since the whole thing works like a hammer smashing through a stomach. If you take pleasure in being completely controlled by insane music and/or are familiar with and enjoy bands like Frost (which share the same members of Anaal Nathrakh) and 1349, Anaal Nathrakh's Dominus Non Es Dignus belongs in your psychotic music collection. A top contender for one of the greatest albums in 2004.
Domine Non Es Dignus is the typical Anaal Nathrakh album: harsh, uncompromising mechanic black metal. Unfortunately, the band has stagnated after their stellar demos and EP. Though i guess one can't expect much from this band, except for the continuance of evil-as-fuck music.
The main changes here are found in the guitarwork, which rings true with any riff-oriented band. The standout alteration here comes in the form of clean vocals (reminiscent of early Garm-era Borknagar) amidst Vitriol's typical effect-laden screeches. This does change it up a bit, and gives it more emotion (which may be going against the usual cold, mechanic feel of the music). The drumming is still as fast as usual, though some slower sections help keep the music from getting stale. A couple good samples are used (one from 1984, one from Hellraiser, etc.), but they could have been put to better use, instead of placing them right at the beginning of the songs.
If you're looking for something more new and innovative, i recommend looking elsewhere. Anaal Nathrakh once stood out from the mass of crappy modern black metal bands, but they have been doing the same thing for so long, that it's getting kind of old. If you want fast, brutal, evil music, then this is a good album to check out.