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Not their best, but still a superb AN release - 84%

Lustmord56, July 21st, 2009

Review originally published at by Erik Thomas

As England’s most extreme export since Napalm Death have made their transition from apocalyptic black metal to grindcore, they have managed to retain some of intensity and ferocity of The Codex Necro, though far less caustic, and have been able to introduce some love ‘em or hate ‘em clean croons amid the mechanical, robotic blasting and cleaner tones. However the fact is, the only real black metal element left is the frenzied shrieks of V.I.T.R.I.O.L. (Dave Hunt). So those looking for a return to The Codex Necro had better continue to look elsewhere.

Basically, if you enjoyed Eschaton or Hell Is Empty, And All the Devils Are Here, you will enjoy In the Constellation of the Black Widow as it essentially follows the same template with the ferocity you’d expect, but like Hell Is Empty, And All the Devils Are Here is quite as commanding and memorable as Eschaton.

After a slow start, the opening title track treads identical territory as “Between Shit and Piss We Are Born” or “When the Lion Devours Both Dragon and Child” from Eschaton or “Virus Bomb”, “The Final Absolution” and “Shatter the Empyrean” from Hell Is Empty, And All the Devils Are Here; vicious, churning blast beats and feral scream that break into a unexpected clean chorus. However, “I Am the Wrath of Gods and the Desolation of the Earth” delivers an unexpected, 2 minute blunt force trauma showing the ‘Thrakh can rip your face off as and when they choose.

And thus is the formula for the rest of the album as the album alternate between fierce chorus filled tracks like “More of Fire Than Blood” and “The Lucifer Effect” and lumbering tracks like “The Unbearable Filth of the Soul” and “Oil Upon the Sores of Lepers”- which could have come from any of the last three Napalm Death albums. In truth, it actually sounds a bit formulaic and overly familiar, especially some of the choruses. Though no less enjoyable, and some subtle melody hidden in the likes of “So Be It”, “Satanarchrist” and closer “Blood Eagles Carved on the Backs of Innocents” keep things a bit interesting.

Production wise, things sound a bit fuller and richer even than Hell Is Empty and the clean tones will be sure to off put already peeved black metal purists. The end result is what you expect at this point in Anaal Nathrakh’s career, but In the Constellation of the Black Widow does come across as a bit redundant and rehashed from the last three albums, despite its intensity and vicious hooks. I’d like to see the band start to morph again and see what they can deliver next time around.