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Accessible Madness - 81%

Gloon, April 5th, 2011

Extreme, violent, relentless, unsettling these are all words that are used to promote the tripe that usually gets peddled these days. Whether it be Grind, Death or Black how many bands that come your way, hailing the apocalypse, actually deliver anything but a whimper of the promised brutality and insanity? Not many I bet.

Enter Anaal Nathrakh!!!!!

The British duo have been around since the late 90s, bursting onto the scene with an ugly little gem entitled ‘The Codex Necro’ which made no small amount of noise among the hordes at the time. They were lugged into the Black Metal scene, yet displayed a far more ferocious and grinding approach than anything else that was worshiping goats or Odin at the time.

Since then its been a bit of a hit and miss affair, while being consistently intense and true to their approach they failed to truly carry the flag of their own making into the millennium and cement their place in the halls of Hades. Clean vocals surfaced and a metamorphous began, but still there seemed to be something missing……until now.

In the Constellation of the Black Widow is their latest sick offering and could best be described as accessible madness. All the aspects which make the band so unique and destructive are still in play, just better utilized and controlled. Some past works were a bit jumbled or disjointed but Widow is a much more focused and dangerous beast.

The intensity and aggression of the vocals have always been a driving force of the band: anguished screams, distorted crazy Patton yells and guttural growls are again all leading the charge, but it’s the better use of the clean vocals (utilized for a few albums now) that help offset the crazy and amplify the chaos. This is seen none better than in the opening title track where you are bombarded with the fast, the slow, the groove and the blasting throughout, only to confront the crisp clean ICS Vortex-esque bridge into the spoken word-static screamed chorus, what a ride!!!!!!!!

Trying to genre define their style is also a wasted exercise as elements of black, grind, death and even some melodic death blend together in a maelstrom of chaotic bliss with neither taking enough of a front seat to demand recognition over another. One thing I can say though is it is Extreme, but not in a fucked up Portal type of way. This is extreme, this is wrong, but this is also engaging. If Dimmu Borgir, Napalm Death and Ministry ever spawned a child then maybe this is what they’d sound like.

Followers of the band might not be totally blown away by ITCOTBW and it is in some respects a more refined and more creepily crafted progression from 2007s Hell Is Empty and All the Devils Are Here, but new listeners will be quite unpleasantly surprised and should instantly convert to temple of the Nathrakh