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A Twisted, Atrocious Masterwork - 92%

Malacoda, June 13th, 2010

Until recently, Anaal Nathrakh was a band I had only heard of but which I had never listened to. I finally decided to check out their most recent release, "In the Constellation of the Black Widow" and was completely blown away. I am now regretting not checking out Anaal Nathrakh sooner. I was most surprised by the track "More of Fire Than Blood" when I first heard it and instantly fell in love with it. "More of Fire Than Blood" seemed to me to be a standout track on ITCOTBW because of its combined brutality, use of melodic styling, and raw blackened feel.

The last thing I was expecting while listening to this song was the clean vocal break during the chorus. Before the chorus, the song was mostly comprised of straight blackened/death blast beat passages and V.I.T.R.I.O.L.'s almost entirely incomprehensible vocals. I was impressed, but not utterly so - it was inventive yet unspectacular black metal with a few twists. That's when the chorus came in. Operatic vocals burst into life in a way that completely nonplussed me, especially seeing as the other instruments continued blasting away in a gruesome melange of warp-speed blast beats and tremolo picking fury (keep in mind I had never heard Anaal Nathrakh before and thus was not expecting any cleans, even though they were implemented on the previous release "Hell Is Empty and All the Devils Are Here"). V.I.T.R.I.O.L. can sing. He can fucking sing. Even though the rest of the vocals in the song are a mixture of standard black/death metal shrieks and static howls, he can sing. Wow.

Maybe I'm giving too much credit to the vocalist when deciding the merit of this song. However, the rest of the band (well, one other guy - Mick) completely matches the talent of V.I.T.R.I.O.L.. Surprisingly, the drums and the guitar work are of expert skill. Usually drummer-guitarists excel at one and not the other, but Mick can do both. He even tosses in a shred solo, rare in all black metal and, again, completely unexpected in this context.

The main two reasons for my appreciation of this song are its mixture of various styles that would seem to clash but which ultimately work freakishly well together and its unexpected yet experful instrumentation. That's rare enough in both black metal and grindcore (which AN are classified as) but to find it here.... well, I was just blown away. Great work, Anaal Nathrakh.