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A.N. - In the Constellation of the Black Widow - 73%

Avestriel, July 3rd, 2009

Yes! They're back. Kinda.

A strange intro filled with noises, laughs, and pure madness turned into soundwaves drives the listener to the entrance of the Black Widow. Inside awaits a monster, which is the latest effort by british musicians V.I.T.R.I.O.L. and Irrumator. And this monster is angry. Angry and hungry.

Welcome to the Constellation of the Black Widow, a place with no peace.

Let's put it this way, Anaal Nathrakh has taken a step away from their death-metal-influenced previous effort, and is going back to their more extreme roots. The first song stars with doom-death-ish riff, which made me believe the album would be even more slow and experimental than Hell Is Empty[...], but soon the band slaps me in the face and I am surprised as the music turns into a storm of blastbeats and tremolos. The sound (or tone, rather) of the guitars reminds me strongly of Eschaton, which, in my eyes (or ears, rather) is a really, really good thing. The riffs are typical but never boring or innovative Anaal Nathrakh riffs, sliding tremolos creating musical soundscapes, running up and down the strings and letting in a seemingly random and incredibly insane solo and some powerchords now and then for good measure. The velocity and dexterity demonstrated in this album is incredibly extreme, only interrupted by brief moments in which some of the experimental death metal-like sounds of the previous album can be heard at some parts of certain songs, more prominently and for example, at the beginning of track 4 and track 8.

Riffing gets from plain aggressive, to apocalyptically romantic, to dark, to doomy, without much effort from the performer, much to the pleasure of the listener. Thick bass lines back the guitar lines most of the time, giving the whole thing a really heavy feeling despite the speed of the songs. Drums are just fucking fast, but really this is nothing new to this band or most black metal bands. One could admire the programming ability of the band but otherwise the drums are pretty unremarkable.

V.I.T.R.I.O.L. hasn't been this extreme since The Codex Necro (he might be even more extreme now), and yet his vocals are more diverse than ever, low, harsh whispers coming from the sides of one's ears as if some kind of devil is growling at one's back, the most terrorized shrieks I've ever listened to in my life, as if coming out of a tortured soul's mouth, straight from hell, melodic chants filled with messages of the End, choking sound, cries for help, weird demoniac, almost animalistic noises, all of them blend into a choir of destruction and death.

Anaal Nathrakh's aggressivity is at it's all time high, they're just fucking ANGRY! The band's mood is just getting more and more negative and destructive with time, as can be seen reflected in the title songs and lyrics, not only in the music itself. These are obscure of armageddon, devils and fire, with accompanying and fitting music. This reveals how much these guys are going back to their extreme roots and beyond, leaving the experimental quasi-death sounds of their previous album in favour of an ever increasingly extreme sound, almost bordering grindcore.

All in all this is a fast, short, angry black album by great musicians, filled with eccentric and organic riffing, amazing and ever-changing vocals, which marks both a return to the roots of the band and a step forward, towards evolution. This band, as I ever so subtly implied at the end of the previous paragraph, is now closer to brutal death metal and grindcore than it is to black metal, but the core melodies and vocals still tie them somehow to a black metal profile, not to mention their past musical efforts. To close a review of such a particular effort by such a particular band, I could say that this album's sound is probably what it would sound like to mix such an elegant and well-thought album like Eschaton and mixing it with the bold rawness and aggressivity of Codex Necro.

Originally written for the paper version of the Terror Cult Zine