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I have to say with a name like "Anaal Nathrakh" you must expect something quite odd, especially for Black Metal. It sounds like more a Grindcore name to me, but this band is classified as Black Metal/Grindcore, so you know what the hell, I guess this name does them right. I picked this CD up just today, and well, I can't really say it's anything special, but it is quite good. Worth picking up if you just want some straight-up Black Metal.
Finally a band that doesn't look retarded. These guys don't wear Corpsepaint, well because they are ummm... English. I don't understand why all other BM bands have to look like fucking clowns, they look just stupid. They don't even look that evil or satanist. They just look like they don't belong in our time and they should be in the Dark Ages, off fighting each other like barbarians, but that's not the point. On with the review.
The guitars are what you would normally expect from a Black Metal band. The good old necro, tremolo picking etc. ... Nothing very complicated or mindblowing. However, I was surprised with solos. This Black Metal band actually takes the time to add solos to their music, something which is very very very rare in BM. The drums are what you would normally find (again!) in this kind of music. Mick Kenney can blast pretty fast and his feet just keep rolling over and over and again and again on this record. He's just a machine. The vocals can get somewhat annoying because they tend to be monotonous and go "AAARRRGGGHHH!!!" all the time. But you know, it's BM, a lot of BM hasn't evolved since Emperor (in my opinion). It basically stopped there and nothing new ever broke through the surface.
I must say though, even though these guys aren't Norwegian, they sure blast their way through and are part of the Black Metal elite. I'd say give it a listen if you want to hear something to refresh your Black Metal-ness.
When a band releases a phenomenal debut album and then decides to follow it up with an official release of their early demo material, it reeks of a meaningless cash-in from the outset. And when that band is the UK’s answer to the future of Black Metal, Anaal Nathrakh, one wonders why they feel the need to delve back into their past. After all, what would be the point of raking through the band’s most likely mediocre collection of demo recordings in the idle hope of finding anything to compare with the extraordinary aural extremities of “The Codex Necro”? However, just one listen to the originally titled “Total Fucking Necro” completely disproves such sceptical thinking, as it surprisingly packs almost as much punch as their aforementioned debut.
Essentially a compilation of the band’s two pre-studio demos, “Anaal Nathrakh” and the identically-titled “Total Fucking Necro”, and containing a previously unreleased bonus track, the ten songs on offer sound understandably rough in comparison to the band’s studio material despite being remastered for this release. Only two of the tracks, “The Supreme Necrotic Audnance” and “The Technogoat”, eventually ended up on the band’s debut album, so there are plenty of unheard tracks for fans to dig their teeth into, even if you’ll more than likely hear the odd recognisable riff which was re-used later on. Opener “Anaal Nathrakh” sets the pace for the rest of this collection: extreme speed with a heavily distorted, yet strangely audible production sound. The earlier use of the drum machine within the music certainly doesn’t fit as seamlessly into the mix as it would later, but this takes nothing away from the intensity or the overall feeling of the music, especially with V.I.T.R.I.O.L.’s almost inhuman rasp constantly assaulting the listener’s senses.
Something which becomes apparent through the aforementioned opening track along with cuts such as “L.E.T.H.A.L. : Diabolic” and the outstanding “Satanarchrist” is the more obvious yet effective utilisation of melody within the band’s earlier work. Although explored to some degree on their studio material, the melodies tend to be far more hidden under a massive wall of distortion and ferocity, whereas on “Total Fucking Necro”, many of the songs actually have a far more accessible edge to them, even with such a high level of aggression. The bass guitar line that almost leads the main riff of “Satanarchrist” is somehow packed full of vehement and quite melancholic emotion. It’s a shame that it was not included on any studio album, as it is debatably one of the strongest tracks Anaal Nathrakh have recorded.
Forgetting the rather muddy sound quality and the minor imperfections in the music, “Total Fucking Necro” is still an absolute gem for fans of this revolutionary British duo and Black Metal overall. However, its strange production values may put off first time listeners, who would be better advised to pick up “The Codex Necro” initially, and then venture into the band’s back catalogue when your head is ready for a perhaps even more rewarding bashing.
Originally written for http://www.blastwave.co.uk
This release includes all of Anaal Nathrach's early demo output. It was recorded at 'Necrodeath Studio's'; the 2 man band's name for their 8 track home recording device. Because of this it is pretty raw and on one song the recording is partially damaged. However, as any good Black Metal fan knows this is not necessarily a disadvantage.
The music on this album is, well, abrasive. It is shockingly harsh on first listen: the vocals are skull rending, the drum machine pounds relentlessly and the guitars are jagged and violent. However, when you get into the album you realise that beneath the veneer of primal agression there is a good level of musicality in this album that is infact somewhat reminiscent of early Immortal. Sweeping romantic harmonies characterise large parts of this album and there is some complex and subtle use of dynamics and rythm. Still, the violence of the music remains its chief feature and its highest common donominater.
It is hard to point out stand out tracks on an album like this but the two Mayhem covers -Carnage and De Mysteriis...- are worth mentioning not only because they are excellently rendered and given a new character and feel, but because they betray the major influence on Mick 'Irruminator' Kenny mastermind of this band and also of Frost. Although this album is rawer, faster and more 'necro' than De Myteriis... or even Deathcrush, it does have a similar melancollic, epic feel that is hidden behind sheets of pure agression.